Two years after the eco-friendly practices program for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) was first implemented in Cebu, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines wants to expand its program beyond the province.
ECCP executive vice president Henry J. Schumacher said they’re confident the European Commission will support the expansion of their SMART program or Sustainable Materials Artistically Rendered Trendsetting to other areas.
“If we expand, we’d like to continue working with Bohol, Negros, Metro Manila, Pampanga and Davao in Mindanao,” Schumacher said.
He said they already developed local experts who can help in the expansion.
The SMART program, which is now on its third and final year in Cebu, is aimed at helping SMEs achieve sustainability and competitiveness through eco-friendly practices.
Schumacher said ECCP started the program in 2010 and targeted 450 companies, raising awareness on adopting sustainable practices within their processes to help them save costs and make them more competitive.
“Since we started we have already worked with 150 companies from the furniture, fashion accessories and gifts toys and houseware,” said Asst. Vice President for operations Gerry Constantino.
ECCP worked with Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation (CFIF), Cebu Fashion Accessories Manufacturers and Exporters (FAME) and Cebu Gifts, Toys and Housewares Foundation (GTH) for the program.
Over the last two years, the program helped SMEs save up to P170,000 a year in electricity costs, P21,000 a year in materials costs and P80,000 a year in labor costs.
“On environmental impacts, SMEs saved 20 to 30 percent in energy consumption, 390,000 liters of water and a reduction of 7,900 kilograms in carbon dioxide emission,” said Constantino.
Schumacher said these successes enabled SMEs to compete and tap the growing demand for eco-friendly products in the world especially in Europe.
While the European economy shrank, Schumacher said there is still a good amount of people who have the spending capacity which Cebuano exporters can target.
Aside from Europe, Schumacher said Asia is a growing market for green products specifically Singapore, Bangkok and Japan. The program’s success justifies its expansion beyond Cebu, Schumacher said.