EFFECTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MSME TANNING COMPANIES IN THE KOLKATA LEATHER CLUSTER
The project “Effective waste management and sustainable development of the MSME tanning companies in the Kolkata Leather Cluster” is a 42-month initiative funded by the European Union under its SWITCH-Asia Programme, which supports efforts for sustainable consumption and production across the Asia-Pacific region. This effort brings together partners across the sector including: Il Politecnico Internazionale per lo Sviluppo Industriale ed Economico (PISIE), the Calcutta Leather Complex Tanners Association (CLCTA), Stahl, Dugros and the European Union (EU).
Improved waste management in the Kolkata tanning sector requires a two-pronged approach: (a) reduction of the effluent and solid waste levels to reduce the environmental burden, waste management menace and improve workers’ conditions and (b) recycling or re-use of waste into useful by-products to generate additional livelihood opportunities. This implies the adoption by tanneries of new green technologies and tanning processes and improved waste management practices.
The project will adopt four key approaches:
- Solidaridad will work with its partners and technical experts to demonstrate national and global eco-friendly and commercially viable practices and technologies with the objectives of promoting green tanning and waste management in the tanneries.
- The tannery workforce will be capacitated on better tanning practices, solid waste management and occupational health and safety through training-of-trainers programme.
- A public-private partnership platform will be established that represents the interests of the key stakeholders to collaboratively plan the roadmap for the improvement of the Bantala leather complex.
- The tanneries will be enabled to adopt green practices and technologies, thus, driving sustainable development of the cluster.
The project will enable the tanneries to meet the increasingly high international quality and environmental standards and thus enhance the Indian leather industry’s competitiveness as well as improving working conditions and health of surrounding communities. More specifically it will:
- Introduce and promote sustainable production practices in the highly polluting tanning sector through technology transfer, provide capacity building of the tannery management and workers on better tanning practices and facilitating access to technical and financial services;
- Create an enabling environment for efficient and effective public-private collaboration by establishing a round table / platform comprising representatives from the West Bengal Department of Micro & Small Scale Enterprises, Calcutta Leather Cluster Tanneries Association, financial institutions, Leather Manufacturing Organisations, among others;
- The practices established are promoted to become more accessible for SMEs also in other major Indian leather clusters in Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.
- More sustainable production practices, improved technical capacities and access to finance;
- Enhanced competitiveness through compliance with international market standards and reduction of production costs.
- Better effluent and solid waste management leading to opportunities for further growth.
- For employees: Reduced health and safety hazards
- Reduced public health risks and environmental hazards