August 22, 2022

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ESG officers want gov’t incentives for sustainability drive

SUSTAINABILITY officers from different companies — Metro Pacific Investment Corp. (MPIC), Prime Infrastructure Capital, Inc., and Maynilad Water Services, Inc. — have highlighted the importance of government incentives in achieving sustainability.

“I think the government has to do its part. Sustainability is a collective responsibility and it can’t be just addressed by the private sector; they have to enable everybody,” said June Cheryl A. Cabal-Revilla, MPIC executive vice-president, chief sustainability officer and chief risk officer, during the International Association for Business Communicators General Members’ meeting on Monday.

“They have to enable [it] by providing support and tax incentives. At the end of the day, what the government does is sustainability-related anyway,” she added.

Dave Jesus Devilles, Prime Infra director for environmental, social and governance, said that the government can create more laws and regulations to help in achieving sustainability.

“The government has a lot of policy setting to do to encourage people to be really, really mindful of their carbon footprint,” he said.

“The impact of us as consumers is higher than the impact or carbon footprint of corporations,” Mr. Devilles added, referring to how corporations have a way to control their process enabling them to control their footprint.

Abigal Ho-Torres, Maynilad assistant vice-president and head of customer experience, said one of the problems is that the Philippines is still largely a “sachet economy” because there’s still a “premium” to be socially responsible.

“[If the] government can facilitate easier disposal and recycling of the waste then that would be helpful also because SMEs (small- and medium-sized enterprises) cannot [afford] having sustainable packaging even if they wanted to make their practices more sustainable,” Ms. Torres said.

“Even if it were not a straight-up incentive, just have a network that will support [SMEs],” she added.

“[The government] really just have to understand it and be able to link everything that they do to sustainability. And understand that climate change is real and all of their decisions and laws […] will have an impact not just on themselves, their family but also in their constituents,” Ms. Cabal-Revilla said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile