MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) “It is absurd to isolate our economy from the encompassing natural ecosystem that provides us the very source of support for life and resources that our very economy needs to persist and function.”
This is the picture painted by Climate Change Commission (CCC) commissioner Naderev Saño to more than 500 businessmen and entrepreneurs at the CCC’s 2013 Business Summit: Forging Partnership Towards Climate-Smart Industry on Wednesday, November 27. The Summit participants gathered to discuss how best to create climate-smart industries and how such businesses positively affect the environment. (READ: Greeneration Summit: Creating climate-smart industry)
Saño said that this is the perfect time for the private sector to get involved in climate change reduction initiatives especially in light of the devastation brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).
“It is a timely reminder to expand our horizons and think long term. It’s time for us to look at innovative solutions that can stabilize both the economy and the climate, create jobs and foster conservation and ultimately, improve and enhance quality of life and make our communities more resilient,” he added.
Saño, who was also the Philippine government’s chief negotiator in the recently concluded United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), said responding to a changing climate comes from having a profound sense of humanity.
He encouraged the participants from the business sector to put their best foot forward for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
“The commitment towards a sustainable development is an everlasting ideal…The objective is to continue to incorporate climate change into public discourse in the industry for a truly sustainable and resilient Philippines,” he said.
Learning from the best
Several companies with climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives shared their best practices during the conference.
Atty Dulce Lucban of Human Nature, a social enterprise that produces personal care products, shared how her company empowers the poor and takes care of the environment.
“Human Nature only resorts to importation if materials are not locally available. This creates livelihood for the poor with lesser carbon footprints,” Lucban said.
Lucban shared the company’s 4Rs in doing business – reduce, reuse, re-gift and recycle.
Meanwhile, Johnson Ongking of Pacific Paints (Boysen) Philippines, Inc. explained how the simple act of choosing the color of the roof can help lessen global warming.
Having a white or lighter colored roof is ‘greener’ than having a dark colored one because light colors reflect back much of the sun’s rays, Ongking explained. A white colored roof also helps save up to 40% of electric bills and makes a house cooler.
Boysen has initiated a campaign with the CCC, called the Paint it Light Program, to repaint the Philippine General Hospital roofs a lighter color.
Among the other companies that presented were Nestle Philippines Inc., Binalot Fiesta Foods, Absolut Distillers Inc., Toshiba Information Equipment Inc., and Manila Water.
Private sector’s concerns
A panel discussion with representatives from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the CCC capped off the day’s activities. The forum served as an avenue for the representatives of the private sector to raise their concerns about the government’s green policies.
One of the concerns was raised by businessman Crispian Lao, who talked about the government’s Green Choice Seal of Approval (GCSA), an eco-label that sets a standard for environmentally sound products and sustainable production.
CCC secretary Lucille Sering emphasized that going green is all about sustainable development.
“The logic of going green is to find initiatives that will enable us to continue using the things we enjoy,” Sering said.
She also said that the private sector has a big role to play on battling climate change.
“The government can only do so much. We need the private sector to invest in climate change adaptation mechanisms,” she added.
Sering concluded, “We want the business sector to have the capacity (for climate change adaptation) and see the opportunity in it…We want you to do development with a heart.”
The Business Summit was held on the third day of celebrations of the 2013 National Climate Change Consciousness Week (NCCCW).
WATCH: Day 3 (November 27) of the Greeneration Summit:
Missed the conference? You can read about what happened in Rappler’s blog:
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