Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution Programme


The Sustainable Manufacturing and Environmental Pollution (SMEP) programme has been established by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and implemented in partnership with UN Trade and Development (UNCTAD) The programme aims to address the environmental and health impacts of the manufacturing sector in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and some of the most pressing challenges associated with plastic pollution.  FCDO has committed £24.6 million to deliver research and related interventions to meet programme objectives. The SMEP programme was commissioned in mid-2019 and will run until October 2026.

SMEP is funding several pilot and research projects in the target region, which are designed to generate evidence for feasible pollution mitigation solutions.  The manufacturing sectors in many of the SMEP-focus countries tend to be dominated by small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and some include supply chains within the informal sectors.  The obstacles to the uptake of cleaner production solutions in such supply chains include weak investment capability, lack of access to technologies and resources, variable levels of regulatory enforcement coupled with limited application of financial and policy incentives.  Please refer to the brochure for a high level synopsis of the Programme.

The  Independent Technical Advisory Panel (ITAP) provides strategic guidance to the implementation of the SMEP programme. The group of independent experts provides a sounding board for the SMEP procurement strategy and advises on the selection of SMEP service providers. 

Please refer to  UK Government Development Tracker portal  for the SMEP Business Case and supporting contextual documents. 


Through the staggered calls, the programme has identified grantees to pilot and test technology-based solutions to address the most pressing environmental health issues associated with manufacturing in focus countries.  Grantees are also developing business processes and systems to promote the uptake of identified pollution control solutions. 

SMEP has prioritised the following sectors and in funding pilots within each.   

  • Plastics: With emphasis on the development of material substitution and biodegradation options and end of life solutions. 
  • Circular economy:  With emphasis on organic pollutants from the Food and Beverages industry and water re-use. 
  • Textiles and Apparel Industry:  With emphasis on cleaner production, water management solutions and market alignment  
  • Tanneries and Leather Sector Interventions:  With emphasis on process efficiency, human health and traceability  
  • Used Lead Acid Batteries in the e-mobility market:  With emphasis on circular business models and policy incentives as solutions in Bangladesh. 

Outcomes and evidence generated by the pilot projects is amplified to meet the following objectives:    

  1. To inform and influence policy processes at various levels, from local and national, to Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).    
  2. To demonstrate the business case for the wider adoption of technological and circular solutions and improved manufacturing processes.  
  3. To promote access to new markets, both for new technologies and for new products that can substitute hazardous and polluting alternatives. 

The SMEP programme is funding research and related interventions aimed at reducing the environmental  and socio-economic impacts of the manufacturing sector in focus countries, as well as addressing some of the most pressing challenges associated with plastic pollution. Programme interventions aim to accelerate the development and uptake of solutions with potential for impact.



FCDO has appointed aProject Management Agent (PMA)to manage programme delivery. The PMA comprises a consortium partnership between Pegasys and SouthSouthNorth (SSN). 

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