COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented health and economic crisis, deepening the existing poverty and climate crises. As Sri Lanka works to build ‘forward’ better coming out of the pandemic, driving change in the people-environment nexus to protect the health of people and natural resources is key to a future that does not repeat the crisis we are in today. In this context, clean sustainable energy can provide affordable solutions that are in line with climate targets and can help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
Against this backdrop, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with Brandix Apparel Limited to promote renewable energy in Sri Lanka through the facilitation of Model Fuelwood plantations for a Sustainable Energy Supply in Sri Lanka.
Speaking about this partnership, the Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP in Sri Lanka, Faiza Effendi stated, “As nations prepare for the COVID-19 aftermath, there is a tremendous opportunity for a reset. Ambitious green recovery plans will help countries restore their economies while deepening their energy transition. Now is a good time for Sri Lanka to accelerate a transition to clean energy to sustain a recovery that’s better for all.”
As a clean energy source, sustainable biomass energy has the potential to boost local economies. UNDP’s partnership with Brandix, a leader in apparel manufacturing in Sri Lanka at the forefront of efforts towards Sustainability, and a conscientious user of energy, will ensure that Sri Lanka has a low carbon growth whilst enhancing the company’s initiatives towards promoting the use of sustainable biomass energy. Some of the major initiatives entail assisting suppliers of biomass energy to adopt SLS 1551, a standard for sustainable biomass energy, as well as establishing sustainable fuel wood plantations.
Commenting on the partnership, Brandix Group Head of Engineering , Ilthimas Ahamed stated, “In line with Brandix’s journey towards achieving Net Zero Carbon status by 2023 across all our manufacturing locations in Sri Lanka, we have converted all our furnace oil fired boilers to biomass boilers with the expectation of making available sustainably sourced biomass for our renewable energy demand. This MoU also reaffirms Brandix as the first corporate entity to step forward in our efforts to ensure that the biomass used by Brandix is responsibly sourced from certified suppliers under SLS 1551. Further, as an extension, we will continue to engage our Associates to take part in the UNDP energy plantation programme across the country via a home garden concept, thus paving way for them to enhance their livelihoods while being active participants in our Sustainability agenda.”
Sustainable energy is readily available, affordable, and reliable. However, in many developing economies, the potential for large scale renewable energy remains largely untapped. Investments in this area can help Sri Lanka and other countries reap the full development and climate benefits of clean energy ahead of the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda.