The country has no option but to go `green’ and `greener’ for resiliency and survival.
This was pointed out by Dr. Rene Ofreneo of the UP-School of Labor and Industrial Relations (SOLAIR) following the conduct of three (3) Roundtable Discussions by La Liga Policy Institute and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) with the support of the MDG Achievement Fund and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The 3rd Roundtable Discussion was held last October 27 at Oasis Hotel, Clarkville Compound, Balibago, Angeles City in cooperation with Metro Clark Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
According to Ofreneo, going green/greener is a must for business and the nation and going green/greener is attainable for the Philippines and the big community but we need transformation/transition measures. This, he said, involves greening existing economic sectors such as agriculture, industry, and services.
Ofreneo noted that a green shift is job creating and will help alleviate unemployment, noting that green professionals will be in demand in green and greening industries. He also drew attention to the green mode by certain firms which have presented their best practices, concluding that greening industries require “green” HR orientation and that the greening of companies and HRD require the full support and commitment of green CEOs. The CEOs, he added, could be green czars to champion and push the implementation of green programs.
Lawyer Alberto Quimpo, ECOP Corporate Secretary, in his Opening Statement during the Roundtable Discussion on Corporate Responses to Climate Change Adaptation, the 3rd of a series of roundtable discussions on climate change adaptation, noted that the phenomenon of climate change indeed poses real and serious threats globally, socially, economically, with the business sector likewise bearing the brunt unless it heeds the call to go green and live up to the challenge of climate change adaptation.
Quimpo related, for instance, the recent devastating floods that struck Ireland, Thailand, and Australia brought about by changes in global climate conditions.
Quimpo urged the business sector, along with other sectors, to “work together and together mag-ADAPTAYO!” ADAPTAYO is about standing up to the challenges and risks that climate change brings. It is a call to leaders – national and local government officials – to bear the duty of introducing and promoting climate change adaptation among their constituents.
La Liga Managing Director Roland Cabigas underscored that our country urgently needs climate change adaptation in order to address the immediate impacts of climate change by enhancing the country’s resiliency, as well as build our adaptive capacity.
Cabigas noted that climate change is here, we just cannot continue on a business as usual mode. Its time to act decisively and collectively in partnership for adaptation in order to enhance our country’s resiliency and adaptive capacity, and ultimately national development targets on poverty alleviation, social services, human and economic development. The shift is necessary and must be now, he stressed.
For her part, Dr. Flaviana Hilario, PAGASA Acting Deputy Administrator for Research and Development, pointed out that climate change is a serious threat to society, global business and the environment. She added that the effect of climate change will be felt by all businesses around the world in similar ways, whether now or in the future.
Carmen Baugbog, International Labor Organization (ILO) National Program Coordinator, Green Jobs in Asia Philippines, said the ILO’s aim to provide decent work translates in the adoption of a “just transition’’ framework for the construction of a fairer, greener and more sustainable globalization.
She emphasized that green jobs should meet the requirements of decent work – adequate wages, safe conditions, workers rights, social dialogue and social protection. She cited the current Greener Business Asia (GBA) project which entails improving productivity, greening potential case and social performance of enterprises through workplace cooperation. This is undertaken through knowledge building through research, enterprise level testing and development, capacity-building of tripartite constituents, and knowledge sharing. The ILO/UNEP defines green jobs as “employment created in economic sectors and activities, which reduces their environmental impact and ultimately brings it down to levels that are sustainable.”
Baugbog mentioned that through GBA tools, companies can design their path towards greener production processes; improved adherence to quality, environment and social standards; safer, more productive workplaces; higher material and energy efficiency; better workplace conditions; resilient, climate smart business operations; and contribute towards greening the economy.
Sharing their best practices, Juan Miguel Fuentes, Manager, Environment Management Department, Clark Development Corp. (CDC), related that CDC has embarked on mitigating measures such as tree planting and tree maintenance and care for “caqrbon sequestration,” waste management, regular inventory of carbon emissions, and power conservation programs.
Fuentes noted that CDC has also initiated adaptation measures such as water resources management and rehabilitation of storm drains, canals and waterways and slope protection along riverbanks, among others, to control occurrence of flooding.
For his part, Miguel Cuunjieng, Sustainability Officer, SM Supermalls, shared that SM Supermalls through its “SM Cares” program, SM incorporates environmental programs in all aspects of operation. Such program, he added, includes promotion of clean air, emission control and energy efficiency, and policies on water conservation and solid waste management.
“SM Supermalls are venues for advocacy. Environment protection translates to business efficiency. We face challenges with determination, commitment and hope,” Cuunjieng emphasized.