Encouraging industries to innovate for eco-friendly products, packaging

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    Businesses should be persuaded to innovate and produce more eco-friendly products and packaging to encourage sustainable consumption among consumers and help achieve the Philippines’ zero waste goals, a solon said.

    “How do we push producers to innovate? That’s one of the challenges we have,” said Senator Pia S. Cayetano, chair of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Innovation, and Futures Thinking, at the panel’s public hearing on January 22.

    While stressing the importance of influencing consumer behavior to encourage waste reduction, Cayetano said industry manufacturers carry the bigger responsibility of shifting towards more sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives for their products.

    In addition, she stressed the importance of codifying and harmonizing best practices in sustainable consumption and production (SCP), following the lead of local communities that are already implementing sound policies on sustainability.

    “We have isolated provisions on the efficient use of resources per area of life; but as regulators and lawmakers, we are having difficulty following up and assessing those provisions. It’s difficult to look at the overall picture because [our plans] are not yet harmonized. Hopefully, the cities and communities can help us put it all together,” the senator said.

    “I also hope that our committee can make it easy to codify these best practices towards SCP, which other communities can follow and prioritize,” she added.

    She also expressed support for the National Economic and Development Authority’s (NEDA) intention to come up with a budget codification for certain priority SDGs in the next six months.

    Last December, NEDA said the inter-agency Development Budget Coordination Committee (DBCC) has approved the creation of a sub-committee on SDGs. The sub-committee will monitor progress on the SDGs in the Philippines, review SDG-related programs and policies, and submit recommendations to the cabinet level of the DBCC.

    NEDA said the creation of the Sub-Committee on SDGs under the DBCC was “a strong move, strengthening the linkage of development priorities to resource allocation.”

    “The budgetary process presents a good mechanism to support integration of the SDGs.

    Strong policy integration and alignment of resource allocation with the country priorities on the SDGs will help create an enabling environment for sustainable development,”

    Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said.

    At the Senate hearing, the concept of zero waste management was also among the issues in the panel’s discussion on SCP.

    Representatives from environmental groups particularly stressed that achieving zero waste requires community responsibility-through reducing, reusing, recycling, and composting wastes-as well as industrial responsibility through redesigning and shifting to alternative, sustainable products.

    Cauayan, Isabela Mayor Bernard Dy also shared the city’s best practices on localizing SDGs through various sustainable initiatives like the Cauayan City Food Bank and the conceptualization of e-vehicles in their community, among others.

    Market research and analysis service provider Euromonitor International confirms in its “Top 10 Global Consumer Trends 2020” that more and more consumers are looking for alternative eco-friendly products as environmental awareness increases. Citing its lifestyles survey conducted in 2019, Euromonitor said that “60% of consumers are worried about climate change and 54% think they can make a positive contribution in the world with their purchases,” and urged companies to be mindful of the trend for a “waste-free future for the safety of the planet and human health.”

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