State of PH economy and the Climate Crisis, how can 3BL help? – FSSI holds learning session

Quezon City, May 23, 2022 – the Foundation for a Sustainable Society Inc., (FSSI) held a learning session on “Investing in a Sustainable Future: Leveraging the Triple Bottom Line Towards Inclusive, Sustainable Development.”

The session focused on the current state of the Philippine economy and findings and recommendations from the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). FSSI’s members and partners participated in the learning session, sharing their insights and proposing strategies to address key challenges and promote a more equitable and resilient future.

Dr. Alvin P. Ang, Chairperson of the Department of Economics at the Ateneo de Manila University, provided an update on the Philippine economy. Despite being the second fastest-growing economy in the Asia Pacific region, the concentration of economic growth in specific regions has contributed to significant economic inequality. Most job opportunities are found in sectors with low productivity, resulting in stagnant wages and a brain drain as skilled workers seek higher-paying opportunities abroad.

The learning session also highlighted the need to address issues such as low savings rates, inflation, and the trade deficit. The Philippines has the lowest savings rate in Asia, and the increasing costs of food, oil, personal care products, education, recreation, and health have affected people’s purchasing power. With the largest trade deficit in Asia, it is crucial for our country to prioritize sustainable economic policies and focus on improving productivity and reducing dependence on imports.

“In conclusion, we will continue to experience continuous economic growth. However, this growth exacerbates inequality. We need to prioritize agriculture, nutrition, and education,” Dr. Ang stated.

Climate change and its impact on the Philippines were also emphasized during the learning session. Dr. Rodel Lasco, Executive Director of the Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management Foundation, Inc., (OML Center), underscored the country’s vulnerability to extreme weather events due to its geographical location. The recent report of the IPCC provided clear evidence that human activities are altering weather patterns and causing climate events worldwide, posing significant threats to human well-being and the health of the planet.

Dr. Lasco stressed the importance of immediate action to limit global warming and avoid severe consequences. Without adaptation measures and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures will continue to rise, resulting in more challenging conditions and hindering progress. The learning session emphasized the urgent need for collaboration among nations to address climate change and ensure a sustainable and livable future for all. Dr. Lasco also shared that the OML Center is currently drafting a version of the IPCC report for the Philippine context.

Dr. Divina C. Quemi, Chief Executive Officer of the Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives (NSCC),  shared a perspective from the social enterprise (SEs) sector and the role of SEs in driving initiatives for sustainable development.

As a social enterprise, NSCC supports the agricultural sector by offering assistance to cooperative agricultural projects, including financing and marketing support. They also provide training, accessible financing, and farm inputs to empower farmers. NSCC aims to enhance agricultural productivity, ensure economic stability within communities, and promote food security. The Nueva Segovia Consortium of Cooperatives Mutual Benefit Association, Inc. (NSCC-MBAI) program has already garnered support from 52,157 individuals who advocate for employment generation, increased economic activities, and financial inclusivity.

Recognizing the threat of climate change, NSCC has embraced a circular economy approach. The organization has established facilities to convert waste materials from hotels and farms into organic fertilizer using their organic waste converter. Permaculture techniques have been employed for site development programs, and bamboo tree planting projects are actively promoted among primary cooperatives. NSCC also prioritizes proper waste management and utilizes water sources for irrigation purposes.

By empowering farmers, enhancing productivity, and promoting environmental stewardship, NSCC sets an example for achieving a more prosperous and resilient agricultural sector.

You may find highlights of the learning session here.

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