BIG businesses have taken a united stand to mitigate the effects of climate change.
They signed on Friday the Manila Declaration, the private sector’s statement of solidarity and support to low emission development.
The declaration also calls for the implementation of concrete measures to mitigate the effects of climate change, such as the El Nino weather phenomenon on water resources.
Among the business groups joining were: the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Philippine Business for the Environment (PBE), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), Federation of Philippines Industries (FPI), and the Financial Executives of the Philippines
At the same time, executives of the country’s leading corporations also launched the Water Alliance, which seeks to address issues and create solutions to impending water problems in the country.
The Alliance aims to craft a water agenda that is aligned with the national agenda, and will be the business sector’s contribution to addressing water security concerns in the country.
It will also develop a roadmap with target and metrics, monitor progress, and evaluate its effectiveness.
According to PBSP, water scarcity is being experienced in many parts of the country, as the Philippines is withdrawing more than double the average world withdrawal of water per person per year.
Rafael Lopa, PBSP managing director, said there is a need to raise awareness on the country’s water supply situation to support demand growth.
“There is a need to collate data on the country’s future economic and population growth and align this with water supply and demand,” said Lopa.
PBSP, according to Lopa, is working with the private sector and the government to identify growth areas to come up with a concrete water program.
For his part, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. Chairman Edgar Chua, who is also the PBE chairman, said the business sector would also identify climate change risks and provide solutions.
This, he said, would make their operations, their value chain, and communities more carbon-efficient.
“One of the things that we can do is actually demand management and it is a cheaper way of doing it for additional water sources,” said Chua.
At the same time, he added, data gathering is also important “so that you can then understand supply and demand and, as they say, what you cannot measure you cannot manage.”
The Alliance is composed of Shell, Coca-Cola Philippines, Coca-Cola FEMSA, LafargeHolcim, Dow Chemical Pacific Ltd., HSBC, Meralco, Energy Development Corp., Aboitiz Group, Maynilad Water, Manila Water, Unilever, Mabuhay Vinyl, Pepsi Philippines, Pepsi Cola Products Philippines, Roxas Holdings, Nestle, Smart Communications and Splash.