Sustainability: DTI-CITEM pushes for sustainable shift among PH MSMEs thru Sustainability Solutions Exchange (SSX)

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — To address the rising global demand for sustainable goods and services, the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, the export promotion arm of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), is set to launch the Sustainability Solutions Exchange (SSX) on March 23 to 25. SSX will promote the shift towards sustainable consumption and production among local brands and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to make Philippine industries more sustainable and environment-friendly, and contribute to the country’s commitment on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs).

“Our goal is to shift Philippine businesses to practice sustainability in their supply chain and mitigate their impact to the environment. We are confident in this transition considering the growing demand of conscious local and international consumers which presents great opportunities for sustainable Philippine businesses to thrive in,” said Executive Director Pauline Suaco-Juan.

“Through this event, we aspire to champion brands that are socially conscious, encourage MSMEs to adopt more holistic and eco-friendlier approaches in doing business, and contribute towards the sustainable shift across industries as we promote the best of Philippine products and services globally,” Suaco-Juan added.


The 2021 Global Sustainability Study by global strategy and pricing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners reported that more than one-third (34%) of the population is willing to pay more for sustainable products or services, and those willing to pay more would accept an average premium of 25 percent. Younger generations lead the way as higher shares of Generation Z (39%) and Millennials (42%) are willing to pay for sustainability.

This shift towards sustainability is also observed in the Philippines, wherein 9 out of 10 consumers are willing to pay more for products that are created by companies and brands with environmental, social, and governance (ESG) policies, based on a survey by Bain & Company. In particular, 8 out of 10 of them are actually willing to pay up to 10% more premium and some would attribute this actually to the heightened sense of social responsibility or just the general bayanihan sense that has been reinvigorated during this pandemic.

According to a 2019 study by Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives, Filipinos consume a yearly average of 20kg of plastics, from which 15.43kg/cap/year becomes waste. Some of the major challenges include inadequacy of waste facilities due to constraints in funding and manpower, and the poorly implemented regulations for the recyclables market. Based on the 2020 PH Brand Audit Report, consumer good companies also still rely on the delivery of products in throwaway sachet packaging. To address this issue, international environmental organization World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) citing Ocean Conservancy 2020 said that addressing plastic pollution requires both upstream (production/pre-consumption) and downstream measures (consumption and post consumption).

Along the three-day event, CITEM will also launch the, the first Philippine government-led website of its kind, which will provide access to a directory of sustainability suppliers and other relevant data on the sustainability industry. The website will serve as an online community platform that promotes products, services, exchange of ideas and conversations on sustainable consumption and production. It will feature a diverse range of stories about sustainable technologies, interventions and practices that seeks to engage businesses and consumers to start their journey towards sustainability.

To be held on Hopin, a digital events platform, the three-day trade show will showcase solution providers and local MSMEs in the expo; and key stakeholders and experts during the conference. The inaugural edition of the event will provide access to information, people, and organizations that will guide businesses in the food and lifestyle sectors. It will converge advocates, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders in one interactive platform, redefining trade events in the digital space.

Under Hopin, participants will be able to access the show components through the website’s event tabs. It has a digital lobby called Reception with the program schedule and lineup of speakers; a Sessions tab that has the Business Concierge for buyers to schedule meetings with suppliers; an Expo where participants can discover solution providers and MSMEs from the food and lifestyle sectors; the Stage where the main conference, keynote presentations, and panel discussions are held; a Networking tab with an online meet-and-greet feature for participants to chat with other advocates; and a Replay area to rewatch the sessions and discussions on demand until April 25th.

Big names, int’l orgs advocating sustainability converge on SSX

Hosted by UNEP Goodwill Ambassador and Founder of Communities Organized for Resource Allocation (CORA) Antoinette Taus, the event will be opened with a discussion on the global community’s progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a talk on “Keeping Up with the Global Sustainability Agenda” by Dr. Selva Ramachandran, Resident Representative (UNDP) in the Philippines. This will be followed by a presentation of the Philippines’ initiatives and current standing in sustainability in the “State of Sustainability in the Philippines” by Deputy Speaker and Antique District Representative Loren Legarda.

