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Voluntary Initiatives by the Industry to Mitigate Climate Change.

This write up is only an introduction to VOLINT. It has not been implemented nor has been taken up for consideration. Comments may be sent to Hari Srinivas -
The "VOLINT" Concept is introduced here as an initiative where voluntary actions can be taken by industrial entities in order to mitigate negative effects of climate change. The basic aim of VOLINT is to provide a forum where industries and firms can obtain more information and also communicate on topics such as climate change and other issues, and use it to modify their manufacturing and related activities.

Without being judgemental of the Climate Change Convention (COP3) held in Kyoto in December 1997, one of the main outcomes of the conference was that it put climate change on the priority lists of environmental action and mitigation for a number of organizations and networks.

The direct and indirect responsibility towards climate change rests with a number of stakeholders. This is particularly true in the case of industry which has initiated a broad range of technologies, processes and products towards mitigation and reduction of negative effects on the environment. But these actions have been few and far in between. It is clear that a more holistic and integrated approach needs to be taken to bring together these diverse 'islands' of action. Increasing participation of firms and industry in climate action also becomes critical. Individual firms and industrial entities who wish to incorporate components to mitigate climate change into their manufacturing and related activities need a repository of information resources that they can tap into, in order to develop such actions.

VOLINT fills this void, particularly in the absence of concrete, binding legal frameworks for climate change action coming out of COP3. VOLINT functions as a neutral information gateway that enables a particular firm or industry to take steps to integrate its efforts in climate change action.

Objectives of VOLINT:

The objectives of VOLINT include -

  • To participate in implementing the climate change protocol
  • To network in order to find and utilize information and other resources
  • To disseminate lessons learnt and implications of corporate e-planning to a wider audience.

Target groups of VOLINT:

It is necessary to keep the target groups of VOLINT broad so as to ensure wide participation in the initiative and bring in a diverse range of resources. Thus, individuals and groups from academia, the government, UN, and NGO sectors will have to be involved. A clear targeting strategy will have to be developed and put in place for each heirarchical layer in the industrial sector. These layers include individual firms, industry, sector and the nations/regions in which they are positioned.

Advantages of VOLINT for individual firms/industry:

Some of the advantages and benefits of VOLINT include:

  • Involvement in a global movement for climate change
  • Creative cost reductions in manufacturing processes
  • Wider linkages and networks internal and external to the industry.
  • Better public relations and sales strategies
  • Employee/job satisfaction and improved morale

Clear strategies have to be developed and targeted for each layer of the industry. Information resources have to be accordingly packaged.

Features of VOLINT:

VOLINT, which will use the internet extensively for activating the service, will contain the following -features. These are also explained in the charts.

  • VOLINT will be searchable by several keyword formats, including for example, technology type, name of firm/industry, date, region, etc.
  • Links to relevant information will be made in order to make the widest possible range of information available to users.
  • Common formats for initial/front-end profiles of firms and industry will enable better comparability and adaptability.
  • Online forms within VOLINT will enable firms to directly input information on their activities to the VOLINT databases. A system of screening and checking may have to be put in place.

Explanation of VOLINT

Links to similar initiatives:

  • Global Climate Change Voluntary Challenge
    To achieve Canada's committment to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2000, the GCCVC encourages industry, governments and the public sector to undertake, on a voluntary basis, actions that contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Australia: The Green Challenge:
    The Green Challenge is an innovative programme designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Australian industry. Through GC, firms are encouraged to take a voluntary and self-regulatory apporach to emissions reductions. This most commonly involves improvements in energy and process efficiency.
  • The IEA GREENTIE Directory:
    GREENTIE was established in 1993 to improve the awareness of, and facilitate the access to, suppliers and experts of 'clean technologies'. The main technology categories in the Directory include energy supply (fossil fuel technologies, renewables, energy transfer), energy end-use (industrial, buildings and transportation technologies) and agriculture and forestry practices.
    CORDIS, the Community Research and Development Information Service, represents the R&D starting point. As an integral part of the European Commission's INNOVATION Programme, CORDIS provides information on a vast range of research, development and innovation activities undertaken on a European level.

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