MSMEs advised to go green as sustainability movement rises
Senior government officials are encouraging micro, small, and medium enterprises to adopt green processes as sustainable consumption and production increasingly becomes the global norm.
Department of Trade and Industry-Consumer Protection Asec. Ann Claire Cabochan said it is important for companies to implement sustainability standards in their manufacturing processes even though these standards are voluntary.
“There are a lot of sustainability standards that have been adopted as Philippine national standards, but the standards are voluntary, and it is important that the private sector, especially the business sector with various industries and manufacturing concerns, adopt those standards as part of their processes,” she said.
As an example, Cabochan said the application of the ISO 9001 management standard – the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system – is voluntary but it can “level up” an enterprise’s performance.
“If you adopt such a standard you become more efficient, more predictable about processes and you are able to save costs,” Cabochan said.
National Economic and Development Authority- Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Staff Director Nieva Natural said the government is doing all it can to encourage people to shift to sustainable products even though organic or green goods are more expensive.
One way the government is seeking to address this issue is by exploring the idea of extended producer responsibility (EPR), Natural added.
EPR is defined as an environmental protection strategy that makes the manufacturer responsible for the entire life cycle of the product, especially for its return, recycling and final disposal.
Natural noted that there have been initiatives or trials to sell shampoos or cooking oil in refillable bottles as part of the collaboration between government and private sector to extend producer responsibility and lower the cost of going green.
Cabochon said if a business or an activity is included in the Investments Priorities Plan, it can avail of government incentives like income tax holidays or tax-free importation of capital equipment and spare parts.
Department of Science and Technology-Industrial Technology Development Institute Director Annabelle Briones said they plan to establish a laboratory at the DOST to provide biodegradability and composting testing for alternative plastics.
She added the DOST also has the OneLab network of laboratories, but it still needs to send samples abroad for tests on biodegradability.
Cabochan suggested that while awaiting the DOST laboratory, manufacturers can inquire with the DTI’s Philippine Accreditation Bureau (PAB) about product testing, as PAB is a member of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation/Asia Pacific Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation.
Cabochan said MSMEs already need to embrace the circular economy, one of the pillars espoused by DTI under its sustainability and resilience agenda.
She expressed confidence that even if businesses need to invest in green processes, they will recoup this investment and thrive because demand is expected to increase.
MSMEs that are not compliant won’t be able to sell to these overseas markets, she said. – Press release