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Firms urged to mitigate environmental risks

Published on 17 February 2021 by Eireene Jairee Gomez Philippines

Environmental experts have called on businesses to adopt more comprehensive risk-management plans and check environmental risks in their place of business to avoid disasters in the future.

During the Sustainable Development Finance (SDF) webinar on Natural Disaster Resilience organized by the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), Renato Solidum Jr., Science undersecretary and officer in charge of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, tackled the environmental risks businesses in the country face while Ed Tongson of the World Wide Fund discussed how these risks were changing, and how enterprises could adapt to calamities and use available technologies.

According to them, doing business in the Philippines poses inherent and natural risks, as the country sits in the Pacific Ring of Fire and tied to the so-called Typhoon Belt.

The country averages 20 earthquakes daily, and other environmental threats, like typhoons, have increased in frequency and intensity because of climate change, flooding and volcanic eruptions, according to Phivolcs.

Solidum and Tongson recommended tools to identify and measure risk exposures, one of which is the Hazard Hunter application, which can help identify and measure the effects of possible natural disasters.

Tongson also advised businesses to have their buildings assessed and explore increasing the protection of financing their risks.

“Financing your risk is a partnership between you, your bank and your insurance company.
Our advice is for insurance to cover replacement costs for your peace of mind,” he said.

Roland Gerard Veloso Jr., BPI Corporate Credit Products Group head, said businesses should also adapt to these risks to become more resilient.

“We encourage businesses to take the critical steps needed to create a more resilient business, to be able to adapt to the times and pivot when the situation calls for it. This is the key to sustainability,” Veloso said.

“Climate resilience and preparedness are important for most industries as these will help them realize the interventions they need to manage risks,” he added.

BPI is the first bank in the Philippines to have engaged in climate and environmental risk preparedness initiatives. It has a dedicated SDF team aimed at helping clients protect their businesses, and making them resilient and sustainable.

The Ayala-lend lender’s SDF portfolio has reportedly financed 355 projects, with P190.9 billion in cumulative availed loans as of December. Of these projects, 158 are on energy efficiency, 89 are on renewables and 108 are on climate resilience.

Source: The Manila Times 13 February 2021