THE United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said it estimates that companies moving to sustainable business models will create 4.4 million new jobs in the Philippines, and economic benefits valued at $82 billion including environmental and social benefits.
In its “Better Business, Better World” report, the UNDP identified 60 sustainable market “hotspots” in four key investment areas around the world which if pursued will ultimately create $12 trillion in business value and create 380 million jobs by 2023, especially in developing countries.
For the Philippines, the UNDP said the main opportunities lie in UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) such as 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,” it said.
It estimated that investing in cities and mobility will generate economic value of $24 billion and produce 2.1 million jobs as “business opportunities with the greatest urban economic, environmental, and social impact lie in affordable housing, green public transport systems, and disaster management systems to weather outsized climate risks.”
Food and agriculture investing have the potential to generate economic value of $23 billion and one million jobs, UNDP said.
“Upgrading technology in large-scale farms, developing sustainable aquaculture models, guaranteeing food safety and scaling energy-smart agriculture offer further attractive possibilities,” it said.
It also said that investing in energy and materials will generate economic value of $19 billion and create 700,000 jobs, while health and well-being investment will produce $16 billion in economic value and 500,000 jobs.
The country suffered $3.8 billion in damage from natural disasters between 2006 and 2013, while recovery from such setbacks is hampered by low insurance penetration rates. The UNDP said “risk pooling and extending insurance coverge for both climate and health risk is therefore a significant business opportunity.”
UNDP said SYSTEMIQ, which participated in developing the report, conducted “deep dive sessions” with top executives of four Philippine conglomerates “to drive commitment and further actions.”
These are the Ayala Corp., San Miguel Corp., First Philippine Holdings Corp. and SM Investments Corp.
The content of the discussions with the four conglomerates were not disclosed during the media forum yesterday. The UNDP will release the results of their meetings and the commitment agreements on Nov. 18.
The study also projects the Philippine economy to hit $1 trillion by 2030.
Guillermo M. Luz, Ayala Corp. associate director said that micro, small and medium scale enterprises should also be involved in adopting sustainable business models.
“I hope we don’t interpret all these opportunities to be something for large businesses only or for conglomerates. I think there’s got to be space here for micro, small and medium scale enterprises in these types of businesses,” Mr. Luz said during the media forum yesterday at Makati City when the report was launched. — Beatrice M. Laforga