The Green Choice

“The Philippines is Asia’s paradise. We are blessed with abundant natural resources. Our mountains are covered with forests, our waters overflowing with marine life, and our lands are rich with minerals and stones. The Filipinos have been gifted generously by nature, and it is ours to take, but, with full responsibility.

We need to bring the Philippines into a sustainable future – to balance economic growth with environmental preservation. For years, our staunch environmental allies, most of whom are with the NGOs and the private sector, have been rallying for this, and, over the last decade, we have embraced our own agenda for sustainable development. We pledged to harmoniously integrate a sound and viable economy with responsible governance, social cohesion, and ecological integrity to ensure that development in the Philippines becomes a life-sustaining process (Philippine Agenda 21, 2006).

The complexity of today’s world opened the doors to a number of options towards prosperity. Technological advancement has revolutionized the way we do things. We live in a much easy and fast-phased society, in an arena where being on top is almost a requisite. Businesses, local governments, individuals – we all compete to be on top; but today, as our theme suggests, we commit to Green Productivity. We help the good guys finish first.

Business activity is among the major sources of significant impacts on our environment. From the extraction of raw materials to the generation and disposal of wastes, industries have contributed a great deal to the degradation of our environment. In fact, industries are the major sources of toxic pollutants.  This is the scenario that we need to address.

On a positive note, however, these industries have begun to be more environmentally-proactive. With the introduction of the ISO 14000 series, or the Environmental Management System (EMS), more and more businesses have come to embrace pollution prevention and cleaner production practices. Even the government has begun to join the EMS bandwagon. The Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources is the first governmental environmental regulatory agency in Asia to be conferred the ISO 14001 certification (from the TUV Management Service of Germany). With EMB’s vision to lead by example, it has been conducting trainings and seminars to other organizations for them to do the same.

Green Productivity is adopting an organizational environmental management system — reducing waste at source, improving environmental performance, complying with environmental regulations, and adhering to checking and corrective actions for the environment. But, most importantly, it is the formula towards organizational competitive advantage, the ticket for more incentives for the use of innovative technology, the road towards improved market share and operational costs, and the key to an improved public image, community relations, and customer trust.

There are thousands of businesses offering the same service, but then again, today, we commit to make the green choice – we help the good guys finish first – or better yet, we become the good guys and finish first.

The concept of GP3 is very elementary. It is about making the right choice. Day in and out, we make decisions on what to say, what to wear, what to buy, what to do. We live to choose. Again, the green choice, even in our purchases. This means buying less polluting products from the less polluting companies – from the good guys who finish first.

Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000, is the main legislation that covers green procurement.  In March 2004, Executive Order No. 301 was issued, directing the establishment of a Green Procurement Program for all government departments, bureaus, offices, and agencies. This is to promote the culture of making environmentally-informed decisions in the government, especially in the purchase and use of different products.

The market is becoming bigger as products become aplenty, giving us more options than ever. Each of us is a consumer and therefore, the need to choose. Again, the green choice.  Let this be the day we commit to green purchasing – to buy a better future for our environment, for our country, for us.

This is the rationale behind Green Philippines. We need to ensure the future of generations to come.  This is a call to take part to conserve and protect our environment for our children, and the children of our children.  This is an advocacy that would save our families. This is a labor of love for love. “

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