Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Going Green in the Third World

Its quite hard and frustrating to live in the third world. I remember in 2002, when one of the Earth Summit agreements in Johannesburg specified that developing nations also have a responsibility in ensuring the implementation of Global Agenda 21.

Once going to Greenbelt 4 and looking at window of a high end stores, I asked the price of a patent leather pump and the saleslady told me its 56,000 pesos or around a thousand dollars. I realized that there are people who could afford them and the growth of affluence in third world is growing faster compared to the rate of efficient utilization of natural resources. I was always taught that after the Marcos era the Philippines has a very limited natural resource base.

The effort to go green in the third world is very minimal. Firms still chose to produce inefficiently, meaning externalizing their environmental impact. When I conduct trainings for company-assigned Pollution Control Officers, their mere notion is that environmental improvement can be achieved by getting and maintaining the necessary permits. But I have to ingrain in them that it is only the first step and in the long run, they must be able to change the mindset of their management by becoming more responsible through internalization of their environmental impacts.