LAHORE, Feb 25: Swedish Ambassador Lars-Hjalmar Wide has said his country’s experience and knowledge of implementing green technologies can help Pakistan develop a sustainable civic and industrial infrastructure and realise rapid economic growth.

“There is a strong correlation between economic growth and reduction in waste, greenhouse gases, making optimum use of natural and human resources and the production and conservation of energy to meet the environmental and human development challenges in a changing world,” the ambassador said at a seminar on how Pakistan could benefit from Swedish green technology to overcome its energy and environmental challenges, held at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Monday.

Wide said the proactive pursuit and practice of stringent environmental policies in Sweden have encouraged research and development in water purification, sanitation, sewage and wastewater treatment, waste management and production of bio fuels, as well as generation of renewable energy from wind, biomass and solar power.

Quoting research data, the envoy said Sweden was the first country in Europe to meet the renewable energy targets set by the European Union (EU) for 2020, eight years ahead of schedule.

“Renewable energy accounted for 49.6 per cent of total energy used in Sweden at the end of 2012. The EU target calls for renewable energy making up for 49 per cent of the total energy used in member countries in 2020, reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) by 20 per cent and ensuring 10 per cent use of bio fuels in total auto fuel consumption,” he said.

Chamber Trade Sweden (CTS) Chief Executive Charlotte Kalin said transparency, sustainability and responsibility in trade and business ventures had been the three major characteristics being sought by Swedish companies while looking for resellers and partners.

“We see many opportunities for enhancing trade and joint ventures between Pakistan and Sweden, and Swedish green technologies could play a positive role in realising sustainable socio-economic growth in compliance with global labour, human, child and women’s rights regulations and environmental standards,” said Kalin.

Agribusiness, food processing, lifestyle products and textiles, leather and sports goods and other products from Pakistan could capture a larger share of the Swedish and Scandinavian markets through better compliance with the principles and practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability, he said.

Capital Business Sweden chief executive and founder of CSR Pakistan Yawar Mian said there had been an abundance of waste, biomass, slaughterhouse waste, sewage, sunlight throughout the year, good wind conditions besides small and large-scale hydropower potential in Pakistan. By using Swedish green technologies, Pakistani government and companies could overcome many development challenges, including the energy crisis, and protect the environment.

Punjab Energy Department Secretary Jehanzeb Khan said a comprehensive energy plan was being prepared for implementation in the coming months to maximise the use of renewable energy in Punjab. Swedish companies could provide green technologies for creating clusters of small, medium and large-scale projects to ensure sustainable supplies of energy by diversifying the use of renewable fuels, Khan added.

Punjab Board for Investment and Trade (PBIT) Chief Executive Javed Akbar Bhatti said there existed lucrative opportunities for joint ventures and investments in green technologies that could create thousands of jobs and small businesses in the existing and upcoming economic zones of the province.

LCCI President Farooq Iftikhar said business community across Pakistan had been keen on acquiring economical and reliable alternative energy solutions to sustain its operations.

A diverse range of manufacturing and production industries across many sectors in Pakistan could use green technologies and set up distribution and manufacturing joint ventures with Swedish companies. Iftikhar said.

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