Eco-innovation Efforts Continued: MSMEs Efforts in Sustainability

Republic Act No. 9501, or the “Magna Carta for Small Enterprises,” is one of the measures of the Philippine government to foster a robust environment for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) while also ensuring the sustainability of the dwindling natural resources of the country. Such policy is necessary, especially with the increased demands for development and utilization activities, population expansion, and other external factors like climate change. 

According to the Brundtland Report, development should be sustainable as it must provide “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs.” It should strike a balance between economic development, environmentalism and technological advancement. Modernization has inevitably changed the way people use their natural surroundings, but a number of academics have warned of possible repercussions of industrialization due to limited resources in the environment. 

A good illustration of sustainable development is eco-innovation, an example of which is Sustainably Made by Marsse Tropical Timbers where the manufacturer made the vital decision of being shrewd with their raw materials, thereby implementing the "no wood wasted policy." The company based in Pangasinan “promotes sustainable management of forest plantations as well as promotion of modern forest technologies.

The company started planting trees in 1992 but was only able to fully harvest fruits after 20 years when the trees were finally viable. They did not prioritize swift return of investment and instead contributed to ecological balance through sustainable tree farming and maximum utilization of raw materials.

Junk Not! is another model of eco-innovation through creative and transformative use of plastic waste into functional and trendy furniture. Willhelmina “Willie” S. Garcia, the interior designer who spearheaded the project in 2015 with the support of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources, envisioned a balance between waste management and its environmental impact, and addressing lack of livelihood in rural communities like San Nicolas, Batangas.

According to their website, there are three distinct stages in the production of Junk Not!’s furnitures - plastic braiding and waste packaging by women in San Nicolas, creative repurposing of upcycled plastic and green interior services.

The recycling of various colors of plastic coupled with the able hands of women in the community and Willie Garcia’s expertise resulted in skilfully made products which evoke modern sensibilities and utility. Because of the company’s proficient engagement, their products have earned them awards and they were even commissioned to do major projects with large organizations. 

consumerism has changed the way people live and appreciate things around them. But eco-innovation provided a new business model that strives to incorporate sustainability in all facets of the operation of a business.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, eco-innovation is a top-down approach that mainstreams sustainability while also meeting market demands. It provides a mechanism where balancing the interests of stakeholders and processes is the key to a holistic and natural success.


References

Junk Not! . (2018, April 3). About. Retrieved from Junk Not!: https://junknot.ph/about/

Manila FAME. (No date). FROM FARM TO TABLE, LITERALLY. Retrieved from Manile FAME: http://www.manilafame.com/Touchpoint/Sustainably-Made

National Economic Development Authority. (No date). Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. Retrieved from National Economic Development Authority: https://manila2018.dof.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/5-Philippine-Development-Plan-2017-2022.pdf

National Economic Development Authority. (n.d.). Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016. Retrieved from National Economic Development Authority: http://www.neda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CHAPTER-10.pdf

Pansera, M. (2011). The Origins and purpose of Eco-Innovation. Global Environment, 128-155.

Tacio, H. (2013, June 27). Philippine forests are rapidly disappearing. Retrieved from Philippine EnviroNews: https://earthjournalism.net/stories/philippine-forests-are-rapidly-disappearing

United National Environment Programme. (2014). The Business Case For Eco-Innovation. United Nations Environment Programme.