Originally published on The Philippine Star
MANILA, Philippines — The Net Zero Carbon Alliance (NZCA), a consortium of Philippine enterprises, has further gained steam in its quest toward collective net-zero carbon in local business.
The NZCA marked its second anniversary this year with the addition of nine new partners in its network as the consortium continuously calls on local businesses to join the movement and work together in achieving carbon neutrality by 2050.
The new partners which have signed a pledge of commitment to carbon neutrality include the British Standards Institution, CEMEX Holdings Philippines, ECC International, EV Mobility Ventures, First Philippine Industrial Park, Holcim Philippines, Mondelez Philippines, Monde Nissin Corporation and People360 Consulting Group.
“Over the past year, we have received interest from numerous organizations and companies to be part of NZCA—a strong indication that many businesses are now aware of the need to step up their decarbonization programs,” said Jerome Cainglet, president and chief operating officer of First-Gen owned renewable energy leader Energy Development Corporation (EDC).
EDC established NZCA in 2021 as part of fulfilling its mission to forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.
“It is our response to the collective climate action that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC asked of everyone after they had confirmed that humans are unequivocally increasing greenhouse gas emissions to record levels,” Cainglet said.
In the brink of the pandemic, EDC pushed its initiative to form an alliance with the Philippine private sector in a collaborative effort to achieve carbon neutrality.
Starting in 2021 with six pioneer partners, the number of NZCA partners has grown significantly by 200% as of July 2023.
Its roster of partners include ARTHALAND, Converge ICT Solutions, Drink sustainability communications, Ecolab, First Balfour, Knowles Electronics, INAEC Aviation, Menarco Development Corporation, Silliman University, SGV & Co., and Unilever Philippines.
NZCA also enlisted Eco-Business and Ako Ang Bukas multi-sectoral environmental movement of the Green Convergence coalition as enabler partner.
“We now have this alliance whose partners are working together in developing sustainability and net zero programs, computing their carbon footprint, and recommending ways to lower and, ultimately, totally reduce it to zero,” Cainglet said.
“Becoming carbon neutral and going net zero are definitely not easy goals but our experts today will tell you that they are no longer not doable,” he added.
Moving forward, the NZCA continues to intensify its call for urgent climate action in the country’s business industry.
The NZCA said that while much of the global economy has committed to reaching net-zero emissions, a closer look has yet to be done on how Philippine businesses can take concrete actions.
“As always, 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,” NZCA executive director and EDC assistant vice president and head of corporate relations and communications Allan Barcena said.
“NZCA aims to contribute practical measures toward decarbonization that Philippine businesses can take, starting with interventions such as renewable energy,” he said.
EDC Vice Chairman and CEO Francis Giles Puno, along with other local and foreign professionals, share their knowledge and expertise in the field of climate and sustainability during the NZCA conference to help businesses explore opportunities in transitioning to net zero.
According to the NZCA, an analysis released in June found that almost half of the 2,000 largest publicly listed companies in the world have committed to a net-zero strategy.
However, the report also revealed 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.
NZCA is guided by a carbon neutrality framework that mainly espouses carbon reduction and removal for Philippine businesses begins with the partner’s commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest, followed by measuring its climate resilience and carbon footprint, coming up with its roadmap, implementing it, tracking, disclosing, and validating its progress over time.
The alliance has likewise developed a Zero Carbon Gateway to help partners track their progress, including computing their Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions.
During the annual NZCA conference last September, close to 200 delegates from 69 companies participated in plenary sessions with industry experts and representatives from NZCA member-companies on best practices in climate action, as well as existing and emerging solutions to accelerate the Philippines’ private sector net-zero journey.
These included carbon capture technology, green investments and financing, continuing government legislation and incentivization, and greening the supply value chain. The consortium also strengthened its call for vigilance against greenwashing and urged the private sector to increasingly implement measurement, reporting and verification in climate change mitigation efforts.
“Intent is not enough. Impact is what we are after. We’ve already seen the outcome first-hand in carbon markets and ESG frameworks, where investigation after investigation revealed the gap between intention and reality. Sound data must sit at the heart of all net-zero action,” said Laure Beaufils, British Ambassador to the Philippines and Palau in her opening keynote at the NZCA conference.
According to Beaufils, incentivizing the private sector to bring net carbon emissions from their activities as close to zero as possible is urgent.
“We will not deliver on our vision for a 1.5 degree world without the leadership and the commitments of all actors, and without partnerships and collaborations across them. And of course, the private sector is at the heart of that,” Beaufils said.
“We now have the technology. We know how to decarbonise all the different sectors of the economy—even in hard to abate sectors—the technological solutions are there. So that cannot hold us back,” she added.