June 15, 2022
Climate change affects all of us, no doubt. But the way it impacts businesses can be devastating, especially for our MSMEs.
Unpredictable weather patterns can stall and even shut down operations because of facilities damage, workforce disruption, resources for raw materials becoming scarce, and the costs of materials increasing. Climate impacts can also lead to dramatic increases in insurance costs.
MSMEs can do this by giving them access to, firstly, the knowledge and tools in order to help them innovate, together with the guidance and support which can include financial support, and even networking. They can also do so by leading by example. With a very strong ‘tingi” culture, sari-sari stores can help consumers lessen their plastic consumption by having a refill station and allowing them to use whatever container they have. In lieu of plastic bags, encourage buyers to use eco-bags, bayongs, or whatever bags.
Innovations should be recognized, rewarded, supported, and highly encouraged no matter how big or small, or how simple they can be. Oftentimes, simple works best.
The national government supports such initiatives through collaborative partnerships, policies, programs, and the like. An example is the Shared Services Facilities (SSF) Project which was launched by the Department of Trade and Industry in 2013. SSF provides the machinery, equipment, tools, systems, accessories, and other auxiliary items, skills, and knowledge necessary to improve the quality of products and productivity of MSMEs, under a shared system. Such facilities are what we call the Fab Labs (fabrication laboratories) which help MSMEs invent and innovate. The Philippine Trade Training Center is home to one of the many Fab Labs across the nation.
I would say that opportunities for MSMEs to pursue a low-carbon pathway are now growing, such as financing via investments/grants for low-carbon green business models and incentives.