Nordic Ambassadors' Forum: Sustainability Perspectives
The Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (NordCham) hosted the annual Nordic Ambassadors' Forum on the 3rd of November 2022 at Dusit Thani Makati. This year the topic was Perspectives on Sustainability. The event is one of six annual signature events of NordCham, and it featured 3 sessions as well as networking and company booths.
The event recognized the importance of sustainability pioneered by Nordic countries in achieving a sustainable planet - with focus on SDG 17, Partnerships for the goals. The speakers shared their perspectives on how to be successful in sustainability, be it on a country, company, or individual level.
The first session was a panel discussion with the four Nordic Ambassadors sharing their insights and perspectives on Sustainability Development in the Nordics and how each embassy collaborates with the government, key organizations, and companies in the Philippines. Based on the latest global country sustainability ranking, Finland is no. 1, closely followed by Denmark (2), Sweden (3) and Norway (4), so the ambassadors indeed had lots of examples and inspiration to share, including:
The work on sustainability includes environmental, social and economic solutions.
Sustainability is not a “nice to have”, it is a requirement for the future!
Sustainability does not happen over-night! It requires political consensus and long-term strategic focus to ensure the right transition. Silo thinking and working needs to be eliminated – collaboration across public and private section is the key to success!
Renewable Energy at the right price, meaning cheaper than “black” energy is a priority for all the embassies. The Nordic countries and companies have world leading solutions, and the experience shows significant reduction in price, with example Denmark having the lowest global cost for power production.
Nordic collaboration solutions also include smarter cities and example e-buses to impact the environment positively, methods to decongest Metro Manila and other traffic heavy areas, and important areas like decent work, gender equality and diversity.
Quality universal education is essential to ensure improvements in most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and the global rankings.
From the left: Ambassador Annika Thunborg (Sweden), Ambassador Franz-Michael Mellbin (Denmark), Ambassador Juha Pyykkö, Ambassador Christian Halaas Lyster (Norway) and Lotis Ramin (the moderator from AstraZeneca)
The second session was the launch of the first-ever Nordic-Philippines Sustainability Book – a compilation of sustainability stories and efforts of NordCham partners, both public and private sectors, such as Government Departments, Embassies, local and foreign businesses, and a few selected organizations. The book was very well received by the 100+ strong physical audience. Each participant got a copy of the book and NordCham will distribute the book to 100+ selected organizations in the Philippines and the Nordic countries.
A digital version is now available for download for free: https://nordcham.com.ph/nordic-philippine-sustainability-book-2022
The last session was a panel discussion with sustainability leaders from the private sector represented by Arla Foods (Denmark), AstraZeneca (Sweden), BDO (Philippines), Nokia (Finland), and SN Aboitiz (Norway), to share inspiration on their companies' sustainable practices that are featured in the Nordic-Philippines Sustainability Book 2022.
Sustainability focus is good for the business!
Sustainability is an increasingly important parameter for companies and their bottom line, especially for business-to-business transactions, but also for selected consumer groups.
A strong company sustainability profile is mandatory in the Nordics to attract the right talent, this is not yet among the top 5 areas focused on in the Philippines.
The sustainability focal points vary somewhat depending on the industry, but all do get inspired by the 17 SGDs – more venues for inspiration are however needed!
The sustainability responsibility should be at C-level to ensure the right attention throughout the organization.
We all need to do our part to put sustainability on the agenda, not just in the public or private sector, but everywhere and all the time