For a developing country like the Philippines, the pursuit of sustainable development is considered a colossal challenge mainly because of economic reasons. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as Planet B.
“’Going green’ is at its highest level of awareness, but it still carries the baggage that it is the more expensive option. That should not be the case,” Hans “Chico” Sy Jr., head of SM Engineering, Design and Development Corp. said in his speech during the “United for Climate Sustainability Forum PH” held in Pasay City on Monday.
Sy noted that global temperatures will go up by 2.8 degrees Celsius by 2050 if nothing is done to significantly cut greenhouse emissions. If this happens, he said everyone would suffer unbearable losses.
“Doing nothing is the bigger cost. And the only way we will succeed in bringing down that ‘cost’ is if we work together.”
Although Manila has made bold climate commitments, Sy said the government cannot do it alone. He said there is an opportunity for an alliance with the private sector that could accelerate action in both mitigation and adaptation and help hasten the transition to a green economy.
“We owe it to our children, the millions of Filipinos yet to be born, to succeed in this fight for the climate,” Sy said.
He said the key to decarbonization is the systemic shift in energy use and sourcing.
As its contribution to the country’s net-zero goal, Sy said the SM Group sees to it that its properties are energy efficient. He said SM Aura and Conrad Hotel, which are considered pioneers, are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.
Sy said SM Group has always been keen on energy saving efforts even before LEED was an idea given its impact on business. “Business and environment go hand in hand because energy use means cost.”
He also said the country must accelerate the shift to renewable energy (RE) sources. SM Group, Sy noted, is committed to deliver on its goal to increase its RE portfolio to more than 50 percent. It recently announced a long-term deal with Aboitiz Power Corp. for renewable energy.
AboitizPower will supply RE to SM Prime properties, including malls, leisure homes, offuces, hotels, and other establishments under the Retail Competition and Open Access scheme by yearend.
Aside from its energy conservation efforts and use of RE, he said the SM Group has planted trees nationwide. The conglomerate is rehabilitating mangroves in Hamilo Cove and planting more trees in the areas of the country.
“We signed on to support the Task Force for Climate Related Financial Disclosures to give us guidance on how to manage our climate-related risks, and to look at the opportunities associated with the mitigation and adaptation activities required to address climate impacts. One of these opportunities is decarbonization and create science-based targets for decarbonization, and we are working with the World Wildlife Fund.”