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The Oscar M. Lopez Center for Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management (OML Center) hosted “The Climate Dialogues” last April 30 at the Aruga Café by Mesclun in Rockwell Center, Makati. The two-hour forum and networking event featured international business strategist and author Andrew Winston and brought together a select multi-sectoral group of Philippine leaders and influencers to engage in conversations on climate responsiveness.

In his opening remarks, OML Center’s Executive Director Dr. Rodel Lasco gave an overview of the state of the Philippine climate, highlighting trends such as the continuously increasing overall temperature and diminishment of natural resources. He then reiterated the importance of using today’s access to information in learning about climate change.

The event’s keynote speaker, Andrew Winston, underscored that if businesses will continue with unsustainable practices and if government will refuse to enforce policies on carbon emissions, the Earth will be uninhabitable in a few decades. Some companies have already made the shift to more sustainable business models, but others should follow suit for climate and business continuity’s sake. Mr. Winston also made special mention of young people who are more proactive in protesting against climate change inaction and in choosing to work for companies that uphold similar values and advocacies.

The keynote was followed by a dialogue moderated by Dr. Benito Teehankee of De La Salle University. Issues and concerns raised during the dialogue include the need for more effective climate change communication, the role of big corporations in helping small businesses become more sustainable, private sector participation in the government’s climate initiatives, the necessity of green investments from the government and private sectors, the challenges of inciting climate action with leaders who are climate change deniers, and the pitfalls of Gen Z and millennial environmental activism.

The Climate Dialogues was the first of a series to be held by the Center to inspire further discussion and action on climate change. It was an exclusive event with 50 attendees from 24 organizations, namely the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation, Ayala Corporation, British Embassy Manila, Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, Century Pacific Food, Inc., Climate Change Commission, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Finance, First Philippine Holdings, Embassy of France to the Philippines and Micronesia, Global Compact Network Philippines, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Land Bank, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., Masungi Georeserve Foundation, Philippine Business for Social Progress, Philippine Business for the Environment, Philippine Disaster Resilience Foundation, Philippine National Bank, Pilmico Food Corporation, Royal Cargo, Inc., World Agroforestry Center Philippines, SM Investments Corporation, and UNDP Philippines.

More information on climate change in the Philippines is available in the State of the Philippine Climate, Philippine Climate Change Assessment, and the Philippine Climate Almanac.

Aside from being OML Center’s Executive Director, Dr. Rodel Lasco is also the Country Coordinator of the World Agroforestry Centre and a coordinating lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is a multi-awarded scientist with over 80 technical publications in national and international journals on natural resources conservation and environmental management.

Mr. Andrew Winston is the author of “The Big Pivot”, a practical guide to help leaders build resilient, thriving companies and communities in a volatile world. He is the founder of Winston Eco-Strategies and a globally-recognized speaker on business sustainability. For more information on Mr. Winston, visit his website.

Dr. Benito Teehankee is the Jose L. Cuisia Professor of Business Ethics and a full professor of Management and Organization at De La Salle University’s Ramon V. del Rosario College of Business.