Experts have proposed strategies to alleviate the severe consequences of climate change throughout the previous decade. Through the recently conducted “United for Climate: Sustainability Forum PH 2022” at the Conrad Manila, SM Investments Corporation and WWF Philippines teamed forces to inspire a more ambitious and coordinated climate response among the business sector.
The SM Group’s climate position acknowledges climate change as a critical worldwide problem and takes into account the Philippines’ particular challenges. The SM Group’s present and future climate action plans will be anchored by decarbonization, a significant facet of climate mitigation, and by a variety of activities to assist people and ecosystems in adapting to climate effects and enhancing their resilience.
In his keynote presentation, Hans Sy, Jr., President of SM Engineering Design and Development Corp., underscored the SM Group’s commitment to climate action and urged the corporate community to support the Philippine climate agenda through a collaborative collaboration.
Mr. Sy began his presentation with a very significant assertion: climate change is occurring right on our doorstep.
“When we discuss Climate Change, we frequently consider it as a global issue that does not impact our daily life. When rising temperatures are discussed, images of melting arctic sea ice and sweltering deserts throughout the globe come to mind. Yet, the effects of climate change are more real and more personal to you and me than ever before,” Mr. Sy added.
Following the global community’s talks at the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mr. Sy also expressed his observations (COP27).
“Two main points stuck out for me: the need of a concerted, expedited effort to decrease carbon emissions, and the need to assist poor nations most susceptible to climate change to prosper despite its devastation,” Mr. Sy added.
On the first problem, Mr. Sy stated that the first step towards the aim of limiting temperature rise to 1.5C is mitigation, with the systemic shift in energy consumption and sources being one of the primary drivers. He noted that SM has taken significant measures to align its resources along this route.
SM Aura Premier and Conrad Manila are both Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certified as exemplary energy-efficient complexes.
This is complemented by the deliberate transition to renewable energy sources.
SM Prime Holdings, Inc. reached its target of increasing its renewable energy portfolio to more than 50 percent in 2022. By the end of the year, its cooperation with Aboitiz Power for Cleanergy supply will assist power SM’s properties as part of the Retail Competition and Open Access initiative.
The rehabilitation of more than 10 hectares of mangroves in Hamilo Cove and Pampanga is also an excellent example of a nature-based approach to tackling climate resilience, community safety, and economic development.
Mr. Sy also emphasized the importance of climate resilience in relation to SM’s unwavering commitment to the communities in which it operates – from providing a platform for over 90,000 MSMEs partners within the SM ecosystem to installing eco-friendly systems such as rainwater catchments and submersible pumps for people living near their malls. This is all part of Mr. Sy’s vision for a stronger future, which is forward-looking in nature.
Mr. Sy is certain about SM’s commitment to the nation. “This is why, for SM, climate adaptation and resilience are the keys to prospering despite the damages and losses caused by climate change,” he continues. “We transform our beliefs into actionable solutions by allocating a substantial percentage of our CAPEX to include resilience and sustainability into our infrastructure designs.” He noted that these efforts are intended to ensure that the most vulnerable are not abandoned during times of hardship.
“As an engineer, I am passionate about making functional objects that aid in problem-solving. I recognize the intricacy of systems, but I must also think pragmatically. My position needs me to comprehend physical, structural, and system limitations. If something is substandard, it is substandard; there is no “pwede na.” Otherwise, public safety is at jeopardy,” added Mr. Sy.
As an example, residents in Masinag, Antipolo were aware of climate change. Every time it rained, the flood levels would rise, and this was a yearly occurrence for the family.
When SM constructed SM Masinag, it included a rainwater collecting system with a water capacity of 17,681 cubic meters, comparable to seven Olympic-sized swimming pools. The drainage systems of the two neighborhoods were connected to the mall’s three 30 HP (Horsepower) submersible pumps, which are utilized to pump off collected rainfall. As a consequence, families in the region can adjust to the effects of growing typhoons and rains without fearing for their houses or their loved ones’ safety.
Another example is the SM Mall of Asia, which was constructed with a barrier to safeguard the neighboring neighborhoods from anticipated storm surges and increasing sea levels. Additionally, the site utilizes unique foundation technologies to give enhanced resistance to liquefaction and seismic occurrences.
Additionally, it is elevated by 4.5 meters above MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water) in anticipation for climate change challenges and is equipped with a wave return and drainage canal to minimize floods.
Mr. Sy concluded by pledging to walk the walk toward a climate alliance with a shared road map and measurable benchmarks.
“We see an opportunity for a private sector partnership that would speed action in both mitigation and adaptation and contribute to the transition to a green economy.”
Mr. Sy stated, “We owe it to our children, the millions of future Filipinos, to win this struggle for the environment.”
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“The awareness of being green is at its peak, yet it still bears the stigma of being the more expensive alternative. This should not be the situation. He stated that SM is committed to serving communities and millions of Filipinos.”
“According to the Egypt COP, the cost of maintaining the status quo is an increase in world temperatures of 2.8C by 2050. This is a catastrophe scenario that will result in insurmountable losses for everyone. Doing nothing is more expensive. And the only way we will be successful in reducing this ‘cost’ is if we collaborate,” he continued.
As the country advances into a climate-defined future, the SM Group, in conjunction with WWF Philippines, is defining a course of climate action that is science-based and prioritizes the present and future well-being of all Filipinos.