“The string of yellow alerts because of unscheduled shutdowns of power plants, the runaway price hike of petroleum, the highest inflation rates in more than a decade are all fallouts raining untold suffering to Filipinos”
Building sustainable ecosystems in a post-pandemic world has become the global direction that envisions a planetary world order that would have the resilience and existential durability for humans to live beyond survival and emerge with new paradigms of growth and co-prosperity.
That may have sounded wishful, given the convergence of crises that have fused into a scary interplay of climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and escalating geopolitical hostilities that are now inflicting historic disruptions to the world’s economically challenged peoples.
But this is the reality that we now live in and the daunting challenge that the incoming government and all sectors of our society, including you and me, must recognize and work as harmoniously as we can if we want to get out of this deep crisis soon.
The string of yellow alerts because of unscheduled shutdowns of power plants, the runaway price hike of petroleum, the highest inflation rates in more than a decade are all fallouts raining untold suffering to Filipinos.
Add the doubling rate of infections in many areas, though mostly with mild symptoms, might force another round of stricter mobility restrictions that will kick hard on our struggle for economic recovery.
A rethink of the development versus sustainability dilemma espoused by the principles of Environment, Social, and Governance is now the new model of developmental values that industry leaders, civil society, and even governments are slowly integrating into their operations and stakeholder engagements.
In the Stratbase ADRi virtual townhall discussion on “Promoting an Investment-Led and Sustainable Economy” last Thursday in partnership with the Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship, Prof. Victor Andres “Dindo” Manhit, Founder and Managing Director of the Stratbase Group, sees investments from the private sector as the key driver for the growth of the Philippine economy and an opportunity to seriously address the challenges of Philippine society.
Prof. Manhit stated that “Investment must reduce carbon emissions, make our communities more climate resilient, and create circular mechanisms for resource demand and consumption.”
“Hopefully it (the private sector) will respond to the challenges of the next administration in dealing with the economic consequences of the pandemic and peripheral challenges of the environment and climate change,” Manhit said.
PBEST convenor and Stratbase ADRi Trustee and Program Director, Dr. Carlos Primo “CP” David points our that protecting the environment will never be a priority for as long as more immediate problems exist in our society such as jobs creation, food sufficiency, avoiding another pandemic, affordable electricity, better education, and overall national security.
Dr. David stressed the need to efficiently use the resources that we have, which is the basic tenet of sustainable development and proposed the harnessing of the countries small rivers that has been actually recognized by the World Small Hydropower report as one of the highest mini hydropower potentials in the region capable of generating over 2000 megawatts of power.
Only a few small turbines are now operating at only 147 megawatts.
Maria Yolanda “Yoly” Crisanto, Senior Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Globe Telecom Inc., shared how value is created as their sustainability linked business models allow them to leverage on digital technology to enable various sectors focusing on education, healthcare, and also the public sector.
She also called attention to an energy consumption gap and the need to invest in more renewable energy sources and a massive adoption of renewables across organizations including the small and medium enterprises which make up 99.5 percent of all businesses in this country.
“If we have more renewable investments, there would be more choices for consumers, and potentially lower cost of energy,” Crisanto said.
In an earlier statement, PBEST co-convenor Eng. Felix Vitangcol said that the country’s new set of leaders should prioritize strengthening public infrastructure, specifically access to reliable power sources, given current and future risks that may threaten the pace of economic recovery here.
Eng. Vitangcol called for the amendment of the implementing rules and regulations of the EPIRA Law which should expand the threshold timeline to 10kW from 99kW to allow smaller industries to utilize renewable energy.
Dale Pascual Jose, the National Technology Officer of Microsoft Philippines talked about the “digital feedback loop” that enables enterprises to analyze ESG data and intelligence integrated from various sources to help fill in the short-term gaps towards a long-term vision.
“Our strategy for a sustainable future focuses on climate, ecosystems, water, and waste. We have detailed our plans to be carbon negative by 2030, water positive by 2030, and produce zero waste by 2030,” Pascual said.
The adoption by industry leaders of ESG and a circular economy perhaps inspired by the renewable ecosystem of nature should prompt all linked businesses and whole supply chains to align with what should be a planetary commitment to be stewards of a sustainable world order.