Group urges use of green products to minimize climate risk
October 23, 2009

"The environment is related to our nation's economic development, and the use of ecological products will minimize the risk effects and disasters arising from climate change" says former Environment Secretary Elisea Gozun, as she urges the government, business and civil society groups to assess the effects of various products on the environment.

Gozun is chairperson of the Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. (PCEPSDI).

This is a non-stock, non-profit, non-government organization that seeks "to formulate, initiate, underŽtake, promote, sponsor, assist, support and/or finance projects, programs, and activities to cleanse, improve, rehabilitate and develop the environment in a clean, healthy, and sustainable state."

"There should be an ecofriendly approach to business and sustainable lifestyle change to minimize the destructive impact of climate change, as indicated by disastrous typhoons like Ondoy and Pepeng," asserted Gozun.

To mitigate climate change and its risks, technical and policy experts have called for energy efficiency and the reduction of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas emissions from household, farms, industries, and communities, among others.

PCEPSDI implements the National Ecolabelling Programme-Green Choice Philippines (NELP-GCP), and has awarded the Green Choice Seal of Approval to 11 products found to be environmentally preferable, based on ISO 14024.

The Green Choice Seal is the only third-party and multiple-criteria based seal of approval on enviŽronmental claims that is being espoused by the government.

Noting that many products in the local market have not yet been environmentally assessed, PCEPSDI promotes ecolabelling or environmental labeling, an international system of identifying products and services that reduce environmental impact.

It has already developed 32 sets of product criteria. They include criteria for consumer items like detergents, liquid disinfectants, bath soaps, hair shampoos, crayons and liquid dishwashing products, tissue paper and paper envelopes, writing instruments, and household batteries.

Criteria were also developed for the construction materials like paints, cements, organic infill materials, fire extinguishers, fluorescent lamps, and electronic ballasts.

Already available are the criteria for materials used in office and industries like engine oils, printing and writing paper products, paper boards, inkjet and toner cartridges, desktop and laptop computers, multi-function printing devices, printers, photocopiers, and facsimile machines.

"We are encouraging all manufacturers and service providers that are going into 'green business' to apply for the Green Choice Seal to communicate to consumers that their product is truly environmentally-preferable over other products," says June Alvarez, PCEPSDI executive director.

"Environmentally compliant companies and products will also have an edge over their competiŽtors as they will be given priority in all procurement activities by government based on Executive Order 301 on green procurement," Alvarez adds.

To organize advocates and clarify concepts, PCEPSDI will convene the GP3 Conference 2009 on November 12-13 at the SMX Convention Center, Mall of Asia. This two-day event will highlight the global trends on environment and green consumerism and look at local initiatives in green production. The theme is "Green Consumerism: A Way Forward to Cushion the Impact of Climate Change."

GP3 speakers will present the global outlook in the production and use of environmentally preferable products, and discuss ISO 14000 product oriented series standards, such as Environmental Labelling, Life Cycle Analysis and Design for Environment for production aspects, and approaches and strategies in establishing green procurement programs. Four (4) international experts will arrive in the country to speak on these topics. Around 300 participants are expected to come from concerned stakeholders such as government organizations, academic and research institutions, policy makers, producers, and non-government organizations. Top government officers from the Departments of Budget and Management, Finance, Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources, Science and Technology, Energy, Tourism, Interior and Local Government, and National Economic and Development Authority, National Solid Waste Management Commission, House of Representatives, and selected local government units will also join.

Also joining are pollution control officers and procurement officers from selected industries such as energy, electronics, cosmetics, construction, and food; and private and government academic and research institutions. Ecollabeling is gathering momentum among business groups. Last October 15, some 70 representatives of various sectors affirmed support for green production, and formed the Green Purchasing Alliance Movement GPAM. An Executive Briefing for CEOs and top-rank Officers of various companies was also held last October 1 to solicit support for Green Business.

The GPAM was formed in by government, business and civil society groups. They included business enterprises like Ayala Land Inc, Nestle Philippines, Jollibee Foods Corp, San Miguel Packaging Corp, Toyota Corp, Ricoh Philippines, SN Aboitiz, Honda Cars, CDO Foods, Globe Telecom, Mariwasa, Falcon Waterfree Philippines, etc.