Philippine business leaders present united response to climate change

December 08, 2015 | Posted by Philippine Business for the Environment

Philippine business leaders present united response to climate change

Philippine business leaders presented the Philippine business’ response to climate change in a document submitted to World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) Chairman Paul Polman during a breakfast meeting at the EDSA Shangri-La Hotel on December 1, 2015.

Dubbed the Manila Declaration 2015, the document was signed by 60 key players in the private sector and embodies their call for every country to take measures in reducing carbon emission, ensuring that global cumulative emissions do not exceed one trillion tonnes, and keeping the global average temperature increase below 2°C.

The Manila Declaration expresses the urgency of these measures to prevent disastrous consequences, particularly for the Philippines which is identified as the third most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. The total cumulative carbon emission now stands at 582 billion tonnes, and unless these measures are done, the remaining carbon budget will be used up in less than 30 years.

Proposed actions include creating an environment and market mechanism to facilitate the transformation of industry, energy, agriculture, and forestry systems, as well as contributing to climate finance to help the most vulnerable countries adopt these measures.

In response, Polman commended the group’s united effort to advocate for and undertake mitigation measures, saying that the poor countries usually suffer the most from climate change. He identified three areas that needed to be focused on, namely, land use, energy, and cities (i.e., mobility, infrastructure, waste). Although the negative effects of climate change are increasing, Polman said more and more businesses are seeing economic opportunity in it as incorporating mitigation and adaptation efforts are good for business. Moreover, the challenge of climate change can be addressed without stifling economic growth, especially with the help of today’s technology.

Polman also underscored the need for more sustainable designs for urban areas in the Philippines, citing the congested Metro road network and the fact that only one airport runway could accommodate big planes, which would be a problem in the event of a disaster. He urged businesses to partner up with government units to inject sustainability in urbanization.

He shared updates about their work at WBCSD, where they launched LCTPi and identified economically viable solutions in nine sectors, with 10 to 15 businesses focused in one sector alone. These solutions, he revealed, would hopefully attain 95% of their target mitigation.

Polman added that 170 of the 190 countries have already submitted their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), and that they hope an ambitious agreement would come out of the Paris negotiations—in particular, a commitment from all countries that there will be a net zero carbon emission by the end of the century. Among his other expectations from the meeting in Paris are a plan to renegotiate every five years, the establishment of financial mechanisms, specifically, 100 billion dollars in annual climate fund for 2020 onwards, and the enforcement and transparency of all climate change undertakings.

Polman added that he would also like to have a global agreement on the price of carbon, as 12 percent of the world’s emissions are under carbon pricing schemes. “If we put a price on carbon, we will be able to value its negative side as well as its positive side. What you don’t measure, you don’t treasure,” he said. Polman further noted that the carbon budget discussion is not moving fast enough. Despite that, he has confidence in the Paris negotiations and the 21st COP (Conference of Parties), identifying three factors to be recognized for the talks to be successful:

  • Man versus nature. Man has to be in harmony with and a good steward of nature.
  • Few versus many. There are now a multitude of solutions that address inequality. Prosperity must be shared for solutions to work. There must be equality in opportunity.
  • Short versus long. Long-term problems such as climate change must be addressed. Focusing only on short-term problems will cost more in the long run. Many present problems can be traced back to climate change, for instance, the Syrian crisis and migration which arose from draught, and the African migration. The boats that transport them were initially fishing boats, and since there are lesser fish, they look for greener pasture. These instances should motivate the developed world to raise $100B in catalytic funding.

Among those who represented Philippine business leaders during the meeting were Pilipinas Shall Petroleum Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Edgar Chua, Lafarge-Holcim Chief Executive Officer and President Edgardo Sahagun, First Philippine Holdings Chairman Federico Lopez, RCBC Corporate Vice Chairman Cesar Virata, Management Academy of the Philippines Board Member Corazon Claudio, Veterans Bank Chairman Roberto de Ocampo, Honda Cars Phils. Vice President Delfin de Guzman, Aboitiz Power Senior Vice President Miguel Aboitiz, Aboitiz Equity Ventures AVP for Sustainability, Corporate Branding and Communication Malou Marasigan, Manila Water Company Inc. Chief Sustainability Officer Mark Mulingbayan, First Gen Corporation Vice President for Sustainability and Energy Efficiency Aloysius Santos, Energy Development Corporation President Richard Tantoco, Development Bank of the Philippines First Vice President Paul Lazaro, Meralco President and CEO Oscar Reyes, Maynilad Water Services Inc SAVP of Environmental Department Francisco Arellano, Unilever Philippines CEO Rohit Jawa, Jos Lubber, First Embassy Secretary of the Netherlands Embassy, and Grace Favila, Board Member of the Philippine Business for the Environment.

Details of Manila Declaration can be viewed at

Photo grabbed from @PaulPolman on Twitter

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