SMEs told:going green is not costly

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Friday, February 14, 2014


WHILE most businesses think that going green is costly, a German organization said that it is not, if only the management would consider a “change in behavior” in their business practices.

German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) senior advisor for knowledge management Raquel J. Capio said there are already some resorts and hotels operating in Mactan and Cebu City that have adopted green measures, not only in their facilities but also on their daily operations.

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Capio cited in particular the Be Resorts in Mactan Island, which is already lessening the number of bottles it will be distributing to its customers. Instead, the management has decided to put several water dispensers on the corners to reduce plastic wastes.

West Gorordo Hotel in Cebu City is also maintaining eco-design and eco-practices in their operations. Aside from using light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, it is also adopting “air wells” which, Capio said, help circulate the air throughout the building and lessen the frequent use of air conditioners.

Moreover, the Department of Energy, she added, conducted on December last year a “fuel-efficient” driving initiative to educate drivers on how they would save fuel by properly using the accelerator, brakes, and other automobile parts.

Habits

“(Adopting green measures) works on different levels,” Capio said when asked how costly it is to have a “green” business.

She said that although mid-size and big companies have already adopted green infrastructure and energy-saving technologies in their operations and have invested a significant amount for them, micro and small businesses can start “green” by developing the habit of conserving energy by simply turning off the lights and air conditioners when not in use.

Planning

In line with these green movements, the German Government, through the GIZ and the Department of Trade and Industry, recently conducted an annual planning for 2014 for a green initiative dubbed as the Promotion of Green Economic Development project or ProGED.

“This (ProGED) is here to enhance the competitiveness of SME’s by integrating environment-friendly and climate smart strategies in their operations,” Capio said.

The recently conducted ProGED 2014 annual planning at the Marco Polo Plaza Hotel was also attended by tourism stakeholders. The project was launched in 2012 and will run until 2015. The project is being piloted in Bohol and Cebu.

‘Most vulnerable’

ProGED aims to pursue its objective along three intervention lines: information awareness on green economic development, green service facilitation and match-making and working toward green framework conditions.

Volker Steigerwald, program manager of ProGED, in a talk last year, cited that micro, small and medium enterprises are the most vulnerable among registered businesses in the country and are the most affected by the effects of climate change. He said this impacts the availability and fluctuation of the prices of resources, which include power, fuel, water and production inputs.

DTI-Cebu Provincial Director Nelia Navarro said her office is looking into the value chain of micro and small enterprises and checking where it can incorporate green measures in their operations.

Capio said the project is targeting at least 200 businesses to adopt green measures within the three-year time frame.

Navarro showed Sun.Star Cebu, a report from Germanwatch ranking the Philippines second in the Climate Risk Index of 2014, with Haiti on the first place and Pakistan placing third.

“The unfolding human tragedy caused by super typhoon Haiyan will only be captured in future reports. The Global Climate Risk Index 2014 tells the story of a country (Philippines) constantly battered by climate-related catastrophes”, said Sonke Kreft, Team Leader for International Climate Policy at Germanwatch and co-author of the Climate Risk Index.

Special loans

To finance businesses that want to adopt green infrastructure and technologies in their operations, Capio said banks like the Bank of the Philippine Islands BanKO and Development Bank of the Philippines are already offering “green window financing” or special loans dedicated to environment-friendly structures.

The United Architects of the Philippines can also assist businesses in terms of advising what environment-friendly measures they can incorporate in their operations, she added.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 15, 2014.

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