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The Action Heats Up at the Business Climate Action Summit
By Gene Gregorio At the plenary session of the Business Climate Action Summit, Philippine Business for the Environment (PBE) Pres. Howard Belton stressed, “The Philippines is very vulnerable to climate change. Business needs to take the lead!” The Summit was attended by hundreds of CEOs/ Senior Executives and industry participant across all sectors. I was fortunate to attend the Summit as a delegate representing Agricultural Inoculant Corp (AIC) upon the invitation of Unilever’s Chito Macapagal and Joy Isla. Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Lucille Sering launched the summit with a talk on how business can participate and respond to the challenge of climate change. Sering mentioned the role of R.A. 9729 (An Act Mainstreaming Climate Change into Government Policy) in creating the Climate Change Commission. The Commission then drafted the National Climate Change Action Plan (2011-2028) to address the adverse effects of the phenomenon on our food and water supply, ecosystems and how it causes extreme weather events. Once the globe’s temperature goes beyond the 2% increase threshold, the effects would be irreversible. As such, the Commission’s vision is to help make the country climate risk-resilient. Its goal is to build the adaptive capacity of communities. To do this, it has listed the following strategic priorities to address: food security, water sufficiency, human security, sustainable energy, and climate-friendly industry and services (such as Waste Management). The Commission also plans to declare prohibited ecological areas as Eco-Towns where the government plans to partner with the private sector for reforestation, the rehabilitation and building of mangroves, and developing ecotourism. Sering also mentioned plans of tapping into the Lifestyle of Health and Sustainability (LOHAS) markets so entrepreneurs can venture into organic food, green buildings, alternative transportation, ecotourism, alternative energy, and natural lifestyles much like Western countries have already made these mainstream. Sering added that waste has increased by 9% in the century’s first decade and that 90% of it is wastewater. As such, she said that there is a huge business opportunity for the private sector in the areas of waste recycling and food security through climate-resilient and sustainable agriculture and food diversification. She ended by reminding participants that the Philippines is in the list of Top 10 countries whose economic activities are at risk from the intensification of storm surges. PBE Pres. Howard Belton followed with a discussion on the overview of the business covenant and the rationale for the Summit which is to gain support for five major projects: 1. Sustainable transport - clean fleet project 2. Sustainable energy – efficiency measures 3. Solid waste – reduce, segregate, recycle
http://www.facebook.com/gene.gregorio http://ph.linkedin.com/pub/gene-gregorio/2/455/b0a http://gene-gregorio.blogspot.com/p/about-gene-gregorio.html http://twitter.com/#!/genegregorio http://www.scribd.com/home 4. Sustainable agriculture and forest ecosystems – reforestation and mangrove rehabilitation; and 5. Sustainable cities and buildings – green buildings and infrastructure After the plenary, the coffee-driven delegates broke up into the cluster working sessions. These focus areas represent a coalition of companies which have a priority concern in their chosen areas and a commitment to work together to reduce their environmental impact and greenhouse emissions. These are clustered as follows: Businesses for Environmentally Sustainable Transport – The most advanced of the five clusters with Clean Fleet Management as its anchor program, as a result of a successful pilot project conducted in 2009 by Meralco with the help of the Clean Air Initiative for Asian Cities and PBE. Sustainable Energy Cluster – It promotes smart usage and generation of energy to meet the current needs without harming the environment and compromising future energy supply through energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. It is led by the European Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines and First Gen Corporation. Its anchor project is the Smart Energy Program to train and assist companies to develop and implement energy-efficiency programs. The members of the working group are: ECCP, First Gen, International Finance Corp, First Carbon Solutions, Holcim, Meralco, the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation, Inc., and the Center for Appropriate Technology. Solid Waste Action Team – Aims to share best practices on reduction, resource recovery, and recycling/upcycling and to demonstrate their application to the management of “difficult” waste streams through practical, replicable, scalable examples that not only reduce waste, but also reduce costs and cut carbon. The cluster is led by Unilever and the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in partnership with the following members of the working group: Jollibee Foods, Ayala Foundation, Holcim/ Geocycle, Smart Communications, SM Supermalls, the Earth Day Network, and PBE. Sustainable Cities and Buildings Cluster – Aims to transform the building industry into a climate friendly industry, to document best available practices on available greening technologies, and to encourage builders and consumers to adopt urban greening measures. Its anchor project is the Promotion of Best Practices of existing urban greening such as “Cool Roofs”/ Light Color Roofing to reduce the heat island effect. It is led by Philippine Green Building Council with its partners: Holcim, L.A. Ducut Company, Green Architecture Advocacy, Earth Day Network, Coating and Fireproofing Specialist Inc., and key property developers. Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Ecosystems Cluster – Promotes positive project contributions in its sector. It is led by the Alyansa Agrikultura in partnership with the Tambuyog Development Center, and the Energy Development Corporation (EDC). Alyansa’s Mangrove Rehabilitation Program aims to enlist companies in efforts to save sea-based livelihoods threatened by climate change. EDC’s BINHI Program aims to bridge forest gaps, provides forest-based livelihoods to forest dwellers, promotes ecotourism, and preserves the gene pool of rare and endangered native trees.
http://www.facebook.com/gene.gregorio http://ph.linkedin.com/pub/gene-gregorio/2/455/b0a http://gene-gregorio.blogspot.com/p/about-gene-gregorio.html http://twitter.com/#!/genegregorio http://www.scribd.com/home The Summit aims to follow through on the commitments of business to reduce impacts on climate change through action-oriented events aiming to: • Review implementation progress, barriers, and needed actions • Share strategies in focus areas and discuss how to scale these up • Recruit and renew industry commitment for a Climate Action Road Map with clearer strategies, leadership/roles; and • Agree on the 2011 Milestones and well-defined targets which will comprise the key Summit outputs, representing the business contribution to national efforts to fight climate change, for presentation to President Aquino and the Climate Change Commission. Not having the ability to Quint-locate, I was only able to attend two cluster working sessions after a light lunch of Waldorf salad with salmon strips and Rosemary chicken. In the Solid Waste Action Team Cluster working session, Chito Macapagal explained how Unilever was able to address trash through their solid waste management measures. In the course of doing so, they discovered the following statistics on sources of waste: • • • • 66% come from residential areas 21% come from industrial activities 13% come from wet markets; and 75% of organic waste unnecessarily end up in landfills
Chito Macapagal’s proposed solution is the composting of biodegradable trash into organic fertilizer and the recycling of plastics to oil. Agricultural Inoculants Corp would certainly want to help in the area of helping this cluster convert trash into organic fertilizer in the varied communities they support. In the Sustainable Agriculture and Forest Ecosystems Cluster working session, Alyansa Agrikultura’s Ernie Ordonez said that paradoxically agriculture contributes tremendously to greenhouse gases. His figures on greenhouse contribution are: • • 19% come from industry; and 31% come from agriculture and forestry
He then briefed the audience on Alyansa’s initiatives in Organic SRI technology for rice, coco coir for coconuts, fishponds from mangrove rehabilitation. BINHI adequately expounded on EDC’s reforestation program. With this first exposure to corporate action on climate change, I am convinced that this summit generated more than just hot air. It has won the commitment of responsible corporations by raising the temperature of awareness and action to help the country reach its goal of becoming climate risk-resilient in the perilous 21st Century. And it has strengthened Agricultural Inoculant Corp’s resolve to be part of the solution.
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