Report: Asia Environment and Economic Forum, December 10-12, 2014, Japan

Group photo of delegates

Group photo of delegates

The forum focused on Green Technology and Green Economy. The objective of this forum was to facilitate acceleration of green growth in Asia (member-countries). The forum covered environmental and economic achievements from major green productivity activities and initiatives in member countries. This forum was an important platform to promote the green productivity concept among between APO members.

OBJECTIVES

J. Valera, DTI-MIMAROPA

1. To provide first-hand information on how each country/signatory to the deal mitigates the problem/s presently encountered and the possible solutions;
2. To relate the topics with our present responsibilities and focus/give serious attention on the problems and solutions.

F. Calora Jr., DOST-PCAARRD

1. To provide a platform to share examples of green policy and business from Japan;
2. To establish potential collaborations among APO delegates and local participants; and
3. To analyze examples of green productivity efforts and their impact in the region.

PARTICIPANTS

There are 40 participants from 16 Asian countries: Bangladesh (2), Cambodia (2), Republic of China (2), India (5), Republic of Korea (2), Indonesia (5), Iran (2), Lao PDR (2), Malaysia, Nepal (2), Pakistan (3), Sri Lanka (4), Thailand (3), and Vietnam (2). Three Filipinos participated in the seminar.

SCOPE, CONTENT, METHODOLOGY

• The scope of the three-day conference covered lectures and  a visit to the 2014 Japan eco product exhibition which show cased products integrating green technologies.  The lectures were presented by selected experts from India, Korea and japan.

• The topics discussed during the said conference covered climate change, green productivity and economic growth, organic farming, bio-based industries, solid waste management, and material flow cost accounting.  Bio based and material flow cost accounting were new interesting topics which may be significant in supporting the development of green technology in the Philippines.

• The methods used to disseminate information was the lecture followed by question and answer model. Each expert was given an hour to present his topic and 30 minutes for the question and answer session. In the Q and A session participants were given the chance to interact with the experts.  To experience how green technology and green economy was being practiced in Japan, delegates attended the “Japan Eco Products 2014 Exhibition.” It was the venue for all eco products from organic vegetables and fruits, electronics, kitchenware to motorized vehicles for transportation and farming.

APO AEEF 2, 2015

Day 1:  Summary of Presentations

• Impacts of Climate Change and Policy Initiatives (Mr. Dinesh Singh) – The speaker’s main theme was: “Anthropogenic activities have been the highest in history and have influenced climate change affecting human and natural ecosystems.” He cited various impacts of climate change, such as (a) surface temperature increase, (b) sea level rise, (c) irregular and erratic weather, (d) extreme weather events, (e) change in the forest flora and fauna, and (f) changes in agriculture and food production. Current initiatives on climate change started with volunteerism and collective agreements between and among countries with a common agenda. These agreements /agenda were deliberated thru consultations and dialogues and later on became protocols or summits (e.g. Earth Summit, Kyoto Protocol, etc.).

• Green productivity, green economic growth and sustainable society (Dr. Ryoichi Yamamoto) – The speaker started his presentation by asking: Are we living in the Anthropocene? He then described the dramatic increase in human activities globally that affected the earths’ surface and resulted in climate change. The speaker identified nine (9) planetary boundaries, namely: (a) climate change, (b) freshwater use, (c) nitrogen and phosphorus cycle, (d) ocean acidification, (e) chemical pollution, (f) atmospheric aerosol loading, (g) ozone depletion, (h) biodiversity loss, and (i) land use change. These planetary boundaries affect the individual’s survival in relation to (a) income, (b) education, (c) resilience,  (d) voice (lobbying),  (e)jobs, (f) energy, (g) social equity, (h) gender equality, (i) health, (j) food, and (k) water. He suggested that biomass should be the 10th planetary boundary. For green economy, he discussed the concept of sustainable public procurement which to him refers to responsible sourcing, use of alternative materials, minimizing environmental impacts, and environment friendly materials.

