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Boost sustainability drive, PH business leaders told

September 11, 2019

The Philippine business sector should continue promoting sustainability as it is not spared from the adverse impact of climate change, a global business advisor said.

Gate International Ltd. President Henry Wang. PHOTO BY ROGER RAÑADA

During the Management Association of the Philippines’ (MAP) 17th International CEO Conference on Tuesday in Makati City, Gate International Ltd. President Henry Wang said local businesses are in a nation cited as the “number one most affected country by climate change” in the global climate risk index.

Wang said geography was partly to blame as the Philippines is situated in the western Pacific Ocean. “[The] Philippines is surrounded by naturally warm water that will likely get even warmer as average sea-surface temperatures continue to rise,” he said.

Climate-related disasters and risks, such as cyclones, cost the world output $4 trillion annually, affecting trade, investment, fuel and electricity, among others, Wang said.

As a prescription for the Philippines, Wang said more firms should follow suit in issuing green bonds being programmed to fund initiatives aiding the environment.

“More and more corporations are raising green bonds …. [and] ethical investors are tremendously interested,” he added.

Nevertheless, Wang lauded the government for mandating listed companies to submit annual sustainability report beginning 2020 amid the threat posed by climate change.

The report, which he described as an “important requirement that has to be reported,” covers non-financial and sustainability matters including environmental, social and governance, among others.

Earlier, the Securities and Exchange Commission released Memorandum Circular 04 series of 2019 or the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for Publicly-Listed Companies.

Wang also welcomed the government’s call to promote renewable energy resources to reduce the country’s dependence on coal as a source of electricity. He said clean energy is the key for sustainability which could help lower electricity prices in the country which has one of the highest power cost in Southeast Asia.

Meanwhile, MAP President Rizalina Mantaring said the business sector should prioritize sustainability.

She said the conference served as a platform for sharing insights and promoting stronger business partnerships to maintain competitiveness amid the fourth industrial revolution.

“The MAP conference focuses on … competitiveness and sustainability in the future which is [about] doing good, not just looking good; with purpose, not just profits,” she said.

Recently, MAP, along with audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers, released a survey noting that 80 percent of the chief executive officers (CEOs) in the Philippines would change their business model in the next three to five years to promote sustainability.

“Income inequality, climate change, lack of access to quality education and environment damage are making sustainability a major concern for both private and public sectors,” the report said.

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