Friday, August 06, 2010

'Eco-friendly tack on business gives MSMEs competitive edge'

'Eco-friendly tack on business gives MSMEs competitive edge'
By Katlene O. Cacho
Sun.Star Cebu
August 6, 2010

Cebu's micro, small and medium sized entrepreneurs (MSMEs) are being encouraged to take on practical approaches to be eco-friendly to become more globally competitive in the market.

“Being eco-friendly is good not because it is fashionable but it is good for the business, for the market and for the bottom-line,” said Elmer Mercado, an environment planner and consultant in a forum conducted by the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) last Wednesday at the Crown Regency Hotel.

He was in Cebu to share his insights on and experiences in implementing environmental sustainability initiatives for MSMEs.

He said that in achieving the “triple bottom-line” (TBL), an expansion of business framework that considers the social and environmental aspect aside from the economic aspect of the business is helpful in making the business sustainable.

“It is viable even without spending because there are business processes that we are doing that involve increasing human resource productivity, increasing profit margins and maximizing resources,” he said.

The TBL approach, he said, can help bring back earnings to the community.

He said that it typically brings back by contributing to the growth of the community such as education and facilities. Paying the community right will help them improve their production of raw materials.

Mercado reported that there is a need for eco-friendly business to comply with the law and to respond to market pressure, competition, public health and sanitation concern, shift of lifestyle and marketing strategy or niche.

“There is an increasing global demand of environment-friendly products and companies see this as a challenge and opportunity,” Mercado said.

He said buyers examine closely the supply chain management and production of companies before they get them as suppliers. “Buyers want to know if your company adheres to eco-friendly business operations.”

For MSME’s to become an eco-friendly business, one practical way is to work within existing operations systems.

“Environmental initiatives can be done with existing operations. About 40 to 50 percent of eco-friendly actions are within the existing operations,” Mercado said, citing 3Rs (reuse, reduce and recycle) and 5S (sorting, straightening or setting in order, sweeping, standardizing, and sustaining the discipline) as examples.

He said the companies can also introduce technology, equipment and system to start an eco-friendly business, although this might mean new investment cost.