Speakers emphasize on compliance of environmental laws for sustainable economic growth

Posted on June, 27 2024

Karachi, 27 June 2024: “Textile and leather sectors being the biggest contributors to Pakistan’s economy are striving to comply with international environmental standards to remain competitive in the international market.” This was shared by the speakers during the media briefing session organized by WWF-Pakistan under its International Labour and Environmental Standards Application in Pakistan’s SMEs (ILES) project at a local hotel in Karachi on Thursday. This 8-year project (2017-2024) supported by European Union (EU) is implemented at Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Hub and industrial areas in KPK. This project aims to support the enforcement, implementation and compliance with the international labour and environmental standards by public and private sectors in Pakistan. 
Briefing the media, Mehak Sikander, Coordinator Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan said that Pakistan’s textile and leather sectors are the largest export earning sectors in Pakistan. However, these sectors face serious business challenges due to compliance issues, raw material availability and international market competition. She informed that through this project, the capacity of relevant departments was developed to effectively enforce the environmental laws and standards in Pakistan. The project also aimed to promote resource efficient and cleaner production practices in the textile and leather sectors. Sikander shared that the ILES project supported more that 50 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to adopt smart environmental management practices which helped to annually conserve 1.54 million cubic meters of water and 130 million kilo watt hours of energy, save 37,462 tons of chemicals and eliminate 37,483 tons of carbon emissions. These initiatives resulted in saving around 530 million rupees annually. 
To train and build the capacities of public sector institutes and enterprises, project conducted over 62 workshops in different cities across Pakistan. These workshops aimed at improving reporting mechanisms for multilateral environmental agreements, sustainable development goals and international environmental laws and standards. Moreover, the project also developed six documentaries on resource conservation in textile and leather sectors. The project also supported in drafting cleaner production policy for Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) 
Speaking on the occasion, Imran Sabir, Director, SEPA, said that the agency is conducting monitoring of environmental compliance in the textile and leather industries of Sindh. With the support of WWF-Pakistan, the agency plans to introduce the online portal to digitalize environmental monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the province. He said that this was for the first time that the initiative was taken to digitalize the environmental monitoring data. Moreover, he said that environmental degradation should be addressed as it leads to climate change and environmental challenges to the country. “We are committed to support initiatives which are environment friendly and promote sustainable development in Pakistan”, he added. 
Irfan Ansari, General Manager Sustainability and Utilities, Al-Rahim Textile Industries, shared that it is essential to conserve water, reduce carbon 6 ensure wastewater treatment for sustainable growth of the industries in Pakistan. He said that the textile industries should promote sustainable production and ensure responsible management and use of the natural resources. He further said that their textile brand has reduced the water consumption by 40 per cent and increased the water recovery by 50 per cent through efficient wastewater recycling. He emphasized the need for taking initiatives that help contribute to the protection of natural resources and promotion of sustainable production.
Mehak Sikander, Coordinator Freshwater Programme, WWF-Pakistan speaking during the event.
© WWF-Pakistan