Saturday, April 02, 2011

60% of Philippine firms ready for climate change impact – survey

60% of Philippine firms ready for climate change impact – survey 
Manila Bulletin
April 2, 2011

Initial results of a comprehensive survey from London-based professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) show that more or less two-thirds of Philippine business companies have reported being 'somewhat' ready for the general impact of climate change to their respective properties and operations.

This despite the lack of a 'formal management-approved' plan or strategy on climate change for 64 percent of the survey respondents, with nine out of 10 of these 64-percent majority having 'informal plans' anyway, according to data made available during the Business Climate Action Summit in Makati City on March 29.

A partial tally of the poll revealed details as of March 23, while results of the online-based survey were set to be concluded on March 31, according to PwC Financial Advisors Inc. in a plenary presentation in Makati City.

Dan Hamza-Goodacre, climate change and sustainability advisor of PwC Financial Advisors Inc., disclosed that of the 36 percent with a formal approved plan or strategy on climate change, a quarter of these Philippine companies called for adaptation, less than a quarter for mitigation, and more than half called for both.

According to Goodacre, adaptation measures on climate change include groundwater or rainwater harvesting or desalination, urban greening, flood and assistance shelters, water efficiency, and shoreline defense.

Meanwhile, mitigation measures on climate change include energy efficiency, solid waste management and recycling, tree planting and watershed protection, building services and behavioral change, and low carbon energy purchase and installation, Goodacre said.

More than 90 organizations from the corporate sector, the non-profit community, and the government participated in the climate change summit organized by the Philippine Business for the Environment (PBE), in partnership with PwC, Honda, Shell, Holcim, and the Lopez group of companies.

Participants were grouped various into various clusters such as sustainable agriculture and energy efficiency, sustainable cities, and solid waste management, including the corporate-led Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP).

Welcoming the guests during the climate change summit was PBE president and PBSP trustee Ed Chua of Shell Philippines.

Moreover, around 67 percent of survey respondents from the local business community have revealed that their respective companies consider climate change as having a great extent of impact to their respective organizations, Goodacre said.

He said around 58 percent of Philippine companies are 'somewhat prepared to manage climate change impact,' 22 percent 'neither prepared nor unprepared,' 18 percent 'very prepared,' and 2 percent 'somewhat unprepared.'

Overall, 89 percent of the survey respondents said their respective organizations consider the longer term impacts of climate change in their strategic plans and investment decisions, Goodacre added.

They said climate change would impact the economies and markets (38%), change consumer behavior (24%), damage physical assets and infrastructure (16%), challenge obtaining of resources or supply (11%), affect both workforce location and availability (4%) and administration of health hazards (4%), and induce changes in human and cultural environments, like migration (3%).

The survey respondents were composed of corporations (87 percent), sole proprietorships and partnerships (4 percent each), and others (5 percent).

The PwC poll reportedly aims to identify strategies and actions that private sector organizations undertake on climate change, analyze current perceptions of climate change risks and opportunities, identify the level of engagement between private and public sectors, and stimulate and scale up private sector action on adaptation and mitigation.

"Majority of the respondents were very concerned, thinking long-term and increasing short-term investments but are only somewhat prepared," Goodacre said.

Barriers to action include high costs and the lack of proper policy or regulation, both consistent with the views in other global surveys on climate change impacts, Goodacre added. He said climate change stakeholders want more cooperation with government, with the latter needing a clearer plan and enforcing it.

During the summit, Goodacre revealed a global Low Carbon Economy Index showing few countries are reducing their carbon intensity as many nations are even increasing.

Brazil, he said, is an exception with its reduced carbon intensity of 5.4 percent in 2009 compared to 2008, amid high economic growth and strong renewables.

Further, he cited a Carbon Disclosure Project 2010 where it identified companies taking active steps towards low-carbon economy. This, he said, included the so-called Global 500 comprising of 82 percent of the responses and representing 11 percent of global carbon emissions.

Almost half of global companies surveyed (48 percent) have embedded climate change and carbon management into group business strategy and reduction targets, while a little over a quarter (28 percent) have reported developing products and services that were enabling customers to cut carbon emissions, Goodacre said.

Based on a Carbon Disclosure Leadership Index and a Carbon Performance Leadership Index, PwC cited corporate 'leaders' including German industrial firms Siemens and Deutsche Post, health care Bayer, electronics companies Samsung and Phillips, financial groups National Australian Bank and Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and materials-based firms BASF, Le Farge, and Praxair.

The PwC presentation cited as carbon disclosure and performance 'laggards' as Berkshire Hathaway, the diversified conglomerate of Forbes third richest Warren Buffet, as well as Bank of China, energy firms Rosneft of Russia and Reliance Industries of India, and Amazon.com, the American online retailer of books, movies, and other entertainment goods.