THE National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said it is pressing companies and households to adopt a sustainable approach to consumption and production, in part by better accounting for environmental and social costs of their actions.

In a news conference in Pasig City on Monday, NEDA Undersecretary Rosemarie G. Edillon launched their Philippine Action Plan for Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), which will act as a guide on the implementation of SCP for all sectors.

SCP minimizes the negative environmental impact of consumption and production while promoting quality of life without compromising resources for future generations, according to the United Nations Environment Programme.

Between 2020 and 2022, she said that NEDA hopes to institutionalize Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) which reckons environmental and the social costs of all economic activities amid similar reforms to methods of estimating will be measured akin to how the gross domestic product (GDP) is being evaluated.

“We have actually already submitted an NCA institutionalization road map, so this will be up for discussion… Of course there’s also the need to have more capacity building in terms of the statisticians who will do the measurement and the instruments that will be involved,” she added.

She said that the NCA measurement system will help the people and government “internalize environmental and the social costs of everything” that they do.

The SCP strategic framework aims to increase awareness among Filipinos and encourage them to shift to a more sustainable and “climate-smart” practices and lifestyles.

The SCP plan hopes to produce two outcomes with inputs from policy and regulation, technology innovation, on infrastructure and on promotion and education.

The plan’s first outcome focuses on the economic, social, and environmental impacts of production and consumption processes value while the second one considers an efficient and equitable resource use of firms, households, and individuals.

The first outcome requires the institutionalization of NCA and establishment of infrastructure to support it, as well as the development of an online public platform to calculate carbon and ecological footprints.

NEDA will propose for the second outcome a review of laws such as the Philippine Clean Air Act and Toxic Substances and Hazardous and Nuclear Wastes Control Act of 1990, as well as providing infrastructure supporting SCP such as elevated walkways, bike lanes, affordable e-vehicle technologies.

Ms. Edillon said that the country’s total population is expected to rise by an additional 8.3 million by 2022, and grow to 140 million by 2040.

She said that population density likewise grew to 337 people per square kilometer in 2015 from 255 in 2000.

“With such a dense population, you have congestion which is actually manifested in traffic congestion,” she said.

At the same time, the country is currently suffering from declining quality of air mainly due to emissions from transport and industry, especially in highly urbanized cities.

Water quality at major bodies of water remains poor while most “are deemed unfit for their intended uses,” she said.

Daily solid waste generation rose to 40,000 tons in 2016 or 0.4 kilogram per person per day.

Residential areas accounted for 57% of waste generated in 2013, followed by 12% for commercial areas and the remainder generated by institutional and industrial areas. — Beatrice M. Laforga