SDG12 (Responsible consumption and production)

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on 6 Oct, 21:32

Environmental Consultancy: Wild Asia

This is a project located in #Malaysia.

Related SDGs:

  • #SDG12 (Responsible consumption and production)
  • #SDG15 (Life on land)

Data collection methods: Interview

Updated since: 2014


Wild Asia is a social enterprise that provides environmental consultancy in the areas of standards compliance and improvement of business practices. Through consultancy projects, assessments, and training, Wild Asia provides the technical knowhow to companies to ensure that their practices are environmentally and socially sustainable.

Among the different areas focused on are:

  1. Palm oil: Wild Asia works with small, medium and large companies, in all stages of the supply chain from plantations to retail. Services provided include consultancy or advisory support, social and environmental assessments, risk assessments and assurance programmes, as well as training and capacity building. One of the schemes under the palm oil initiative is the Wild Asia Group Scheme for Small Producers (WAGS), which supports small producers in their farming practices to reach international standards such as RSPO, to increase marketability.
  2. Responsible tourism: Wild Asia has held its annual Responsible Tourism Awards since 2006, recognising tourism operators that try to run their businesses sustainably. Similar to its palm oil initiative, it also provides consultancy and training to businesses that are interested to green their practices.
  3. Biodiversity: On biodiversity, Wild Asia works on spreading awareness and providing consultancy on areas with High Conservation Values (HCV). It was one of the earlier implementers of HCV concepts of the HCV Resource Network, and is endorsed by RSPO to provide HCV assessments.
  4. Sustainable building: Wild Asia provides technical assistance to individuals and project developers to build low-impact buildings, and to retrofit existing buildings. It draws upon its in-house expertise in Earthship Biotecture to create rainwater harvesting and hydroponic systems for its clients.

About the Wild Asia Group Scheme for Small Producers

Philosophy/Values/Traditional knowledge

The tagline of Wild Asia is “promoting change, inspiring people, engaging businesses”. These encapsulate the philosophy that the organisation operates with, that can be seen as a form of humanistic capitalism. It sees the industry as potential change makers. In equipping companies with the solutions and technical capabilities to improve their practices, Wild Asia achieves its financial, social and environmental goals. In providing training and showcasing best practises (in the Responsible Tourism Awards), it provides inspiration to people on existing efforts and tangible possibilities.

Organisational model

Wild Asia is a registered business which operates as a social enterprise.

Sustainability from the Triple Bottom Line

Environmental: Wild Asia provides environmental services as their core business, focusing on improving existing business practices towards sustainability. By advocating for change in environmentally sensitive sectors and providing tangible solutions to companies to change their processes for the better, Wild Asia brings about a multiplier effect with every project run. A tangible example is the reduction of pesticides used, through education on proper practices in agriculture.

Social: In terms of social sustainability, Wild Asia works from two angles: external and internal to the organisation. External to the organisation, the consultancy projects and training programmes aim to improve the well-being of people who work within various parts of the palm oil supply chain, including worker welfare or livelihoods of small-holders. Within the organisation, the working culture supports work life balance of its employees. Many of its employees do not work full time, and are given flexible office hours.

Economic: Wild Asia has expanded from its beginnings in providing online information on sustainable tourism in Borneo to a business of improving business practices in other areas as well. It is economically sustainable, run by an office of 16 employees in Malaysia and five to six associates posted in other parts of the world for different projects.

Challenges faced

  • It is difficult to find and retain good talent, especially from the younger generation.
  • Some companies that they work with are unwilling to pay a premium for quality work, as there are competitors in the market who offer lower prices with less quality. As the company has the image of a non-profit and non-governmental organisation, it affects the rates that clients are willing to pay.
  • There is no legal entity for social enterprises to provide tax breaks or incentives, which makes it harder for the company to survive while competing with regular enterprises which do not have a social mission.
on 20 Sep, 21:01

Community Recycling: Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia

This is a project located in #Malaysia.

Related SDGs:

  • #SDG12 (Responsible consumption and production)
  • #SDG11 (Sustainable cities and communities)

Data collection methods: Field visit, interview

Updated since: 2014


Taiwan Buddhist Tzu-Chi Foundation Malaysia (here forth Tzu-Chi) is a Buddhist association that originated from Taiwan in 1966, and has been registered in Malaysia as a foundation since 1996. Since 1990, the founder Master Cheng Yen enlisted Environmental Protection as one of the organisation’s “8 Charitable Footprints”. Her followers all over the world are urged to recycle as part of their service in exercising their faith. There are four regional headquarters in Malaysia: the Central (Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and Pahang), the South (Negeri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor), the North (Penang, Perlis, Perak, Kedah, Terengganu and Kelantan), and East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak). Each of the headquarters report directly to the main headquarters in Taiwan.

Recycling is considered to be a meaningful activity to reach out to the public, with a low barrier of entry and visible results. Tzu-Chi regards their recruitment of recycling volunteers as “recruitment of Bodhisattvas”, i.e. enlightened and compassionate beings who serve others selflessly as the embodiment of Buddha’s spirit. Through recycling at a personal level, many volunteers are inspired to spread the message to their friends and family, or to expand to implementing recycling systems at the workplace.

