Giz to promote ‘green growth’-A A +A
By Mia A. Aznar
Thursday, October 25, 2012
AFTER completing a program to promote the sustainable development of micro, small and medium enterprises, the German Development Cooperation (Giz) is expected to embark on another project involving the sector next year.
Giz Philippines and the Pacific director Robert Kressirer announced that they are planning to start promoting green growth for MSMEs in the country with the same partnership they had with the Department of Trade and Industry.
Giz program manager Volker Steigerwald said the next ideal direction for them is to promote green economic development, with their pilot areas being Cebu and Bohol and emphasis on the tourism sector.
He explained that they chose the tourism sector because of many other supply chains that ride on its value chain such as transport, food and handicraft.
He believes a lot can be done in the area of organic food production and renewable energy. While they chose Cebu and Bohol to pilot the project, they hope to replicate the same in other areas as quickly as possible.
Steigerwald added that their experience in the two provinces has been pleasant, with an active private sector and partners like the DTI. “We’ve had a very good experience here, so we decided to start here,” he said.
Giz has proposed 3 million euros for a three-year pilot phase to help MSMEs in the tourism sector achieve green growth. The program hopes to promote efficiency in source acquisition and water and energy consumption.
Steigerwald said that what most businesses need to realize is that being efficient in these areas not only helps the environment, it also allows them to be competitive because of reduced costs.
Elpe Canoog, Giz Visayas coordinator, said that the challenge for them is to convince businesses to adopt green practices because the upfront costs are high. However, she believes they can change the mindsets once they show immediate results. She added that in the long-term, green practices make businesses more cost-efficient.
She cited the case for the switch to LED lighting from the regular lights, saying most would not consider it because of the high upfront cost of LED lighting systems.
Canoog admitted that awareness among most Filipinos is very low, which is why the next step includes advocacy work. “They need to know it’s a worthwhile investment,” Canoog told reporters.
Aside from the MSMEs, Canoog said enablers like local government units can also be crucial in promoting green economics. She said that if they provide tax incentives to companies that implement environment-friendly policies, it will encourage more businesses to do so. Aside from incentives, Canoog said awards and recognition help to promote the implementation of such policies.
Aside from just practicing green policies to attract the foreign markets, Canoog said the domestic market should also be educated on the benefits of products and services that have been made with green practices.
She said that rather than look at environmental problems like climate change as threats, MSMEs should be able to see opportunity instead.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 26, 2012.