Companies share policies, programs for sustainability, environment at 2nd Manila Bulletin Sustainability Forum

Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 21 2023 07:48 PM

MANILA - A number of corporations shared their policies, programs and practices to promote sustainability and protect the environment during the 2nd Manila Bulletin Sustainability Forum.
Project head Philip Cu-Unjieng said the forum aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainability and appreciation of companies practicing sustainable practices.
“It’s hopefully a showcase of basically how it has to be collaborative, sustainability, that it can’t just be a unilateral approach by one company saying hey I’m gonna be sustainable. For us to be effective, we have to work hand in hand together,” Cu-Unjieng said.
Companies such as Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, IKEA Philippines, Ascott, and SM Prime spoke of their sustainable products and services to foster responsible production and consumption.
Cleofe Abiso, Managing Director of Megaworld Hotels and Resorts, said the company has committed to support the protection and conservation of natural habliats and ecosystems by gearing development activities towards optimum land use, a reduced carbon footprint, efficient waste management, and the responsible consumption of resources all while bullding sustainable communities.
Under its MEGreen program and Project Sampaguita, the company has helped boost the livelihood of sampaguita garland makers and vendors and the sampaguita industry with the use of the national flower in its products.

“Having to touch base with everyone whose lives are hinges on the sampaguita industry is more than enough inspiration for us to make sure that this gets to become an advocacy,” Abiso said
Gerard Perlas, Commercial Activity Leader and Online Sales Leader of IKEA Philippines, shared how the company has been selling affordable and sustainable products made from renewable and recycled materials and offering more plant-based meals in its restaurants.

“People are looking for solutions and responsible brands and we believe our customers are looking for sustainable products and services and shopping more mindfully and looking at companies more critical than ever. They are looking for brands with a purpose,” Perlas said.
Philip Barnes, Ascott Limited General Manager, shared how Ascott properties have intensified efforts in law carbon transition, water conservation and resilience, sustainable accommodations, waste management and circular economy solutions with its green properties, and increasing electricity consumption from renewable sources among others.
“If we look at it from a corporate standpoint, a lot of corporate companies are asking specifically about sustainable practices and that becomes a (criteria) if they want to work with you,” Barnes said.
Speaking online, SM Prime Assistant Vice President Jessica Sy spoke of SM’s commitment to undertake sustainable steps to protect the environment by using alternative energy measures and efficient water supply in its sites. SM also supports communities affected by climate risks.
“SM Marikina was built on stilts that serve as water retention tanks so that when it does flood, water can be held… protecting not only the malls and the customers but also the larger community. We’ve also installed Weather stations in a large number of our malls which provide accurate and localized meteorological weather notifications for the residents around and for the community around to help them prepare better for the day,” Sy said.
Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Undersecretary Marc Fragada underscored the importance of sustainability with the Philippines as a top country with the highest disaster risk and countries still far from reaching the global net zero goal and sustainable development goals.
“It underscores the need for accelerated and collective efforts on a global scale. Addressing this urgent issue requires a whole of government and a whole of society approach,” Fragada said.