Accelerating Sustainability through Environment, Health & Safety Management: ISC Receives Grant from Disney to Launch EHS+Center in India
Montpelier, VT – January 6, 2014 – Four years ago, the Institute for Sustainable Communities launched its Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) training program in China to improve conditions and protect workers. After training over 10,000 managers in its two EHS+ Centers in China, and launching a new Center in Bangladesh (to open next month), ISC has received funding from The Walt Disney Company to launch an EHS+ Center in India.
ISC’s innovative EHS programs began in the heavily industrialized region of Guangdong, China, in 2009; a second Center opened in Jiangsu in 2011. Each EHS+ Center, a public-private partnership that pairs international nonprofit ISC with a local host organization, provides technical training in essential skills for EHS management and sustainability leadership. After completing the training, factory managers work to improve health and safety on the job and drive improvements in environmental health, energy efficiency, and greenhouse gas management. Hundreds of global brands have sent their local EHS managers and suppliers to the EHS+ Centers, and consider the program an integral part of achieving their global sustainability goals.
ISC President George Hamilton notes, “India is the world’s third largest – and fastest growing – emitter of GHG. They have a shortage of high-quality industrial training, and they need holistic training in energy, health, and safety. Through our grant from The Walt Disney Company, we can train 2,000 Indian factory managers annually in the skills they need to drive factories toward better safety and sustainability. It’s good for them, it’s good for their communities, and it’s good for the world.”
The Walt Disney Company has awarded a $625,000 grant to initiate the development of an EHS+ Center in India; ISC expects to announce a local partner later this year, and will launch the EHS+ Center late in 2014. “ISC has demonstrated leadership in its EHS+ Centers in China and Disney is proud to support the establishment of a Center in India,” said Michael Widman, Disney’s Vice President, International Labor Standards. “We believe that this work will provide long-term benefits to factories and workers by helping to create safer workplaces.”
ISC’s rationale for the program is simple: the need is urgent, and the potential impact on the lives of workers is exponential. The extensive growth in manufacturing in developing countries has also accelerated growth in pollution and accidents, underscoring the need for better practices around worker health and safety, while the growth of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reinforces the need for action to improve the economic and environmental sustainability of manufacturing in developing countries. ISC’s approach focuses on the systemic change needed to achieve long-term impacts.
To date, more than 200 companies have sent their managers or suppliers to be trained at ISC’s EHS+ Centers in China. Partnerships with global companies are especially important to the success of ISC’s EHS+ Network, since they provide valuable curriculum input as well as the motivation for supplier factories to participate. In supporting ISC’s EHS+ Network, Disney joins a robust group of supporting organizations, including the GE Foundation, Walmart, Alcoa Foundation, Adidas, Pfizer and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
About the Institute for Sustainable Communities
An international nonprofit organization, the Institute for Sustainable Communities (ISC) has 23 years of practical experience working with local leaders to accelerate climate change and sustainability solutions. ISC’s programs are designed to facilitate peer learning and engagement among community leaders charged with the work of making their communities more sustainable. ISC has led 94 projects in 27 countries, and currently works in China, India, Bangladesh, Serbia and the United States.