“I have the duty to hope.”

These are the words of Ms. Nanette Medved-Po, founder of Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX), when asked what keeps her inspired and enlightened to continue the fight against plastic pollution during her interview with the veteran CNN broadcast journalist, Mr. Rico Hizon.

Alarming State of Plastic Pollution in the Philippines

The Philippines produces a huge amount of waste and ranks as the world's third-largest contributor to ocean plastic pollution, as indicated by a 2015 study published in the Science journal. Adding to this alarming state of plastic pollution in the Philippines is the country's identification as a "sachet economy," where numerous items are vended in compact, budget-friendly, and disposable packets known as "sachets." As a result, the amount of plastic waste has increased at an alarming rate since the invention of the material, causing environmental problems on a global scale.

Duty to Hope

Throughout history, “hope” has always been an integral part of humanity’s story, driving us to seek innovative and sustainable solutions in the face of adversity. In the context of plastic pollution, we witnessed a game-changing regulation that instills hope in the hearts of many, fostering a collective sense of responsibility to tackle plastic waste at its source—the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Act of 2022.

The recent DENR’s launch of its EPR campaign entitled “Loopforward; Linking Opportunities and Partnerships Towards Circular Economy through EPR,” marks a significant shift in how we approach plastic waste management. Aiming for plastic neutrality by recovering their plastic packaging waste, Obliged Enterprises (OEs) are mandated to implement EPR programs. Moreover, micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are encouraged to partake voluntarily, further solidifying the commitment of businesses in the fight against plastic pollution.

Duty to Act: Fostering Collaborative Networks

Punongbayan and Araullo (P&A Grant Thornton), one of the leading auditing and consulting firms in the Philippines, has been at the forefront of helping clients drive sustainability and ESG. It has also integrated sustainability into its operations. Recognizing the urgency of the plastic waste crisis, the Firm has embraced the duty to hope and partnered with PCX. As one of PCX’s official trusted partners for independent third-party plastic footprint verification, P&A Grant Thornton, together with the other PCX partners, plays a pivotal role in promoting responsible plastic waste management practices.

Furthermore, P&A Grant Thornton also registered with the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) to expand its reach and provide support to the latter’s members.

Through its plastic footprint verification (and later, EPR compliance audit) services, P&A Grant Thornton supports the government’s initiatives on addressing the plastic waste crisis by enabling OEs, particularly those affiliated with PCX and PARMS, as well as sustainability partners pursuing PCX's Ecolabel Certification, to meet their compliance requirements under the EPR Act of 2022. By providing businesses with support to quantify and manage their plastic waste, P&A Grant Thornton empowers them to take tangible steps towards a more sustainable future.

Duty to Act: Building Bridges for a Greener Tomorrow

While the EPR represents a remarkable leap forward, it also presents challenges for companies transitioning to more eco-friendly practices. P&A Grant Thornton understands these concerns and is committed to addressing them. The Firm, consistent with its thrust of promoting sustainability, offers tailored solutions and support to assist OEs, collectives, and Producer Responsibility Organizations (PROs), including forward-looking MSMEs, in bridging the gap with the EPR.

By providing guidance and resources to clients, P&A Grant Thornton aims to empower businesses to navigate the changing landscape of plastic waste management successfully. Through collaboration and shared responsibility, the Firm strives to create an ecosystem that nurtures sustainable practices and promotes environmental stewardship across industries.

Embracing the Duty to Hope and Act for a Sustainable Future

In a world grappling with numerous environmental challenges, hope and action emerge as the cornerstones of our efforts to build a sustainable future. The passage of the EPR Act of 2022 in the Philippines presents a transformative step towards a plastic-free tomorrow. P&A Grant Thornton, a firm that commits to a more sustainable future, will continuously show its unwavering support to businesses to navigate this new journey for the businesses to play their part in shaping a greener, cleaner, and more responsible world.

Together, let us embrace the duty to hope and take concrete actions, for it is hope that will guide us towards a brighter, more sustainable future where plastic pollution has been overcome and the harmony between human progress and environmental preservation is achieved. Through collaboration and collective action, we can turn hope into a powerful force for positive change, leaving a lasting legacy of a healthier planet for generations to come.


As published in The Manila Times, dated 06 September 2023