Big business adapting to climate change

Big business adapting to climate change

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THE world’s largest companies, once wary of the costs and risks of dealing with climate change, now realize they may provide key business opportunities in the years ahead.

Over the past few years, big businesses began to realize that climate change was a business imperative that needed to be dealt with. The approach to environment issues has changed greatly, making it now a company’s core strategy, according to the United Nations’ climate agency that launched over the weekend a new online database showcasing successful business strategies in climate-change adaptation.

The database, which can be accessed through the UN’s Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) web site, features more than 100 examples from companies, such as Coca-Cola, Levi’s, Microsoft and Starbucks, which share the details of their business-friendly adaptation practices.

“We have a number of ongoing environmental programs both internally and in the communities,” Coca-Cola Export Corp. Media Relations Manager Wally Panganiban told the BusinessMirror. “Everything that we do is focused on making sure that we are part of the solution, not the problem.”

With the impacts of more frequent and intense storms, droughts and flooding, water scarcity, declining agricultural productivity and poor health, businesses worldwide see climate-change adaptation to offer competitive advantages.

The new Adaptation Private Sector Initiative database hosted on the web site of the UNFCCC contains details of how companies can generate profits, realize cost savings, or prevent losses through investment in climate-adaptation measures, such as developing climate-friendly goods and services and climate-proofing supply chains and infrastructure.

In the database, examples of best practices include efforts to make drinking water clean and safe in developing countries and efforts to improve the yield of coffee beans in regions that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

“The initiatives detailed in the database both show how the private sector can secure early advantages by adapting without waiting for absolute policy certainty at the international level, and how governments and the private sector can work together to respond to climate change now,” said Christiana Figueres, UNFCCC executive secretary. “Public-private partnerships and cooperation with a wide range of stakeholders is becoming increasingly important to ensure successful implementation.”

Figueres said that by showcasing private-sector adaptation success stories, it intends to assist both communities and businesses become more climate-resilient and to put forward the benefits and business sense of adaptation firmly on the agenda of the private sector.

For the world’s largest and most successful companies like Coca-Cola, sustainability, efficiency, and general environmentally friendly business models can be successfully integrated into the business strategies.

The company wants to make a positive difference in the world, said Panganiban. The company deals, among other concerns, with various environmental programs benefiting the consumers, workplace, community water resources, energy consumption.

This year Panganiban said, Coca-Cola celebrates its 100th year in the Philippines with more programs and projects benefiting the communities and the environment as the company’s way of “giving back to the Filipinos who have accepted Coca-Cola and have made it a part of their lives for the past 100 years.”

Coca-Cola has been in the Philippines since the beginning of the 20th century and has been locally produced since 1912. The Philippines was the first non-US national to receive a Coca-Cola bottling and distribution franchise.

On energy efficiency, the company’s system owns more than 9 million coolers and vending machines globally. In the Philippines, the new coolers are equipped with energy-saving technology that reduces energy consumption by up to 35 percent compared to its existing coolers.

The company has been piloting the use of biomass fuel in their operations in Meycauayan in Bulacan, Calasiao in Pangasinan and in their Ilocos plants.

In its packaging, Coca-Cola’s global vision is zero waste. The company designs recyclable packaging and develop innovative recycling solutions for its business and communities.

Last year it supported the Solid Waste Management of the Philippines (SWAPP) that strengthens waste segregation and management efforts in the country.

On the water management, Coca-Cola aims to “safely return to communities and nature an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our beverages and their production.”

Since 2005 the company has been involved in more than 320 community water partnerships in 86 countries to support locally relevant initiatives, such as watershed protection; expanding community drinking water and sanitation access; water for productive use such as agricultural water efficiency; and education and awareness programs.

In Photo: It’s being more than just a drink; it’s about uplifting refreshment, fun and happiness. –Imelda V. Abaño


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