Environment advocates from civil society and business groups called for stronger partnerships with the private sector and government to address environment issues and climate change impacts during a recent virtual forum on promoting sustainable ecosystems.
The online event was organized by Stratbase Albert del Rosario Institute (ADRi) in partnership with the Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship (PBEST).
Dr. Carlos Primo “CP” David, ADRi Trustee and PBEST convenor, said: “The largest sustainability issues we are currently facing are COVID and climate change. During these highly unusual times, the role of businesses and even of CSOs are most needed.”
ADRi President Prof. Dindo Manhit, in his statement, stressed: “The government, and with the help of civil society’s lenses, should set the much-needed responsive policies and frameworks that are conducive to doing business while ensuring compliance with ESG (Environment, Social, and Governance) principles.”
“We believe that the private sector, through ESG, plays a vital role in advancing the country’s sustainable development. The interconnected challenges in public health, the economy, and the environment cannot be ignored.”
Ludwig Federigan, Executive Director of the Young Environmental Forum, highlighted the key role of civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organization (NGOs) in achieving a sustainable Philippine future.
“CSOs can help build the political will for a new approach to development that integrates environmental and social goals. NGOs can serve as alternative to weak or inadequate democratic institutions, as avenues for more inclusive dialogues, and as conduits for disseminating information on activities and issues within the system.” Federigan said.
Yoly Crisanto, Senior Vice President for Corporate Communications and Chief Sustainability Officer of Globe Telecommunication, said: “What is driving us is really the sustainability of our business anchored on our purpose, our mission, and vision as individual organizations.”
“Even without incentives, the drive of the government to keep pushing for opening up the marketplace for more investments that will bring about sustainability-driven businesses, like electric cars, renewable energy”•the things that are useful”•and even digital transformation are the things that allow us to be resilient,” Crisanto said.
In concurrence, Renato Redentor Constantino, Executive Director, Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities, said: “Businesses would agree that the incentives are not as important as predictability and other measures that allow businesses to thrive. There is the bigger incentive”•cut red tape, make things more predictable, show us where the directions are, what is the ultimate investment strategy, and we will respond.”
June Cheryl Cabal-Revilla, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Chief Finance Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “We’ve up the ante and we’ve actually committed to adhere to global sustainability standards and frameworks.”
“We’ve put sustainability pillars across the businesses which include exceptional service, operational efficiency, environmental stewardship, human capital excellence, positive community impact, governance, and business ethics. We’ve also put our focus on enabling genuine progress and development,” Cabal-Revilla said.
Nazrin Castro, Branch Manager of The Climate Reality Project Philippines, said: “Economic recovery programs of the government and the private sector should channel massive investments not only on our short-term goal of reviving our industries and creating jobs, but also on programs, projects, and initiatives that will achieve our long-term resilience and sustainability objectives. This shouldn’t be a problem because the current climate crisis also unlocks many opportunities for investments.”