December 6, 2023

Businesses are being advised to produce more sustainable products and services as key stakeholders across different sectors need to work closely together to minimize the impact on the environment of every consumer behavior and shape a circular economy.

Department of Trade and Industry’s Consumer Protection Group (CPG) Usec. Ruth Castelo said the department has been pushing for sustainable consumption and production for several years already.

“We want to turn challenges on plastic waste disposal into opportunities for businesses,” Castelo said in a webinar organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies. “Sustainable consumption and production is doing more and better with less, it is about decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation, it is also about increasing resource efficiency as well as promoting sustainable lives.”

She said sustainable consumption and production can contribute substantially to the transition toward a low carbon and green economy.

In line with producing sustainable products, Castelo underscored the importance of having changes as well in corporate practices and in different relationships with suppliers.

“New and more sustainable products can struggle to get scale and compete with established offerings. The need to engage suppliers also poses a new challenge as supply chains can be opaque and highly complex, making it difficult to assess and manage the impacts of a specific product,” she said.

Castelo said her group has written a letter to the largest online platforms in the country to reduce the plastics that they use in the delivery of packaging of their parcels.

“We have also sent reminders and memorandums also to retailers on food, fast food chains or even restaurants to always ask the consumer if they would want plastic spoons and forks. Otherwise, please don’t put them in the basket, let the consumer ask for it when you are in the process of packaging the goods that we purchase,” she added.

Castelo said online businesses must also promote more eco-friendly production and consumption by explicitly putting in their websites or social media accounts or press releases that they use alternative products and they at least attempt to reduce products that are not sustainable.

For consumers, Castelo said there are various ways to contribute to a more circular economy.

“We can minimize wastes and pollution, we can keep materials that are in use, we can support and promote buying green products but of course we will have to verify the product should be labeled as such. And before they are sold into the market, somebody or some entity would need to verify that these products are actually green before they are bought by consumers,” she said.

Castelo also encouraged planting to generate natural systems.

Meanwhile, Castelo said the department wants the 7Rs of sustainability focusing on minimizing wastes adopted in the country.

The 7Rs of sustainability include rethink, refuse, reduce, repurpose, reuse, recycle and rot.

“Consumers must take action on every one of the 7Rs and demand that government and business extend support to the 7Rs. Consumers can evaluate their consumption habits to minimize plastic wastes, refuse unnecessary plastic where possible and demand more sustainable alternatives from businesses and government. We can reduce the amount of plastic we purchase and dispose of or we can extend the lifetime of plastic products by reusing them such as electrical appliances or other products as well that we can extend the life cycle of,” she said.

 “We can work our way through all of them and we will be well on our way to saving the environment and living a zero waste life,” she added. – Press release