Sustainability highlighted at Manila Times forum

BUSINESSES must focus on sustainability if they are to grow and sustain the Philippine economy and also help promote health and protect the environment, speakers at a Manila Times forum said Thursday.

“Sustainability is a very important aspect in a business,” said Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, president of the Philippine Retailers Association.

“It means delivering things in a way that meets current needs while preserving the ability of future generations to meet theirs,” she added.

Bosch-Ong noted that a global study found that the production of goods and services was responsible for 45% of total greenhouse gas emissions, with retailers accounting for around 10% of that number.

“(P)or retailers, sustainability means minimizing their impact on the environment, ensuring the well-being of workers and communities, and supporting sustainable economic growth,” she said.

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A collaborative approach between retailers and consumers is needed. Bosch-Ong said retailers could consider using renewable energy and sourcing products from sustainable suppliers, among others, while customers could choose to reuse, reduce and recycle.

“Sustainability is a very critical issue for the retail sector and for all retail operators in the country,” she said. “Adopting sustainable practices can bring significant economic benefits to the retail sector in the Philippines.”

Jenny Lim Maaño-Ngai, co-founder and president of SunSmart Solar Power Technology Inc., said her company seeks to help communities transition to using renewable energy.

“(Our goal is to) form a strategic partnership with local government units and direct utilities to harness abundant solar hybrid decentralization energy opportunities in the Philippines,” she added, in line with the effort. global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

SunSmart, Maaño-Ngai said, wants to build renewable energy facilities that are “decentralized, independent and scalable, culturally adaptable and nature-friendly, from the most urbanized city to the most remote island.”

SunSmart’s operations are currently concentrated in the Visayas and Mindanao.

Caitlin Punzalan, head of corporate and government affairs at Mondelez Philippines Inc., said the company aims to achieve plastic neutrality in accordance with the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) law that came into effect last year.

This means that “for every part we bring to market through our products, we will make sure to collect it through our partners and ensure that it is properly disposed of and does not end up in the wild,” he said. she adds.

Punzalan said consumers have become more aware of the environment and sustainability, with 54% making an effort to eat more plant-based snacks, 70% prioritizing snacks with less packaging and 66% seeking actively snacks that reduce their environmental impact.

“More and more people are turning to sustainability not only in what they buy or in their lifestyle, but also in what they eat,” she added.

Republic Act 11898, or the EPR Act, requires large businesses to put in place a mechanism to collect their plastic packaging, with targets to be met each year.

Mondelez, the maker of famous snack brands such as Oreo, Toblerone, Cadbury Dairy Milk, Tang, Eden Cheese and Cheez Whiz, recently partnered with Plastic Credit Exchange in an effort to achieve a 100% recovery rate.

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