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Alliance calls on PH businesses to ‘veer away’ from greenwashing

Originally published on Manila Bulletin

The Net Zero Carbon Alliance (NZCA), which is a pioneering collaboration of Philippine corporates and organizations that are genuine stewards for the environment and the planet, is calling on businesses to pursue veritable net zero goals and for them to veer away from ‘greenwashing’ duplicity.

According to the alliance, while many firms around the world have already advanced commitments to achieve net zero emissions, “a closer look has yet to be done on how Philippine businesses can take concrete actions and veer away from potential greenwash.”

As culled from report issued in June this year, it was noted that roughly half of the 2,000 largest publicly listed companies in the world “have committed to a net-zero strategy.”

Nevertheless, the hideous truth was also revealed in that same report that “many of these companies either do not count emissions produced by their supply chains, or depend on unreliable strategies to offset their carbon production.”

Greenwashing refers to the practice of entities or corporations on creating feigned representation or the provision of misleading information that their products or businesses are environmentally sound – but in reality, the whole chain of their operations and supply chain are not really as ‘green’ or ‘clean’ as they claimed to be.

In the Philippines in general, many corporations are known to be using the word ‘sustainability’ in a very tricky and abusive way — that even initiatives that do not really count as sustainable are being labeled as such by many firms and organizations.

It is on that account then, the NZCA conveyed, that they will be working toward “accelerating the Philippines’ private sector net-zero journey.”

Allan V. Barcena, NZCA Executive Director and EDC Assistant Vice President and Head of Corporate Relations and Communications, stated that “climate action is a matter of urgency as we continue to experience the ever-increasing impacts of our warming planet around the world, most especially in the Philippines.”

Via the initiative of RE firm Energy Development Corporation (EDC) of the First Gen group, the alliance emphasized that it “aims to engage with corporations in the Philippines to achieve carbon neutrality as a transition to net zero by 2050.”

Barcena expounded that NZCA will “contribute practical measures toward decarbonization that Philippine businesses can take, starting with interventions such as renewable energy.”

In a conference convened by the alliance, which focused on the theme “Zeroing in on Net-Zero: From Corporate Pledges to Action,” the various speakers have touched on “the challenges and opportunities for Philippine corporations embarking on a net-zero journey, as well as the available solutions for hard-to-abate and carbon-intensive sectors.”

The ‘carbon neutrality framework’ which will be guiding the initiatives of NZCA has been designed by Dr. Rodel Lasco, executive director of the OML Center for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation.

Under that framework, it was indicated that the alliance “espouses carbon reduction and removal for Philippine businesses begins with the partner’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest.”

Then from that initial step, the group added that such shall be “followed by measuring its climate resilience and carbon footprint, coming up with its roadmap, implementing it, tracking, disclosing, and validating its progress over time.”

To aid partners in tracking their progress on the net zero pathway, the NZCA has established the ‘Zero Carbon Gateway’ that will then be useful in calculation of scopes 1 and 2 carbon emissions or the greenhouse gas emissions which are within the control of the company or organization; as well as its indirect emissions that could be coming from purchased energy.