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Economic zone regulator signs on to Swiss-backed sustainability initiative

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has agreed to promote sustainability among locators by subscribing to a program promoted by the Swiss government and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that will make exporters more accountable for their environmental practices.

In a statement issued Nov. 4, PEZA said the collaboration involving GRI and the Swiss government, will help make all components of the global supply chain more conscious of the sustainability of their operations.

“We all have the responsibility to raise our levels of consciousness and action towards sustainability. We must upgrade global and local value chains to be sustainable in a way that usage of resources promotes and protects the present and future generations’ right for a clean environment,” PEZA Deputy Director General for Operations Vivian S. Santos was quoted as saying in an Oct. 28 forum.  

Thimon Fürst, deputy head of mission for the Swiss embassy in Manila, said an embrace of sustainability makes export enterprises accountable and transparent, which he said are important in creating trust all along the supply chain.

“Sustainability reporting is a vital step towards achieving smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth that balances long-term profitability. Investing in sustainability performance and reporting is good for business,” Mr. Fürst said.  

Mr. Fürst added that the collaboration of the Swiss Confederation State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, PEZA, and GRI creates an enabling environment for export enterprises and help them adapt sustainability reporting in all aspects of their business.

“It’s a chance to craft together sustainability reporting standards that befit individual sectors. It also serves as a model for other regulatory institutions to follow and achieve a high reputability right for optimal outcome,” Mr. Fürst said.  

Senen M. Perlada, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. executive vice-president, said involving exporters in the initiative would serve as a competitive advantage.

“This sector has to make adjustments not just to continue doing business but as a commitment to the global value chain and production network. We must focus on business continuity and being other-centered as we are all working together to ensure unhampered operations despite the challenges that may come such as in health and natural calamities,” Mr. Perlada said.  

PEZA and GRI will form a technical working group that will include locators to outline future sustainability reporting practices. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave