Monday , June 25, 2018

ProGED convinces 544 MSMEs to go green

THE German government has noted the presence of more environment-friendly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Philippines as its four-year green project in the country comes to an end on Dec. 31.

Through the Promotion of Green Economic Development Project (ProGED), a joint project between the Federal Republic of Germany and the Philippine government, there have been 544 MSMEs in 30 provinces that have “greened” their operations or have adopted climate smart practices and technology.

Of the number, 53 are from Cebu, the third leading province in terms of MSME participation, data as of 2015 showed. Some of the Cebu-based establishments that took part of the project include Nature’s Legacy, Avatar Accessories and ECHOstore.

Leading provinces are Surigao del Norte with 58 establishments and Agusan del Norte with 54.

According to GIZ ProGED project manager Volker Steigerwald, majority of the greening strategies adopted by MSMEs include energy efficiency, solid waste management, water savings and waste water management.

The greening strategies are believed to make them “economically competitive” and may incur little to no cost with just a change in behavior.

However, high-cost greening may also be adopted. This could come in the form of investing in green technologies and using renewable energy.

Although no financing was offered by the German government to Philippine MSMEs, the ProGED project helped facilitate green financing options to entrepreneurs, said the German project manager.

Steigerwald said banks have already opened up their resources for green financing, which include Land Bank of the Philippines, Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP), and the Small Business Corporation (SB Corp).

Of the over 500 MSMEs that participated, an internal survey showed that 94 percent of the MSMEs experienced decrease in production costs, increased sales, developed green or innovative markets, accessed new green markets, and other benefits such as contributing and promoting a healthy environment.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Resource Generation and Management Service Director Lydia Guevarra said the ProGED project was influential in the 40 resolutions passed in the local governments that have endorsed environment-friendly policies and ordinances.

In addition, Guevarra said six road maps of the Board of Investments (BOI) including plastic, pulp and paper, furniture, automotive, housing, and copper have integrated green measures in their respective industries.

“This is a good opportunity to steer the country’s priority industry towards greener economic strategies, in light of the national government’s efforts to revive the manufacturing sector,” a GIZ-prepared fact sheet reads.

As the German-led project is about to conclude in the Philippines, DTI announced yesterday that it will institutionalize the project through the Green Growth Results Framework.

DTI 7 Director Asteria Caberte said the trade agency, being the lead national government agency in the promotion of green economic development (GED) in the country, will adopt green strategies into its programs and projects.

DTI is scheduled to hold a workshop on Thursday for the new department vision. She promised to push for green initiatives in the trade agency.

In the past five years, the Philippines has been consistently ranked in the top three in the world as the most vulnerable country to climate change.

According to a study of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), losses due to to climate change can cut Southeast Asia’s gross domestic product (GDP) by up to 11 percent by 2100.

One of the most vulnerable to disasters are MSMEs, whose business operations and long-term viability are at stake, said the German government.