By Madelaine B. Miraflor
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the UN’s global development network, said there’s a huge “economic prize” when businesses prioritize investments that will help make their countries better and socially inclusive. For the Philippines, the yield could be as high as $82 billion over the next 10 years.
In its soon-to-be-released ‘“Better Business, Better World: Philippines (BBBW)” report, UNDP said there is an economic prize worth $82 billion across the Philippines by 2030, alongside large environmental and social benefits, that can be achieved through the shift to sustainable business models.
The report details the most significant business opportunities aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in four key areas of the Philippine economy, namely cities and mobility; energy and materials; food and agriculture; and health and well-being.
These opportunities have the potential to create 4.4 million new jobs by 2030.
Among others, the investment opportunities are in affordable housing, low-income food markets, energy access, disaster management services, sustainable aquaculture, technology in large scale farmers, and energy smart agriculture, according to the BBBW report.
The report, however, didn’t take note of the factors that will make it hard for companies to commit to these investments including the bureaucratic bottlenecks and lack of financing in the country.
UNDP Philippines worked closely with SYSTEMIQ in the development of the flagship report.
To drive commitment and further action, UNDP and SYSTEMIQ recently facilitated deep dive sessions with chief executive officers, senior executives, sustainability officers of the country’s top conglomerates namely Ayala Corp., San Miguel Corp., First Philippine Holdings, Inc., and SM Investments Corporation.
Discussions, according to SYSTEMIQ Senior Advisor Gail Klintworth, was focused on identifying new investment areas, the requirements to maximize the opportunities presented, and to gain commitments towards fulfilling the vision of this report.
Guillermo Luz, former National Competitiveness Council (NCC) private sector co-chairman, said to achieve this amount of investments, the investment climate in the country should be backed by legislation and policies.
“There is an important time frame we need to look at. Because of climate change, [we set the target at] 2030. We need to achieve this in 10 years,” Luz said.
According to him, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) already asked for a copy of the report.
“I hope it will open their eyes and begin to think. There should be a bias in investment opportunities linked to achieving SDGs,” he further said.
Lui Jolongbayan, outcome leader of Institutions and SDG Partnerships of UNDP, agreed to this, saying that there “has to be transformation on the side of government” and that there should be improvements in the regulatory policies.