In terms of operations, Tzu-Chi volunteers run recycling points and recycling stations. Recycling points are temporary locations that the members congregate at specific times to collect recyclables. Recycling stations provide a permanent location for collecting, sorting and storing recyclables. The recycling points and stations are positioned in high density residential areas. Volunteers organise to meet at varied times that enable different types of participants to come, e.g. weekday mornings for housewives and retired people, weekday evenings for office people to come after work, and weekends for families.

Tzu-Chi has volunteers to sort through unwanted clothes (which they get in high volume) and repair broken electrical appliances. For goods that are still in good quality, they are sold through Tzu-Chi second hand centres at a low price. These centres are frequented by migrant workers, who buy the products for personal use or for re-selling at the market. Other recyclables (such as paper and plastic) are sorted to increase their value, and sold in bulk to interested buyers. The money earned is channelled into Tzu-Chi’s operations or charity purposes.

See the video by Youth On Unity to have a clearer idea on Tzu-Chi’s recycling:

Philosophy/Values/Traditional knowledge

The philosophy behind Tzu-Chi’s recycling can be encapsulated in three steps: to purify one’s heart and soul, to ensure peace and harmony in society, and to free the world from disasters and calamities. Through the process of recycling, the volunteer cleanses her soul from negativity and greed for material possessions. She uses recycling as a tool for spiritual betterment, and the positive difference is then amplified at the societal level and then the global level. As the individual benefits from the act, she does it willingly and without compensation.

Organisational model

Tzu-Chi has been registered in Malaysia as a foundation. It has 13,500 volunteers actively engaged in recycling. There are 1,000 recycling stations and recycling points across the country.

Triple Bottomline

Social sustainability:

  • While collecting and sorting through waste, volunteers experience gratification in turning trash to resource and preserving the environment, and reap the meditative effect of doing repetitive and manual work. The act of recycling has been helpful to people suffering from depression or general loneliness and isolation.
  • People from all walks of life come together to serve as “the earth’s gardeners”, with recycling as the tool to rekindle the community spirit and solidarity with other living beings, as well as the sense of appreciation towards life in general.
  • The recycling stations also double as centres for education (for recycling and for Buddhist teachings) and community activities. Tzu-Chi does not discriminate among race or religion, and has volunteers of different faiths.

Environmental sustainability:

  • From the recycling programme, volunteers learn about waste and product cycles experientially, and view “rubbish” as “resource” with a zero waste mentality. Through sorting through household waste of others, their own consumption patterns change.
  • Tzu-Chi also does considerable environmental education, reaching out to its thousands of volunteers through newsletters and face-to-face activities. Among the environmental acts advocated are vegetarianism, as well as refraining from burning joss paper during the Seventh Lunar Month to pray to the dead (which is common in Chinese customs) that releases considerable carbon emissions.

Economic sustainability

  • There are four funds that are administered within Tzu-Chi – the Charity Fund (for low income families, disaster relief and home visit programmes), Development Fund (for supporting the organisation to promote its 4 missions), International Fund (for international disaster relief) and Building Fund (for construction of infrastructure such as the Jing Si Hall). Tzu-Chi collects donations from its members and volunteers, and allows them to choose the Fund that they wish to contribute to. The Charity Fund and International Fund are well-funded, therefore income from the recycling programme goes to the Building Fund or the Development Fund, in maintaining the Tzu-Chi’s operations.


  • Committed volunteers are difficult to find.
  • Some of the waste are theoretically recyclable but are trashed because there is no local buyer in Malaysia.
  • While working on the ground, Tzu-Chi sometimes faces problems with bureaucracy, on applying for permits for their recycling points and recycling stations. On using recycling stations that are provided by the municipality councils, the stations vary widely in facilities provided, from “proper” recycling stations that include toilets, to just a small patch of vacant land.

Feature image credit goes to Leo Club of SMK Jinjang



on 20 Sep, 14:14

SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production

SDG12: Responsible Consumption and Production

#SDG12 – Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

  • Implement the 10-year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production, all countries taking action, with developed countries taking the lead, taking into account the development and capabilities of developing countries
  • By 2030, achieve the sustainable management and efficient use of natural resources
  • By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses
  • By 2020, achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment
  • By 2030, substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse
  • Encourage companies, especially large and transnational companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
  • Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
  • By 2030, ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in harmony with nature
  • Support developing countries to strengthen their scientific and technological capacity to move towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production
  • Develop and implement tools to monitor sustainable development impacts for sustainable tourism that creates jobs and promotes local culture and products
  • Rationalize inefficient fossil-fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption by removing market distortions, in accordance with national circumstances, including by restructuring taxation and phasing out those harmful subsidies, where they exist, to reflect their environmental impacts, taking fully into account the specific needs and conditions of developing countries and minimizing the possible adverse impacts on their development in a manner that protects the poor and the affected communities

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