The Regie's sustainable development strategy: recent initiatives and policies to face the challenges

01 July 2022
The world is witnessing many challenges in various economic, environmental and health sectors and fields, and Lebanon is not an exception; it is not exaggerated to say that it is one of the countries that face these challenges the most. However, the world has begun to look for sustainable solutions in order to face them by devising alternative means that may provide a way out of various crises.
Should we talk about Lebanon in particular, we could say that the country is facing problems that have become a characteristic of the daily life of millions of Lebanese, whether in the energy and electricity sector, or in the environment and water sector. Nevertheless, from the core of these challenges, Lebanese institutions and companies have began to look for alternative sustainable and futuristic solutions, expressing their foresight in order not to stand still without trying to find answers for the current problems.
The Regie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs "Regie", is a live example and a model for institutions that has early started the search for and the implementation of alternative solutions to escape the crises and challenges. It was, as well, aware of the importance of its role in sustainable development, supporting the national economy and public treasury, protecting the environment, fighting illegal trade, improving local communities and preserving resources for upcoming generations. Thus was translated into a sustainable development strategy that relies on finding effective alternative means away from traditional methods and through economic, social and environmental projects and initiatives that have earned it additional value and a distinguished reputation across the borders of Lebanon and beyond the crises that the country witnesses, resulting in attracting international investors and companies thanks to its role, sense of responsibility and commitment to international standards. The Regie adheres to the principles of limiting the harm resulting from its activities, which means applying policies and adopting alternatives to the traditional means in facing challenges, instead of surrendering to these problems and accepting them as a reality in living. In fact, resulting damages may be on the economic, environmental or health level and therefore adopting such policies may contribute to finding sustainable alternatives to methods that have become part of the problem rather a solution.
The energy and electricity sector is one of the country’s most challenging sectors. Hence, the Regie has begun the search for and the implementation of alternative solutions and means contributing to reducing energy and electricity consumption in its factories by replacing traditional systems with alternative energy, such as installing energy-saving LED and solar energy systems in several of its workplaces, which has contributed to a significant reduction in energy consumption. That is an example of the so-called "harm reduction" approach in the field of energy and electricity for example.
Also, it is essential to shed light on the environment and water sector; one of the areas forcing the biggest challenges for the Lebanese society.
The Regie did not stay still, rather it has contributed to finding alternative means and solutions to support the society and reduce the costs endured by farmers by preparing artesian wells as an alternative source to fill the shortage in drinking water, in addition to the projects of rainwater collecting ponds, preventing the waste and benefiting from it and securing a sustainable water resource. Not to mention the Regie’s active role in sorting and recycling its waste and spreading such culture among its employees. All such initiatives represent a realistic example of the “harm reduction” approach adopted by the organization in facing challenges rather than being limited to ineffective and unsustainable theoretical solutions.
In this regard, the Regie President and Director General, Eng. Nassif Seklaoui, stressed that harm reduction is an integral part of the sustainable development policy pursued by the organization in the field of environment, as well as in daily life. It is our duty, as a model institution in the public sector, to motivate society to direct its individuals and institutions towards alternative means and products.”
Seklaoui added that the "harm reduction" approach is not limited to a particular sector giving the example of the alternatives that global tobacco industry has devised to traditional tobacco products in order to reduce tobacco damage, which is not limited to health damage, but extends to economic damage as well. He stressed that the Regie aims to promoting sustainability in various sectors away from the traditional way of thinking, regardless of the sector.
Seklaoui added that the adoption of "harm reduction" strategies in anti-smoking policies may have a role in reducing the health and economic costs to society, as is the case in the energy and environment sectors. It is an approach that the Regie has adopted in order to build sustainable economic, environmental, health and social sectors.

He concluded by stressing the Regie's commitment to securing the Lebanese market's need of all types of tobacco products, including modern tobacco products such as heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes and others, which preserves the state's revenues from these products instead of illegal smuggling, while ensuring the application of international laws relating to tobacco control, such as banning the advertisement of these products and distributing them exclusively to authorized heads of sale. He pledged to pursue the Regie’s constant search and investment in researches in order to secure the best products with the least harm to both the consumer and the environment.
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