The conference will underscore talks and panel discussions on sustainability, specifically within the food and lifestyle sectors. On the first day, bearing the theme Solutions Today: Goals & Strategies, experts will talk about sustainability in the Philippines, responsible consumption and production, and how Philippine businesses can contribute to the sustainability agenda featuring a series of panel discussions, namely “How the Philippines is Addressing Sustainability and What it Means for Businesses,” “Road to Circular Food: Opportunities & Challenges,” “Rethink Design for Responsible Consumption & Production,” “The Role of Business in Shifting to a Circular Economy,” and “Green and Circular Economy for the Future of Manufacturing and International Trade in the Food and Lifestyle Industry Sectors.”

Notable speakers present on the first day includes Jerome Ilagan, Chief, Policy Research and Development Division (PRDD), Climate Change Commission; Nieva T. Natural, Director, National Economic Development Authority-Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment Staff (NEDA-ANRES); Kelly Bird, Country Director, Asian Development Bank – Philippine Country Office (ADB PhCO); Cherrie Atilano, Founding Farmer, President and CEO, AGREA Philippines; Melody Melo-Rijk, Project Manager, Sustainable Consumption and Production, World Wide Fund for Nature-Philippines (WWF-PH); Dave Albao, Executive Director, Philippine Reef and Rainforest Conservation Foundation Inc. (PRRCFI); and Teddy Monroy, Country Representative, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Country Office, Philippines.

On the second day, the conference will focus on the food sector, highlighting Food Systems for Tomorrow–experts will cover trends in the food sector as well as sustainable food production practices with the panel discussions on “Sustainability Trends for the Future of Food”; “Food Origins and Ecological Balance; Behind the Food We Eat”; and “Learn from Milan, Champion of Circular Food System.” Notable discussant includes Dr. AKP Mochtan, Secretary-General, Asian Productivity Organization; Dr. Lotis E. Mopera, Director, University of the Philippines Los Banos – Institute of Food Science and Technology; Pia Faustino, Director for Social Impact and Special Projects, Thinking Machine; Reynaldo “Datu Makadingding” Gil G. Lomarda, Founder, Greenminds Inc.; Ramon Uy, Jr., Founder, Fresh Start Organic; Eric Kawabata, Asia-Pacific General Manager, TerraCycle & Loop; Leilani Ramona Katimbang-Limpin, CEO, OCCP (Organic Certification Center of the Philippines) Inspection and Certification Services, Inc.; and Filippo Gavazzeni, Head of Secretariat, Milan Urban Food Policy Pact.

SSX will concentrate on the lifestyle industry on its last day, focusing on New Living & Consumption. Keynote and panel discussions on ethical businesses, responsible innovation, and products for the conscious consumers will be discussed. To be tackled in the third day are the following topics on “New Age of Goods and Products for Conscious Consumers”; “Doing Business in an Ethical World”; “Circular Material and Responsible Innovation”; and “Zero Emissions, Zero Waste, and Zero Barriers.” Sharing their insights on the panel discussions are Georg Platzer, Market Development Manager Ikano Philippines Inc. & Store Manager of IKEA Pasay City, IKEA Southeast Asia; Celia Elumba, Director, Philippine Textile Research Institute; Rhea Matute, Executive Director, Design Center of the Philippines (DCP);Arch. Christopher dela Cruz, CEO, Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC); Pete Delantar, President and COO, Nature’s Legacy; Ben Kneppers, CEO and Co-Founder, Bureo Inc.; Tanah Sullivan, Group Head of Sustainability, GoTo Group; and Angela Chen, Co-Founder, Eskwelabs, among others.

Solution providers, buyers, and participants can still register for the event at Join the conversation and make purposeful efforts to make Filipino brands sustainable. SSX can help you learn from the distinguished speakers and connect with other sustainability advocates.

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