The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is exploring a partnership with the country’s top conglomerates to create a plastic waste management action roadmap, as part of its commitment to regulate plastic packaging and reduce waste.

This comes after representatives from the private sector were invited as panelists and shared their efforts toward achieving sustainable economic growth at the DENR Multistakeholder Forum held last October 5 in Manila.

DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga, whose leadership is aimed towards engaging the whole society, expressed optimism in examining opportunities for a strategic partnership with the private sector after all panelists committed to help and assist the agency on managing plastic waste.

“In many ways, the work of the environment and natural resources management intersects the commercial and private interest of the major conglomerates, and so we are very keen to involve them strategically. There are opportunities that are going to be wide open for us to explore and to detail in the coming weeks,” Loyzaga said in a press briefing.

During the forum, JG Summit Holdings Inc. president and CEO Lance Gokongwei vowed to develop policies together with their stakeholders, particularly the DENR, in managing and improving the circularity of plastic.

Vista Land and Lifescapes president and CEO Manuel Paolo Villar had the same sentiments, as he assured the DENR that they are willing to contribute in setting policies for the environment, while still promoting economic development.

San Miguel Corporation president and CEO Ramon Ang and SM Prime Holdings chair Hans Sy – whose companies have been the DENR’s partners in rehabilitating some of the country’s filthy creeks and other water bodies – expressed their commitment to comply with the DENR’s mission, and even go above and beyond regulatory requirements.

Ayala Corporation associate director Mariana Zobel de Ayala, whose company has been using plastic to create sources for construction materials and developing plastic garbage collection points, said they are looking forward to partner with the DENR.

First Philippine Holdings Inc. chair and CEO Federico Lopez and International Container Terminal Services Inc. executive vice president Christian Razon Gonzales committed to support the DENR’s environmental mission as well.

Loyzaga said the commitment of everyone in the panel to work with the DENR on plastic waste management is one of the key developments in the forum.

She vowed to translate these pledges into working plans as the DENR is also in the process of formulating the implementing rules and regulations of Republic Act 11898 or the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act, which lapsed into law in July this year.

The EPR law, which officially took effect on Aug. 13, 2022, targets to recover plastic packaging footprint by 20 percent by Dec. 31, 2023, and 80 percent by Dec. 31, 2028, and every year thereafter. ###