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14 Dec, 2009 06:38

IFC chips in to green Russia

The investment branch of the World Bank group, IFC, is doing benchmarking for Russia’s iron casting industry to help it shift to a more environmentally sustainable basis.

Sixty percent of all air pollution in Russia is caused by inefficient functioning of industrial enterprises. It is cheaper for companies to pay low fines than invest in energy efficient production.

As talks in Copenhagen on climate change continue, IFC has stepped forward to teach local producers how to reduce pollution and save energy and at the same time boost competitiveness of their output.

Kristina Turilova, Deputy Manager of cleaner production program at IFC, says that businesses simply do not trust the new and unknown.

“Bankers are generally afraid of energy efficiency – it's like an unknown animal. Why should I lend to some core generation equipment. I don’t know what the risks are. So we provided financial institutions with credit lines and also with advice.”

In some energy consuming industries like iron casting, energy costs may reach up to 40 percent of the product price and that's where privately owned foundries are carefully looking into.

Guizeppe Mazzarelli, a member of the board of directors for Metallitmash, believes that not only equipment must be changed, but those that operate the equipment must be properly trained.

“From the technical point of view you could have incredibly efficient equipment but if your technicians are not up to the task of ensuring that you produce a good rate of perfect product, then you produce a whole bunch of discards and you lose energy efficiency that way. So energy efficiency is kilowatts per ton of delivered product to the customer without reclamations.”

At a time of the credit crunch cutting down operational expenses, it is key to ensure survival of the business – and with the financial stimulus in place going green seems to be an option to consider.