By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK Although Cleaner Production is still a new concept in the country, many Namibian companies have quickly adopted this environmentally friendly and sustainable initiative. The industries that mostly adopted this approach are in the food and beverage sectors, the chemical industry and tanneries. Therefore, by the look of things there is a high level of environmental consciousness within the private sector and a positive approach to adopting this concept for a sustainable future. Expressing this sentiment, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Dr Malan Lindeque said there’s been a remarkable interest in this field especially in the commendable achievements made through harvesting unwanted resources in bush encroachment, and as well in the new approach to building construction in the country. “There’s been a quick uptake on this initiative and we encourage more companies to participate,” said Lindeque who was speaking on behalf of the Minister of Environment and Tourism Willem Konjore at the launch of the Cleaner Production Materials and Awareness Raising Implementation in Windhoek recently. Seen mostly as an ideal business promotion tool, the Cleaner Production Component in Namibia was started by the Ministry in 2005 with assistance from the Danish International Development Assistance (Danida). This component falls mainly under the Directorate of Environmental Affairs within the ministry and is planned for the duration of three years from 2005 to 2007. Lindeque noted that he’s pleased with the positive way most companies have adopted it into their businesses and industry operations, since it is what he termed a “good business promotion tool”. “It does not hamper growth but merely facilitates that growth to be ecologically sustainable. It should therefore not be considered only as an environmental strategy, but a catalyst to stimulate sustainable economic growth,” he added further. The overall goal of the Cleaner Production Component in Namibia is to achieve a significant reduction in negative environmental impacts of the country’s social economic development activities. Thus a change in mindset is needed from shifting from a reactive “cure” approach to a more proactive “preventative” approach. So far Namibia is performing well on international standards with regard to Cleaner Production as many Namibian industries have adopted this concept with the best available technology within their sector. In an effort to further enhance this good trend of development in this specific sector the ministry also launched valuable documents to mark the official implementation of the Cleaner Production awareness campaign. Among the materials are written documents on Cleaner Production Context Analysis Volume 1 and 2, a Training Booklet that looks into the economic social and environmental benefits of adopting Cleaner Production, A Regulators Guide to the Promotion of Cleaner Production in Namibian Industry and the Best Available Technologies – A Guide for the Namibian Fish Processing Industry. While a delegation of 13 Namibians from the public and private sector participated in the Cleaner Production study tour of Denmark from 12-19 November last year to gain more skills and knowledge in the field, plans are now under way to host a National Conference on Cleaner Production in Namibia towards the end of next year.