The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has partnered with a South Korea-based international organization to promote environmental innovation among small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Philippines.
The partnership between the DENR and the ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center (ASEIC) was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) by DENR Undersecretary and concurrent Environmental Management Bureau Director Jonas Leones, and ASEIC vice president Chun Hee Lee at the National College of Science and Technology in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
ASEIC was established by member countries of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in 2011 with the principal mandate of promoting cooperation between the two continents to create and enhance environmental advancement of SMEs, which are a main engine of economic growth and innovation.
ASEM is a Eurasian forum formed in 1996 to foster cooperation among its members, which include the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), 28 members of the European Union, and 13 other Asian and European countries.
In a speech by Leones, which was read by EMB Assistant Director Eva Ocfemia, he expressed hope the collaboration will boost government efforts to help SMEs become more compliant with environmental standards, particularly under the DENR’s Philippine Environment Partnership Program (PEPP) that encourages improved environmental management and performance among industries.
“SMEs contribute roughly 80 percent to the industrial pollution in Asia. In the Philippines, most SMEs find it difficult to comply with environmental laws,” Leones pointed out.
He said the DENR-ASEIC partnership also aims to expose local SMEs to model industries from other Asian countries, and enhance entrepreneurs’ knowledge on eco-innovative and low-carbon practices to lessen pollution, as well as their carbon footprint.
“We hope to drive small businesses to institute greener processes and management activities, and utilize new business opportunities that are both economically and environmentally beneficial,” Leones stressed.
The MOU provides for the DENR and the ASEIC to collaborate on eco-innovation projects like consultations for SMEs in utilizing green technology management, transfer of technology on green growth and low-carbon industrial development, related capacity building and conferences, and mutual support in research and promotion of good eco-innovation practices. ###