The announcement made by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change on October 30th states that the E-Waste collection targets will be 10% during 2017-18 and will increase to 70% by 2023 in a phased manner. This amendment to the 2016 E-Waste legislation, through its phased target escalation, will give the E-Waste ecosystem a better opportunity to develop for the long-term. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is encouraged by the Government’s approach and is scaling up the implementation of its ‘India E-Waste Program’, which has been actively involved in supporting the development of India’s E-Waste sector through engagement with the private sector.
In line with IFC’s global strategy of ‘Creating Markets, Creating Opportunities’, The IFC’s India E-Waste Program is focused on developing a responsible and sustainable E-Waste management ecosystem in India with the end goal of mobilizing private sector investment towards the sector. To achieve this, the IFC’s project team is focusing on addressing some of the critical challenges that the sector faces such as (1) Lack of awareness among stakeholders about the magnitude of India’s e-waste challenge, related hazards, implications of unsafe practices and solutions available for responsible collection and processing, (2) Underdeveloped formal capacity for responsible collection and processing; and (3) the absence of data and access to best practices. Therefore, the 3 key components of the IFC’s E-Waste project are (1) Awareness generation, (2) Supporting the establishment of a responsible Producer Responsibility Organization (PRO) model and (3) The development of a Toolkit which will serve as a knowledge and data resource to support stakeholders in their implementation efforts. The project is also committed to supporting the formalization of the informal sector by exploring interventions such as innovative microfinance solutions and skilling programs.
Higher awareness levels and improved collection will result in better capacity utilization of all entities in the value chain as well as mobilize investment for additional capacity-building to meet the growing demand, ensure greater investor confidence and make the sector more financially viable. The PRO model has the potential to be a cost-effective channel to implement such a solution in the long-term since it capitalizes on professional management and economies of scale.
Under its program, IFC has partnered with Karo Sambhav, a PRO that represents several prominent electronic producers including Apple, Dell, Lenovo, and HP. Karo’s technology enabled solution aims to address the critical need for transparency in the ecosystem. This, coupled with an experienced team led by Pranshu Singhal, former Head of Sustainability for Nokia, is the basis of the partnership. IFC’s partnership with Karo Sambhav is focused on awareness generation, capacity building and knowledge exchange.
IFC’s Country Manager Mr. Jun Zhang is optimistic about the impact an E-Waste solution can have and said “The complexity of implementing an E-Waste management solution represents an opportunity for IFC to support the development of a sustainable ecosystem through its advisory work. The India E-waste program will address critical gaps in the market by systematically leveraging international and local best practices in the sector. We also believe this scalable solution will create new profitable businesses in India and future investment opportunities for Investors such as IFC.”