Lito Atienza's Blog

STATEMENT OF SECRETARY JOSE L. ATIENZA, JR. FOR THE INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GREEN INDUSTRIES IN ASIA | September 4, 2009

Increase jobs and incomes while slowing down climate change. Perk up the economy with, through and for the environment.

The Government has been promoting responsible, eco-friendly enterprises that not only provide jobs and income opportunities for the country, but also help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and thereby soften the impacts of climate change.

Green industries are a vital component of a green economy, a still evolving concept based on the principles of sustainable development. Other key components of a green economy are investments, legislations, policies, innovations, and an eco-oriented workforce. The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) has been promoting green industry for a resource-efficient and low-carbon future.

Green industries will employ not just eco-friendly processes and practices, but also create green jobs and careers in various disciplines. Thus, some schools abroad have started offering green/sustainable certificates, which can be used in landing green jobs.

Green industries are among the fastest-growing in the global economy. The top ten in the list are advanced biofuels, retrofitting of buildings, geothermal energy, green chemistry, green manufacturing, smart grid, solar energy, sustainable agriculture, sustainable green retailing, and wind energy.

The surge is fueled by the realization that to be competitive, today’s industries and entrepreneurs have to develop practices and products that can slow down, if not reverse, global warming and environmental degradation, instead of aggravating these.

Through Administrative Order No. 256, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo designated the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to lead country efforts on the conference as she favorably noted the country’s gains in moving toward greener industries, citing the DENR as a prime mover for sustainable development.

The DENR has been advocating more interventions in eco-friendly enterprises. It has already embarked on a green growth strategy, with the support of the business sector.

One particular program of the DENR is the Philippine Environment Partnership Program (PEPP) with industries which aims to support industry self-regulation towards improved environmental performance. By providing a package of incentives and reward mechanisms to industries, the DENR hopes to assist business establishments, particularly small and medium enterprises, to adopt pollution prevention and cleaner production processes. Regulatory privileges and assistance, such as relaxation of reportorial requirements, simplified requirement for securing an Environmental Compliance Certificate and flexible payment schemes, are also offered under the PEPP.

Another activity is the Revised Industrial Ecowatch System (RIES), a public disclosure program that rates industries in color codes of gold, silver, green, blue, red and black. Under the RIES, firms are rated Gold or Silver for environmental efforts that go beyond legal requirement. Other ratings include Green or Blue for sufficient effort to comply with DENR standards, Red for insufficient effort to abide by environmental regulations, and Black for companies that make no effort to improve their compliance.

It is notable to cite the country’s ongoing shift to renewable energy and active participation in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects which target cutbacks in emissions of millions of tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. The Philippines has now 39 projects registered with the CDM Executive Board in Bonn, Germany, making the country the seventh in the world in terms of the number of registered CDM projects.

Climate change is one of the biggest environmental challenges in world history. The shift to a low-carbon economy will change how industries operate, the products that we use, and our lifestyles. Business and consumers can benefit from significant savings and resource efficiency measures that will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and make climate safer for all and more conducive to growth.

The International Conference on Green Industry in Asia will highlight, particularly for investors, the Philippines’ potentials for clean development projects which are integral to the country’s green growth strategy. It will also focus on opportunities created by the transition to a resource-efficient and low-carbon economy.

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