WATER SERVICES to communities across the country should be resilient amid the effects of climate change, according to an official from east zone water concessionaire Manila Water Co., Inc.

Mark Tom Q. Mulingbayan, Manila Water chief sustainability officer, said during the BusinessWorld Economic Forum on Thursday that part of the company’s sustainability initiative is making its water services in communities across the country resilient against climate change.

Mr. Mulingbayan said one of the company’s sustainability initiatives is to expand water and wastewater services to as many people as possible, adding that the presence of water service is a part of any community.

“This is something that should be done because the Philippines, as you know, is a climate change vulnerable country. We have to be resilient as a community. Water service is a lifeline for those communities which means it should be resilient. That is why we adopted our climate change policy because the key strategy there is climate change adaptation,” Mr. Mulingbayan said.

“We have to ensure that our services have to be resilient enough. We have to continue the service to the customers even in the face of natural disasters,” he added.

Mr. Mulingbayan said another sustainability initiative of Manila Water is focused on protecting the environment, which involves the planting of trees.

“We nurture trees in our watersheds because that’s where the water comes from. We have to ensure that the sources of water are taken care of. Taking care of watersheds and other water sources is part of our sustainability work,” Mr. Mulingbayan said.

Meanwhile, Mr. Mulingbayan said the most important thing for a company when building a sustainability brand is “authenticity.”

He said a company’s sustainability initiative should be done not only for the sake of doing it, but also for its benefits.

“You don’t do it just for the sake of doing it. You should know the value and its benefits to the company and stakeholders. Authenticity also results to public trust which then leads towards the abstract called ‘social license’ to operate,” Mr. Mulingbayan said.

Mr. Mulingbayan added that the sustainability program of a company is not absolute and can change as it goes along.

“Sustainability is not an absolute thing. It is a relative thing. It is a journey. The expectations and initiatives can change from year to year as you go along. You can start with core issues and then address the other issues that come along,” Mr. Mulingbayan said.

Manila Water provides water and wastewater services in the eastern part of Metro Manila, which includes Marikina, Pasig, Taguig, Makati, San Juan, Mandaluyong, and portions of Quezon City and Manila, and Rizal province. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave