Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bizmen vow to be eco-friendly

Bizmen vow to be eco-friendly
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
Cebu Daily News
August 10, 2010

Recognizing their need to transcend “business and personal interestests,” about 50 individuals and eight civic and business groups pledged to adopt eco-friendly, socially responsible and human resource oriented practices in yesterday’s One Cebu Business and Sustainability Summit.

They signed a two-page “call to action” at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City after listening to a series of talks on how to conduct responsible and sustainable business.

Led by Mandaue Mayor Jonas Cortes, they vowed to “incorporate new specific sustainable business practices and use environmentally friendly technology” in daily operations.

The mayor and representatives of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), Cebu Business Club, Rotary Club of Cebu, Cebu Leads Foundation, Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Cebu Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce said the move was a “response to our country’s call for transformation and private volunteerism.”

Some 400 participants from local government units in Cebu, Bohol, Iloilo and Manila joined in the summit.

Summit speakers including former environment secretary Elisea Gozun and lawyer Alex Lacson, author of “12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country” urged the participants to start reviewing their business processes and reduce carbon emission which worsens climate change that is affecting economic activities.

Gozun said that last year’s typhoon Ondoy and Peping affected 2.6 percent of the gross domestic product.

“There are four direct impacts of climate change that will have a threat to business which includes increase in rainfall, rising sea levels, increase in temperature and extreme weather conditions which includes very strong typhoons,” she said.

“We have seen how those two typhoons have affected us last year.”

Gozun said that renewable energy, which would reduce “carbon footprints” and make the environment and business sustainable, is not yet accessible and feasible in some areas due to lack of government regulation.

Exporter Pete Delantar said the export industry is ready to use renewable energy.

“There is a very huge market for green products at around $600 billion but how can we say that our product is green if we don’t even have the guidelines yet?” Delantar asked.

Erramon I. Aboitiz, chief executive officer of Aboitiz Power agreed.

He said some companies like San Fernando Electronics like San Fernando Energy and Davao Light have opted for renewable energy but other firms “need clear guidelines.”

Aboitiz, who was among the speakers, said that the Department of Energy should prioritize making renewable energy accesible.

“I don’t know if they are waiting for open access before they can implement the Green Energy Option,” Aboitiz said.

Other summit speakers included Maria G. Goolsby of Union Bank of the Philippines, Gawad Kalinga’s Antonio Meloto Jr., Emmanuel Aligada of Globe Telecom, Felino Palafox Jr. – an architect who talked about urban planning, Brad Reddersen of Stranova and Yolanda Ong of Campaigns Group.

Meanwhile, in line with President Benigno Aquino III’s thrust towards active private-public partnerships, Eric Ng Mendoza, head of the MCCI that organized the event said that they will push for more projects with the Mandaue City government.

Mendoza said he is eyeing a partnership with Union Bank which has a book donation program and the University of Cebu through its owner Augusto Go.

He said Go promised to support MCCI.

The One Cebu Business and Sustainability Summit 2010 is part of MCCI’s Mandaue Business Movement that Mendoza describes as the beginning of a sustainable business revolution.

“Through the summit and other projects, we hope to influence and encourage actions from others until all will do their own share,” Mendoza said.