ICT for reducing pollution: Pressure from garbage

12 Apr 2019 09:00h - 10:45h

Event report


The session was moderated by Mr T I M Nurul Kabir (Policy and Socio-Economic Analyst and C-Level Consultant, Telecommunications and Digital Technology in Bangladesh) and featured discussions on the current barriers to solving the problem of plastic wastes, current ICT programs that recycle and make the best of plastic wastes, and visions toward the future.

At the beginning of her participation, Ms Francesca Miazzo (Managing Director, Cities Foundation) stated that Cities Foundation has been addressing global urban development issues since 2008. One of the main development projects has to do with plastic recycling, known as the Wasted Project. According to her, all projects follow a similar method to address a global issue, and this issue is discussed with people at the local level. After a look together at the current system, they develop collective intelligence to change it. Miazzo believes that it is more important to have something real at a local level than to devise a theoretical solution for the whole world, because innovative solutions can be replicated in other places if you have good examples to show. She explained the Wasted Project. In the Noord district of Amsterdam, households get green bags to fill with unwanted plastic; when they hand them in for recycling they receive green plastic coins in return. These coins can be used to get free goods or discounts from local businesses. According to her, there are thirty businesses and seven hundred local households involved in the scheme, and presently they are trying to scale up the model through the use of digital coins and QR codes. Miazzo talked about the importance of the partnership with PriceWaterHouseCoopers, because it brings a complementary vision, providing knowledge that the NGO doesn’t have. In her evaluation, the Wasted Project is already changing behaviour because they did a survey in which a quarter of people in the scheme said they are using less plastic, and half had improved their recycling habits. Finally, she talked about some challenges, such as the importance of creating awareness in children and the difficulty of staying in touch with government and legislators.

Mr Stephen Bochanski (Director, PriceWaterHouseCoopers) started by saying that the need for alignment of economic growth, social progress, and environmental sustainability is the biggest challenge of our time and the business sector needs to adopt new measures of prosperity provided by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to him, the purpose of PriceWaterHouseCoopers (PWC) is to build trust in society and solve important problems. Bochanski explained that PWC supports the Wasted Project on a pro bono basis to help define its strategic objectives, to develop a business plan, and to provide financial modelling and risk analysis. He believes that one of the greatest things of this project is the possibility of combining resources with diverse backgrounds to create innovative solutions. Bochanski stated that PWC has a broad scope of impact for the Wasted Project because it has provided business strategy expertise and program management experience on large-scale implementations to which otherwise the project would not have access. Additionally, he said that the social entrepreneur has to be passionate about the mission of his or her project and she or he can use expertise from the business sector to improve the social outcomes.


By Nathalia Sautchuk Patrício