• Perspective on bio-based economy in Korea (Dr. Sangyong Kim) – The speaker talked about the bio-based economy model of Korea and China which were patterned from the European Union. The adoption of this model resulted in the development of carbon neutral products which may be generated as value added products from primary products, such as feed stocks.  From feed stocks, cellulose and glucose can be extracted. To develop value added products that will promote a bio-based industry, the issue of a sustainable production system and supply of green commodity chemicals from renewable materials should be addressed. The purpose of promoting a bio-based economy is to develop a low carbon growth economy. An example of a system that promotes low carbon economies is a bio-refinery. The introduction of chemical catalysts, like bacteria or fungi, releases/generates hydrogen that can be used to develop bio-polymers, bio-plastics and bio-textiles.

APO AEEF 3, 2015
Day 2: Summary of Presentations

• Organic farming for low carbon economic growth (Mr. Avinash K. Srivastava) – The speaker started the session by presenting the challenge to organic farming. The challenge according to hi is that the use of   synthetic fertilizers and pesticides significantly affects the total adoption of organic agriculture practices because of its role in increasing yield and managing pest and diseases. The constant and unregulated use of these fertilizers and pesticides results in loss of soil fertility, decline in biodiversity, water pollution, and high incidence of human health issues. The speaker traced the origins of organic farming. According to him, organic farming in the early 1970s meant farming without using fertilizers and pesticides. For him, the problems of green revolution are (1) human debt, (2) lower income, and (3) increased income differentials. The speaker posed the question: Does Organic Farming improve productivity? He then discussed the basic principle of organic farming (OF). OF looks at nature as the most experienced farmer and largest producer of crops, fruits and biomass so OF simply tries to emulate nature’s production systems. It aims to improve soil health, protect crops from pest and diseases and uses seeds which were selected, segregated and used as seeds for next cropping season. The speaker stressed the importance of enhancing the quality and quantity of the soil organic carbon (SOC) because it reduces plant water stress, and increases nutrient retention, germination and plant growth. The SOC is the main source of energy of soil microorganisms. The beneficial microorganisms can be used to develop bio-fertilizers such as (a) Nitrogen fixing bacteria, (b) Phosphorus solubilizing bacteria, (c) Potassium mobilizing bacteria, (d) Zinc solubilizing bacteria and (e) mycorrhizal fungi.  At the end of the presentation, the speaker repeated the question: “Does Organic Farming improve productivity?” From his personal experience, the studies in India show organic farming is beneficial to small-hold farmers due to low inputs needed to produce food crops.

• Solid waste management and necessity of 3R in Asia region (Dr. Masaru Tanaka) – The speaker started with a statement: “Waste is an index of resource consumption.”  The speaker mentioned that the objectives of waste management are to maintain a clean living environment and improve public health. The concept of waste management in this discussion does not include waste from radio-active materials, construction, dredged soil, and concrete consumption. The interventions to manage waste are not necessarily environment-friendly. He cited the use of incinerator as a waste disposal system. However, the process produces dust, hydro chloric acid, nitrous oxide, sulfuric acid and dioxins which affect human health. The principle of waste disposal revolves around controlling the waste generation, recycling, volume of waste reduction and proper final disposal.

• Japan Eco Products 2014 Exhibition (Field Visit) – The participants visited the 2014 eco products exhibition which showcased agricultural products (e.g., dried vegetables and fruits, fresh organic fruits and vegetables, tea, coffee, and organic rice, wines, honey) and machinery (e.g., cars, tractors, home appliances, computers gizmos and gadgets). The exhibition area was in a large building which resembles the size of Mall of Asia (Philippines).  There were also side events for both government (agriculture, energy, electronics, public works) and private industries (Samsung, Toyota, etc.) held in the said exhibit.

Day 3

• Material Flow Cost Accounting in the Supply Chain (Prof.  Kathuhiko Kokubu) – The speaker talked about the benefits of material flow cost analysis which are: (1) identifies cost for mutual loss, (2) customizes and improves the processes to produce a product, and (3) provides information on the monetary savings or cost of implementing the process improvements.

• Integrated Model of the Low-Carbon Supply Chain (Prof. Michiyasu Nakajima) – The speaker discussed MFCA’s significance. According to him, MFCA reduces material loss through minimizing material inputs in the production process. Hence, it reduces product cost which is beneficial for the client, provides assurance for low carbon materials usages, and establishes procedures/protocols for low carbon supply chain. The significance of managing material flow information in the economy, environment and society is realized.

