Beginnings are celebrated, and endings are often avoided. But if we really think about it, it is not the end or cessation of one thing that we veer away from, but the fear of the unknown that an ending or the start of something new brings. It may sound cliché, but the ultimate panacea is hope, the belief that the end will harken a more colorful beginning.

We have welcomed another year, and there are several reasons to remain optimistic about things to come. From an economist’s or business owner’s perspective, the outlook for 2023 looks rosy and bright, with the global economy and firms well on their way toward continued recovery from the pandemic.

Sustaining recovery

During a recently held dialogue in October 2022 co-organized by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, among other agencies, the Department of Budget and Management expressed confidence that the country will be “strong” to withstand inflation rate hikes and on track to achieve recovery and growth more than two years after the health crisis began.

The World Bank previously reported that they are seeing the Philippine economy ending 2022 “on a strong note”, with growth projections seen to surpass the country’s modest growth expectations pegged at 6.5 percent buoyed by the economy’s stellar nine-month performance from January 2022. A Reuter’s report, however, warns that the Philippine economy may lose its growth momentum next year due to factors including high inflation rates.

However, the same Reuters report suggests a solution to make 2023 another vibrant year for the Philippine economy: address the impact of soaring inflation and maintain sound fiscal policies while investing more in agriculture, education, and health.

Making way for a colorful, more sustainable future

Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR) gave a peek on how domestic companies were faring in terms of integrating sustainability in their business frameworks. The IBR, a survey of 5,000 mid-market businesses in 28 countries, shows that in 2022, only 7% of mid-market businesses in the Philippines reported on Scope 3 greenhouse gas emissions that the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) recently voted unanimously to require companies to disclose.

Nearly half or 49.5% of 101 mid-size firms which participated in the survey said they are currently reporting on Scopes 1 and 2 emissions which they described as mandatory for their sustainability initiatives. Meanwhile, 29.7% of companies surveyed cited they are reporting on Scopes 1 and 2 as a voluntary undertaking. Only 7.9% stated they are doing reports on their Scope 3 emissions. 

Scope 1 covers direct emissions from a company; scope 2 covers indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used; and scope 3 covers all other indirect emissions from the value chain.

Banking on resilience

In our previous article, we discussed business continuity and operational resilience – both valuable concepts that should be embedded in every company’s business framework.

The value of resilience has never been more underscored than during the pandemic when businesses had to bank on their ability to pivot and recoup from disruptions. This resilience paid off in 2022, with the DBS Bank of Singapore forecasting that the Philippine economy will likely “book the highest gross domestic product growth in 2023 and 2024 in the region despite the global headwinds”.

To new and colorful beginnings

Endings should be celebrated as much as beginnings, as the former offer more things to be excited about. While 2022 may not be as smooth sailing as we would have wanted it to be, there is so much to be thankful for, including stronger efforts toward sustainability, continued recovery from the pandemic, and our resilience that has enabled us to shine and power through.

With the start of another year, we are offered another chance for improvement and success. We have ended the previous year right with a “go beyond” mindset that the new year will bring more opportunities, big and small. As we begin to go through another 12 months of uncertainty about what this year will bring, may we be guided by hope and positive thinking that hard work always pays off, and that by keeping a bold, divergent mindset to forge new paths, we are another step closer to contributing to and seeing a more vibrant tomorrow.


As published in The Manila Times, dated 04 January 2023