CDP in the Philippines: Cities and corporates
TPB was proud to be a supporting partner at the inaugural CDP workshop in the Philippines on 7 May 2018.
Measuring environmental impact to act on climate change is urgent in the Philippines. According to the Global Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2018, the Philippines ranks as the nation fifth most at risk from extreme weather events – the report’s authors note that countries at risk ‘should consider the CRI as a warning sign that they are at risk of either frequent events or rare, but extraordinary catastrophes.’ Both Philippine businesses and cities have a role to play in building a resilient nation, and for workshop delegates this clearly starts with climate action.
We were struck by the many inspiring conversations highlighting the common challenges and opportunities for cities and corporates, full of practical discussions on how good reporting can accelerate action in sustainability. Here we share our top three thoughts that dominated the conversation on panels and at roundtables throughout the day.
The best data is meaningful data
Participants expressed concern over the quality of environmental reporting data in Asia. Echoing delegates from the 2017 CDP workshop in Hong Kong, it was recognized that data needs to translate to evidence-based action to keep data relevant and meaningful. Science-based targets are one way to raise the level of ESG performance, especially for companies.
‘We need good quality data for both our company’s operations and our suppliers because ultimately, we need to manage the risks within the entire value chain. Our reputation, efficiency and competitive advantage all depend on this,’ commented Vincent de Paz of ADEC Innovations.
TPB’s Carissa Pobre further noted, ‘It’s when good quality data is used to drive business strategy that we see actions scaling up in both cities and businesses.’
Investors look for action and engagement
Investor interest in sustainability data is a driver well documented in the investor relations press. It should be remembered that this interest is common to cities as well as companies. As one city representative shared, interest from the financing community can bring positive benefits to the bottom line that aren’t always planned.
‘If you report your environmental disclosures on an online platform such as CDP, it opens up opportunities for international funding organisations so that they can easily match you to the right funding. In Santa Rosa … we found that CDP opens up a greater opportunity for cities to further advance the Paris Agreement commitment and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),’ commented Maria Amor Salandanan, City Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO) of Santa Rosa, Laguna, Philippines.
Big actions encourage everyone to act
One of the challenges for the Philippines that was recognized by delegates, is that while there is a huge opportunity to fund sustainable projects, most are too small to attract funding. ‘How do we make ESG disclosure part of the DNA of small businesses, when the 260 publicly listed companies are the choir?’ asked BDO Capital’s Eduardo Francisco, neatly summarizing the challenge.
The Philippines SEC register has just 260 listed companies, yet around 900,000 businesses in total, and 1.5 million businesses under Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). But as remarked by CDP’s Candice Low, if large companies make the change we need, it can create ‘a trickle effect’ that shows a massive opportunity to also mobilise the power of SMEs. Leveraging investor authority, CDP has long been helping companies strengthen how they not just measure but act on environmental impacts and drive opportunities.
This first CDP workshop in the Philippines was full of inspiring conversations highlighting the common challenges and opportunities for both cities and corporates. The practical discussions on how good reporting can accelerate progress in sustainability were insightful and helped equipped delegates to drive the conversation and essential action forward.
The Purpose Business has long worked with CDP in Asia and helps clients with sustainability reporting and disclosure.
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