"These big agendas could only succeed if there is discipline in individual behavior. "
We are now in the most existentially threatening and most complex global crisis that some experts see as the perfect storm of the pandemic and global warming.
A sense of urgency to rally all sectors of the nation for immediate action became the common call of sustainability advocates from the government, private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-government organizations (NGOs) convened in the latest online event by the Stratbase Albert del Rosario (ADRi) Institute in partnership with the Philippine Business for Environmental Stewardship.
Environment Undersecretary for Finance, Information Systems and Climate Change Analiza Teh raised the need “to adapt the strategy which is long-lasting sustainable, inclusive, resilient, low-carbon low-polluting, nature positive and circular economic-based pathway for the country.
“The crisis that we are all unfortunately confronting provides us with the opportunity to rethink, re-evaluate our directions or choices for the economy, for the environment and for humanity.”
She highlighted the relevance of digital technology in accelerating climate action particularly in monitoring and gathering data on the climate, harmful emissions, water pollution, weather prediction and pushing innovations that will help mitigate the impacts of climate change.
ADRi President Prof. Dindo Manhit recognized the value of the ongoing efforts of the private sector in addressing the economic adversities by creating jobs, and livelihood opportunities to alleviate poverty and upgrade the healthcare system.
Prof. Manhit points out that “The private sector, without a doubt, plays a vital role in advancing the country’s sustainable development. We believe that by adopting Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) principles, a new order of sustainable ecosystems will arise by pushing for green investments, responsible and efficient business operations, and reporting, as well as efficient pollution management.”
The private sector represented by industry leading corporations presented the length and breadth of their sustainability interventions which optimizes the sinews of their respective businesses and centered on stakeholders
Coca-Cola Country President, Mr. Antonio del Rosario, showed how their investments to meet a global commitment on water achieved 124 percent of their 2020 target. Another global program is World Without Waste which is especially important in the Philippines because of the P2.3 billion state-of-the art PETValue recycling plant project.
Globe Telecommunications Senior Vice-President Ms. Yoly Crisanto showed how as a telecom company they have become a catalyst for development by driving the digital transformation of the economy. Integrating green solutions in their networks and infrastructure harnesses digital technologies to engage stakeholders in sustainability programs while reducing carbon footprint.
Global food conglomerate Mondelēz International Country manager, Atty. Joseph Fabul, shared how their ESG platform is centered on “Sustainable Snacking” that has evolved into a manufacturing process with sustainable ingredients, renewable energy, water management, child labor due diligence, recycling, and progressive reduction of their use of virgin plastic.
Metro Pacific Investments Corporation Chief Finance and Sustainability Officer Ms. June Cheryl Cabal-Revilla expounded on the group’s extensive efforts to go beyond global sustainability standards in MPIC’s companies. Under the Gabay Kalikasan program, recycling, upcycling, and using technologies that benefit customers and employees demonstrated how sustainable practices actually complement business objectives.
JG Summit Senior Vice-President Atty Renato Salud gave a pragmatic look into sustainability and that entrepreneurship is a foundation of sustainability, “There is nothing to sustain if there is no business to begin with.” They believe that done properly, sustainability gives a competitive advantage.
Meralco Vice-President and Chief Sustainability Officer Mr. Raymund Ravelo revealed that they are poised to secure 1,500 MW of clean energy contracts within five years. Their company MGreen, will be investing into 1,500 MW of renewable energy projects through 2027.
Executive Director of Young Environmental Forum Mr. Ludwig Federigan defined the CSOs value in helping build the political will for a new approach to development that integrates environmental and social goals while NGOs, serve as alternatives to weak or inadequate democratic institutions, as avenues for more inclusive dialogues, and as conduits for disseminating information on activities and issues.
Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities Executive Director, Mr. Renato Redentor Constantino, warned that current legislation is not enough to stop global warming. He sees the pandemic as an opportunity to mainstream climate concerns into long-term strategies and urges a science based agenda that takes a different path forward.
As a consumer advocate, I believe that all these big ESG investments and sustainability agendas can only succeed if there is discipline in individual behavior. Developing clean habits by simply not littering, disposal of solid waste in our homes and workplace properly, and consuming power and energy in a smart way will cost us nothing. These are, in fact, the first line of defense in protecting the environment. The next time you see someone recklessly tossing trash on the street, take action by kindly calling the person’s attention.
Let us all be part of the sustainability movement to save our planet.