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GCNP Planet Pillar and DENR urge MSMEs to embrace EPR Act for a greener future

Global Compact Network Philippines (GCNP) Planet Pillar, in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), is calling on Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to proactively participate in the implementation of the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) Act. This initiative aims to drive broader stakeholder engagement in practicing circularity and sustainability.

The EPR Act marks a significant step towards enabling a circular economy. It requires producers to be accountable for their products’ entire lifecycle, especially waste reduction and recycling. This legislation aligns with the Philippines’ commitment to climate change mitigation and sustainable development.

At a recent webinar titled “LOOPFORWARD: Implementing the EPR Law,” co-hosted by GCNP Planet Pillar and DENR, key aspects of the EPR Act were discussed, focusing on their relevance and practicality for MSMEs. The webinar also highlighted concrete ways to minimize waste and create revenue streams while contributing to environmental protection and climate action.

MSMEs are encouraged to support the law by registering their businesses, even on a voluntary basis. As of September 2023, 709 organizations have submitted and had their EPR programs approved, of which 105 are from obliged enterprises, 248 are from MSMEs, 49 from collectives, and 307 producer responsibility organizations.

“By addressing issues related to responsible consumption and production, pollution prevention, waste reduction, innovation, and the overall promotion of sustainable practices across various sectors, EPR is a valuable tool in the global effort to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create a more sustainable and equitable world,” said Esperanza Sajul, Assistant Director at the Environmental Management Bureau.

After her presentation on EPR, she was joined in a panel discussion by Rondell Torres, Sustainability Lead of Unilever Philippines, Crispian Lao, Vice Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Commission under the Office of the President and Private Sector Representative for the Recycling Industry Sector, and Engr. Richard Harvey Venturina, Health, Safety and Environment Supervisor of JBC Food Corporation. The panelists discussed the implementation strategies of the EPR including the support needed for its successful implementation.

Yoly Crisanto, Co-Chair of Planet Pillar and Globe Group’s Chief Sustainability and Corporate Communications Officer, emphasized the crucial role of multi-sectoral collaboration in ensuring the EPR Act’s success.

“Reducing plastic waste and promoting a more circular economy isn’t a task limited to just some industries or regulatory bodies. The EPR can only be properly implemented through a concerted effort of all stakeholders, starting from waste segregation by households and communities, with the participation of MSMEs and large corporations, until recycling by accredited waste management partners. We encourage everyone to do their part in the implementation of the EPR Act,” she said.

Meanwhile, Melissa Vergel de Dios, Planet Pillar Lead and Chief Sustainability Officer at PLDT, Inc. added “As the Philippines continues to navigate through challenges of plastic waste and marine pollution as well as the worsening impacts of climate change, we look towards the implementation of the EPR law to guide and harmonize our efforts toward sustainable solutions.”

“And while this law puts emphasis on the responsibility of producers and big corporations, at the end of the day, we all share the same resources, and no one is spared from the consequences of inaction and mismanagement of our waste,” she added.

According to a 2021 World Bank study, the Philippines generates 61,000 metric tons of waste daily. Only 33% of these go to landfills and garbage dumps, while 35% are leaked into the open environment and oceans. The same study showed that the economy loses 70% of the material value of plastics equivalent to US$790 to 890 million per year.

GCNP Planet Pillar aims to help MSMEs and grassroots communities in greening their operations and in maximizing the practicality of adopting circularity solutions. It advocates the efficient use of the planet’s resources by mobilizing its network of private sector partners to conduct various learning sessions for MSMEs and the general public on circularity and environmental stewardship.

To learn more about Planet Pillar and the activities of Global Compact Network Philippines, kindly follow the social media pages below: