Net-zero communicators urged: make connections, build understanding

In a world where we need to communicate better to convert attention to intention and then to action, understanding why the whole world needs to have net zero carbon emissions to battle the climate crisis is crucial for effective communication and action against the climate crisis.

This realization led to the Philippines’ first-ever Net Zero 101 Media Training and Corporate Communications practitioners, hosted by the Net Zero Carbon Alliance (NZCA).

Held last April 16 at the company’s corporate headquarters in Ortigas Center, it drew nearly 80 journalists, corporate communicators, government agency representatives, and industry thought leaders.

Established by First Gen’s renewable energy arm, Energy Development Corporation (EDC), NZCA is an equally pioneering private sector consortium advancing progress  on carbon neutrality toward net-zero emissions by 2050. This aligns with the climate action goals of COP28 to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees.

The Net Zero 101 Media Training was implemented in partnership with leading sustainability and ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) media and  intelligence online platform Eco-Business, and the British Embassy Manila as knowledge partner.

“In today’s world where the climate is constantly changing, we need communicators and journalists to report on the plight of the most vulnerable and to report on the opportunities for those who choose to proactively lower their emissions,” said Lloyd Cameron, Economic and Climate Counsellor of the British Embassy Manila, in his opening remarks.

“[This is] because people are never going to demand action unless they care, and people are never going to care unless they understand. That is your role—to make that connection, to build that understanding. We need accurate and impactful media coverage about these issues and why they matter to everyone,” he addressed the participants.

Atty. Allan V. Barcena, EDC Assistant Vice President, Head of Corporate Support Functions, and NZCA Executive Director, emphasized the role of the private sector in contributing to the global net zero objectives despite the absence of a formal government commitment at present. “NZCA as a private sector alliance is the start. We need to commit and align with the global pledge to reach net zero by 2050; we measure and we take action. It is a cycle that we need to be involved in,” he explained.

Participants learned about and discussed numerous topics related to more effective net zero media reporting, such as the difference between carbon neutrality and net zero,the crucial role of finance in driving the transition to a net zero economy, accountability among enterprises and policymakers, and the complex nature of international climate negotiations.

Best practices and case studies on net-zero initiatives and climate action were also shared in panel discussions with corporate sustainability experts from NZCA member-companies such as Unilever, Holcim, Mondelez, Cemex, Arthaland Corporation and Drink Sustainability Communications.

For the Net Zero 101 Media Training’s closing remarks, Secretary Robert E.A. Borje of the Climate Change Commission imparted in a message: “I am filled with a sense of optimism and determination as the discussions we have had today laid the path forward in our collective journey toward a climate resilient, sustainable and net-zero future.”

“I am particularly delighted with the commitment of the NZCA to championing private sector action on net zero. Your leadership and dedication are essential in overcoming the challenges ahead and accelerating progress toward our shared agenda. It is only through continued collaboration, innovation and determination that we will overcome the climate crisis,” he added.

Convened in 2021, NZCA counts 22 partner-members in various industries and enterprises such as manufacturing, real estate, hospitality, information technology, mobility, finance and the academe as of March 2024, as well as five partner-enabler organizations.

For more information, visit www.netzerocarbonalliance.ph