The FINANCIAL -- By running an environmentally friendly business Georgian companies are trying to reduce the impact they have on the environment and preserve its natural resources. The number of businesses involved in eco-friendly activities is growing on an annual basis. Planting trees and replacing plastic bags with biodegradable bags have been the main eco-friendly activities of Georgian businesses.
Traditional grocery bags are very durable. Their disintegration under natural conditions takes many years. It is a serious environmental problem in terms of both pollution and waste management. In accordance, SPAR Georgia, one of the leading supermarket chains operating in the country, has launched 100% biodegradable plastic bags consumption/distribution in the market.
The bags can be used for 12 to 24 months, for primary and secondary (Bin-Patch) purposes. And then the material degrades in the environment under oxygen, heat, ultraviolet rays or mechanical pressure.
Like SPAR Georgia, the leading pharmaceutical chain, PSP, only uses biodegradable bags. The company rapidly responded to the initiative of the Ministry of Environment of Georgia about biodegradable plastic bags. PSP removed the consumption of plastic bags from its network and replaced them with biodegradable bags. PSP pharmacy with its 200 drugstores serves 2 million customers every month with only biodegradable bags.
Plastic bags damage the environment and their decomposition takes over a hundred years. This activity allows PSP to contribute to environment protection. Besides this activity PSP is actively involved in a greening campaign and annually plants trees in various areas of Georgia.
In 2015, it was the first time that the team of Progress Bank got involved in the campaign of greening Tbilisi. In this regard the Bank’s team planted over 500 cypress trees on the territory of Dendrite Park in Tbilisi.
Caucasus University (CU) is constantly trying to engage in various types of activities aimed at environment protection. The University has a very great potential and resource - its students. So, the management considers that it would be improper not to use the opportunity to communicate directly with the students and contribute to their civic engagement.
CU is constantly arranging greening and cleaning activities. The administration and students clean up the environment from waste and garbage during each excursion.
Why save energy? The noblest reason could be to save the environment around us. The reasoning is easy - when it is aimed at contributing to national energy security, fostering knowledge-sharing in Georgian communities, and a reduction of emissions. BP has been implementing a renewable energy and energy efficiency project for the last 7 years in Georgia.
BP in Georgia decided to pioneer the energy efficiency topic and developed a “Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Program”, within its Sustainable Development Initiative framework, launched back in 2008 through a comprehensive tender selecting local implementing partner - the Energy Efficiency Center of Georgia.
Initially, the programme started with the awareness campaign called “Energy Bus”. This huge, specially-designed truck became a mobile exhibition, containing models of various renewable energy & energy efficient devices, travelling throughout Georgia twice within the 3-year period. Energy Bus became an extremely popular host for 65,000 people from local communities, who visited it from 2009 to 2012, learned a lot about modern technologies, and saw micro hydro power plants, compact fluorescent lights and LED lights, solar panels, a wind turbine, and various insulation materials in action.
Stage 2 of the programme, or 23 small-scale demo projects implemented across the country, brought tangible benefits to the local communities. 3 relatively big and 20 smaller-scale projects were implemented in the selected community buildings - schools, kindergartens, hospitals and other public buildings - in Tbilisi and across the whole of Georgia.
Upon completion of the 2nd stage, the EU Initiative called “the Covenant of Mayors” has been introduced, and many cities across the EU, as well as 8 cities of Georgia, have become signatories to this initiative. The “Covenant of Mayors” signatory cities have undertaken ambitious energy and environmental plans to reduce their respective energy consumption, as well as CO2 emissions, by 20% by 2020.
BP responded to this challenge with the 3rd stage of our Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Program, which envisages support of the implementation of the “Covenant of Mayors”, and aims at implementation of 1-2 large-scale demo projects in each city that would support the aim of reducing CO2 emissions, and also serve as practical examples for other projects. As of today, 5 projects in 4 municipalities - Gori, Telavi, Batumi and Rustavi - have been completed. The works are underway to select and implement the remaining projects in other cities.
Having been at the forefront of the energy efficiency theme in Georgia for the past 7 years, the BP team says that they have achieved outstanding results. The “Energy Bus” Project received the National Energy Globe Award in Wels, Austria, in November 2011, for the best energy project from Georgia. This is a prestigious international award in the energy sphere, often referred to as the ‘energy Oscars’.
BP still continues to monitor the results of their interventions in the 2nd stage of the Program - 23 projects that were implemented across Georgia - and the results of the savings from 2013 until the end of the 1st Quarter of 2015 include: electricity saved - 357,940 kW/h; natural gas saved - 112,290 m3; water saved - 26,400 m3; firewood saved - 173 m3; diesel saved - 4,075 litres; energy bill savings for the period - GEL 268,640; CO2 emissions reduction - 443,835 kg CO2 equivalent; total number of direct beneficiaries - almost 2,400. Success breeds success, and BP expects more to come from the 3rd stage of the Program.