• Latest International Trend of MFCA (ISO 14051 and 14052) (Mr.  Hiroshio Tachikawa) – The speaker talked about the mission of Japan in relation to ISO initiatives. Their mission is “to build the momentum from Asia toward a sustainable path for the world. “ The Japanese paradigm is to “make green kaizen happen in a sustainable way in Asia.”  Kaizen refers to continual improvement. With reference to ISO 14052 compared with ISO 14051, ISO 14052 provides for the following: (1) material energy efficiency consulting services; (2) environmental health and safety risk management services; (3) health and safety training service; (4) sustainability advisory service; (5)business development for overseas clean technology companies; and (6) environment, social consideration related services. The key principles for the appreciation of MFCA are commitment, collaboration, and shared profit.  The key changes of ISO 14051 to ISO 14052 are as follows:

o Understanding the organization and its  context (4.1);
o Actions to address risk assessment with threats and opportunities (6.1), interpretation of environmental management system(EMS), and  list the business process and understanding its impacts in the process;
o Leadership and commitment (5.1);
o Compliance obligations (7.3, 7.4, 8.1, 8.2);
o External communication (7.4.3); and
o Operational planning and control (8.1)and continued improvement of EMS effectiveness.

• MFCA’s Global Implementation (Mr. Yoshikuni Furukawa) – The speaker focused his discussion on how MFCA was used for automotive products, electronic-related products, industrial products, environmental products, healthcare products and housing and construction-related products. MFCA contributes to sustainable development because it will increase profit and improve production while reducing environmental impacts.

• Mainstreaming 3Rs and Waste Management in Environmental Policy and Planning towards Sustainability (Dr. Ryutaro Yatsu) – The speaker started his seminar by tracing the history of environmental governance in Japan.  It can be traced from four (4) major lawsuits on pollution-triggered health damages: Minamaga  and Niigara Minamata Disease : Methyl Mercury (effluents from fertilizer plants) , Itai-itai Disease  : Cadmium (due to effluents from Zinc mines), and Yokkaichi Asthma : Sox, NOx and PMx (emissions from petrochemical industries ). The need to formulate the first basic law for environmental pollution control was a result of events and activities from (1) rapid industrialization caused air and water pollution, pollution-triggered health damages (1950-1960); (2) rapid urbanization and regional development projects caused non-point sources type of environmental pollution (1970); and (3) recognition of global environmental issues and difficulties to tackle non-point sources with existing policies.

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

J. Valera, DTI MIMAROPA

I gained thorough and comprehensive knowledge on the topics discussed by the lecturers. In depth knowledge and information were discussed that i can share with my associates. All lecturers were knowledgeable with their presentation. They are accommodating to the questions of the participants.

F. Calora Jr., DOST-PCAARRD

Overall the conference was informational and provided opportunities for networking. There were lessons learned from the conference.  Although certain have initiatives in the Philippines ( Climate Change, Organic Matter and Waste Management) some topics like bio-based economy,  and material flow cost accounting were very interesting topics and can be practiced in the Philippines.

RECOMMENDATION AND ACTION STEPS

J. Valera, DTI MIMAROPA

The forum should be five days instead of three. Benchmarking activity should be included.

With the problems on climate change, we took the initiative to help mitigate climate change problems, at least within our workplace. We changed CFL/Tubular lights into LED bulbs and tubular lights in the five provincial and regional office of DTI MIMAROPA. Also in the pipeline is replacement of air conditioning units to inverter type for the whole region, in 2015.

F. Calora Jr., DOST-PCAARRD

1. The topics on Climate Change, Organic Agriculture and Waste Management are already being studied in the Philippines.  However, the two topics discussed are new which are Bio-based Economy and Material Flow Cost. Green technology and productivity should be promoted in APO-affiliated agencies in the Philippines. This can be done through the following:

a. An “echo” seminar in PCAARRD can be conducted by delegates who attended APO-sponsored conferences/workshop.

b. For APO Philippines, sponsoring a conference on Green Technology and Green Economy can be considered if a conference of this nature is not yet implemented in the country.  The speakers should come from both government and private industry which are implementing green technology programs/projects.

SUBMITTED BY

JOEL VALERA
OIC – Regional Director
Department of Trade and Industry – Region IV-B

FELICIANO CALORA JR.
Director
Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD)
Department of Science and Technology

JOEVE CALLEJA
Division Chief
Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards (BAFS)
Department of Agriculture

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