Winners of national search for eco-friendly schools recognized

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has recognized the winners in the nationwide search for the most sustainable and environment-friendly schools for 2015.

Top winners in three different categories were the Foundation University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental; Bintawan National High School in Villaverde, Nueva Ecija; and Divisoria Elementary School in Santiago City, Isabela.

The recognition ceremony was held Monday at the Fisher Mall Activity Center in Quezon City, as part of the celebration of the National Environmental Awareness Month this November.

Now on its fourth year, the National Search for Sustainable and Eco-Friendly Schools was organized by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB), together with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education, and private partners.

The competition aimed to recognize educational institutions with the best eco-friendly and sustainable programs and practices.

DENR Undersecretary and concurrent EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna was elated over the overwhelming response of entries from primary, secondary and tertiary schools nationwide.

“We were amazed by their creativity and commitment of the winners and other participants in implementing eco-friendly practices,” Cuna said. “We need to start teaching our kids as early as we can to take responsibility in safeguarding our environment.”

He added: “Schools are dynamic focal points of learning and powerful vehicles of change. Parents and teachers can work together to spread the wonders of living an environmentally-smart lifestyle.”

The private partners included Smart Communications, One Meralco Foundation Inc., Nestlé Philippines, and Land Bank of the Philippines.

Other winners in the primary school category were Ara-Al Elementary School in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental (second place) and Bonuan Boquig Elementary School in Dagupan City, Pangasinan (third place).

For the high school category, other winners were Baguio City National High in Baguio City (second place) and Sumoroy Agro-Industrial School in Palapag, Norther Samar (third place).

St. Paul University in Dumaguete City, Negros Occidental, and University of La Salette in Santiago City tied for second place, and Central Bicol State University in Pili, Camarines Sur won third place in the tertiary level.

First placers received P50,000 and an additional P25,000 for being automatic recipients of Landbank Green Leadership Award. The second and third placers got P40,000 and P30,000, respectively.

The following received P20,000 each under the Meralco Energy Leadership Awards for programs and projects promoting energy and electricity conservation: Bonuan Boquig Elementary School of Dagupan City, Pangasinan for the elementary school category; Tiwi Agro-Industrial School of Tiwi, Albay for the high school category; and the Universidad de Zamboanga in Tetuan, Zamboanga City for the college category.

Recipients of the Nestlé Water Leadership Award were also given P20,000 each for initiating water-related programs, projects and activities. These were Bonuan Boquig Elementary School for the elementary school category; Divisoria High School in Santiago City, Isabela for the high school category; and the University of the Cordilleras in Baguio City for the college category. 

The nationwide search was part of the Philippine initiative in support of the ASEAN Environmental Education Plan 2014-2018 and the ASEAN Environment Year 2015, with the theme: “Empowering the Youth for a Green ASEAN Community.” 



Group launches two reports on how to build “blue economy” in the East Asian Seas Region

Danang, Vietnam—Partnerships in Environmental Management for the Seas of East Asia (PEMSEA) launches two new reports this week at the East Asian Seas Congress 2015 in Danang, Vietnam, exploring the potential for building a “blue economy” in the region.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of the Philippines is a key partner of PEMSEA and hosts PEMSEA’s international headquarters in Quezon City.

The reports emphasize the importance of coasts and oceans to business in the region and call for increased investment in coastal and marine ecosystems health and a strategic approach to managing blue economy industries.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), 60 percent of the world’s total gross national product comes from areas within 100 kilometers of the coastline. Coastal and marine industries are particularly important in East Asia, comprising 15-20 percent of the gross domestic product in some countries in the region.

Coastal ecosystems face increasing threats that diminish the ecological health, environmental resilience and socioeconomic potential of these rich areas. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reports that impacts from overfishing, marine pollution, invasive aquatic species, coastal habitat loss and ocean acidification cost the global economy an estimated US$350 to US$940 billion every year.

Overall, available funds devoted to protecting ecosystems and biodiversity remain small in comparison to the cost of protecting, restoring and maintaining these important resources. By some estimates, the financing gap exceeds at least US$300 billion per year and may reach into the US$ trillions. More investment is needed to protect and enhance critical coastal and marine ecosystems while contributing to sustainable development.

There is no shortage of investment capital available, but investors cite difficulties in sourcing high-quality investable deals in sectors that sustain coastal and marine ecosystem health. At the same time, projects and social enterprises need a better understanding of investor expectations and potential sources of capital. PEMSEA partnered with Impact Investment Shujog (Shujog), a Singapore-based impact enterprise and impact investing advisory firm, to develop a report exploring the current financial funding flows of an estimated US$10 billion to integrated coastal management (ICM)-related sectors across the grants and investment capital spectrum in 8 countries in East Asia. Investment Landscape Mapping in East Asia: Integrated Coastal Management and Sustainable Development of Coasts and Oceans identifies regional and country-level trends in ICM funding from bilateral and multilateral donors, foundations, development finance institutions, corporations, impact investments and commercial investors across 10 related coastal and marine sectors, and offers recommendations for increasing investments in these sectors.

Sustainable development has become a strategic consideration for companies and investors looking to position themselves competitively amidst disruptive forces, such as climate change, loss of coastlines, marine pollution and overfishing. Companies are exposed to a number of operational, regulatory, reputational, market and financial risks related to proper management of ecosystems. According to research by McKinsey & Company, business value related to these risks could be as high as 25 to 70 percent of earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization).

The second report, Blue Economy for Business in East Asia: Towards an Integrated Understanding of Blue Economy, examines the work that’s been done on blue economy by international organizations, governments in the region, and increasingly the private sector, offering a practical definition and framework for the concept of blue economy. The report also examines important trends, risks and opportunities across 9 key blue economy industries in the region.

Along with the reports, PEMSEA announced the launch of an East Asian Seas Sustainable Business Network for companies to collaborate on the planning, development and implementation of blue economy in the region. This coalition of companies will provide industry input to government on coastal and marine issues in the region and benefit from links to best practices, policy developments and emerging investment opportunities.

Both reports are now available on the PEMSEA website, 


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