Awards Gala for a Clean Environment - 2016 edition, brought together 98 projects registered in the 4 categories: NGOs, Companies, Public Institutions and Educational Institutions. Out of the desire to find out what is behind these special projects, we will publish interviews with the representatives of the winning entities. .
Today I talked to General Director of DGASPC Sector 6 - Gabriela Schmutzer.
You are the winners of the category Grand Prize for Public Institutions at the Clean Environment Awards Gala, 2016 edition. What does this award mean to you?
GS: The award means for our institution a confirmation of the efforts made in the direction of implementing new projects, which will change society for the better and involve as many aspects of daily life as possible. We are glad that our initiative convinced, among other things, by the fact that it has several valences, managing to unite in a single program objectives in the social field, but also in the field of environmental protection. The SocialXChange store has as beneficiaries people with material difficulties, to whom it makes available the products donated by citizens, while managing to have a positive impact on the world we live in, by significantly reducing pollution caused by waste.
Can you tell us how the Social Xchange project started?
GS: The project started from the simple reality that some people throw away what others lack. And what is thrown away is not only wasted, but negatively affects each of us. We understand that it is a problem that needs immediate solutions and that we need a tool to solve this abnormal situation. In Sector 6, citizens now have the opportunity to donate the things they need, and those in a precarious financial situation know that there is a place where they can work to benefit from them. We are thus reintroducing a significant amount of products into the consumption circuit, including food, which would otherwise end up in the bins and then be dumped in landfills.
Because we are at the beginning of the year and we each set ourselves new goals, what are the goals for this year in terms of the project?
GS:We have several major objectives this year: the first is to extend the program to all four districts of the sector, to give everyone the opportunity to participate, with minimal effort, in this program. Secondly, we aim to run an information and awareness campaign so that citizens perceive our message and understand all the implications of this project. Thirdly, we want to make the store known at national level and to provide assistance to those who want to implement the program in the administrative-territorial unit in which it operates. We also intend to expand public-private partnerships, in order to attract as many donors as possible for the store. Last but not least, 2017 will mark the implementation of a larger project, which, like SocialXChange, addresses the two components: the social one, to support the poor, and the ecological one, to protect the environment. The project is called "Local Food Bank Sector 6" and aims to collect, store and distribute to disadvantaged people the food that shops, restaurants, catering companies, etc. intend to throw away. The project is innovative, several months ahead of the promulgation of the Law on combating food waste. We are currently looking for partners in the economic sector who are willing to join this program and donate our surplus food.
What message do you want to send to the citizens regarding social responsibility?
GS: "You make the change, you are the change!" is our message to citizens, as it appears on the SocialXchange Store website. It is a simple message, but with profound implications for the Romanian society, still affected by distrust and inertia. We are ready to change this mentality. It is very important that everyone who uses the services of the SocialXChange Store to see that the message is covered by facts. You can't ask people to get involved if you don't do it yourself.