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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)

Ever since its foundation in 2002 by the Egyptian Government, ECO – Environmental Compliance Office – has established itself as a center of excellence providing quality consultation services to the industry stakeholders in the field of environmental compliance.

By merit of its location in the FEI (Federation of Egyptian Industries) building, ECO has fostered close relations to both the enterprises and industry stakeholders, and the various Industrial Chambers.

ECO has ably provided its clients with consultancy services in environmental compliance, quality control, as well as employee and social development; years of field activity have added to ECO's staff capacity and have gained ECO solid experience in these fields. Stemming from its belief in a holistic approach to the development and improvement of the Egyptian Industry, ECO has always valued the importance of improving the working conditions for the workers as they constitute the corner stone of the industry, and of raising their awareness to issues such as environment, occupational health and safety, and gender.

We at ECO trust that the FEI and the Industrial Chambers could take more advantage of our expertise and services outlined below, and are looking forward to being most beneficial to the FEI as a key player in the development of the Egyptian business environment.

 
Environment and Environmental Compliance

Originally established by the Egyptian Government and DANIDA, ECO was founded with the main goal to assist in "Achieving Compliance in Industry" (ACI), a project component of the Environmental Sector Program (ESP); ECO has provided factories and enterprises in various industry sectors with consultancy services to assist them achieve compliance with the Egyptian Environmental Law and improve the working conditions.

In this scope, alternative environmentally friendlier process solutions were presented and Cleaner Production (CP) options developed; furthermore, ECO assisted the enterprises in gaining access to loans and funds for the implementation thereof.

 
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS)

A close contact has been established with the relevant chambers and a number of meetings have been held with chamber management and staff members.

Sector specific workshops and OHS seminars have been held, where six OHS brochures were launched and personal protection equipment (PPE) was given out to the enterprises that participated.

 
Gender Issues and Child Labor
Women and children benefit equally from the improvements in working and living conditions caused by the implementation of ECO's recommendations.
ECO, as an Egyptian consultancy office anchored in Egypt, adopts a realistic and holistic approach to child labor and gender issues, one that takes into consideration the complex social and economic structure of the Egyptian society; hence, ECO firmly believes that children belong in school and not in factories as workers.
However, when the income from a child working is essential to sustain a family where the alternative to child labor may be worse (prostitution, begging, crime), the focus is then shifted to improving the working conditions.

Addressing the working environment issue, ECO requests that the owners of the factories it collaborates with give suitable jobs for children (in case any are hired) avoiding very hard and dangerous work. Fulfilling this request is conditional for the factory to receive ECO investment support.

ECO has also developed a gender action plan strategy with the objectives of raising the awareness of the working woman with respect to her rights and duties through improving their identification thereof (particularly in entities with a large working force of women), contributing to the fair treatment of women in the industrial sectors and enhancement of available job opportunities by developing the skills of the working woman.
 
NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations)

ECO firmly believes that NGOs are a major driving force to development, and has therefore encouraged the advancement of cooperation with NGOs. NGOs are represented in the ECO Steering Committee; furthermore, ECO's close collaboration with the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Authority (EEAA) entails the cooperation with various NGOs who also benefit from attending a lot of the training sessions and awareness raising programs developed and held by ECO. 

In this extent, ECO has collaborated with Science and environment services association to assist the NGO in gaining access to funding for the implementation of an alternative furnace design to reduce the environmental problems caused by the traditional way of producing coal in Egypt.

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Industry & Environment Magazine
Issue # 10