Ambassador Annika Thunborg, fellow workers in government, business leaders, our esteemed experts in sustainable business practices, members of the Sweden Alumni Network, ladies and gentlemen, god morgon – good morning!

First, I wish to thank the Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) Asia for organizing this event and offering the SIMP program to the Philippines. I know that our business leaders will learn a lot from the rich experience of Sweden in sustainable business practices, as we have seen how your country has successfully integrated sustainability and business. 

We look forward to Sweden’s introduction of these new models and technologies in the Philippines, because I believe that Sweden’s Smart Cities have best practices which coincide with several of our focus areas and priorities in our country as well.

In fact, one of our key priority areas for the country in terms of trade and investment is sustainable development. These are in the form of renewable energy, manufacturing of electronic vehicles (EVs), and green metals.

We are positioning the Philippines as a regional manufacturing hub for electronic vehicles (EV) and EV parts in ASEAN and thus, our government is giving this industry its full support in terms of incentives, among others. The Philippine EV ecosystem is currently composed of 54 manufacturers and importers and has generated more than 71,000 direct and indirect employment. We recognize that the future of transportation will be autonomous, connected, electric, and shared.

We look forward to the day when, just like in several Swedish cities, emission-free electric vehicles would become commonplace in our country. We marvel at your wireless electric roads and other solutions such as roads which auto charge electric vehicles. As the Philippines works to figure significantly in the e-vehicles market, we believe that mass transportation and private mobility solutions in Sweden can also be emulated here.

In terms of green metals, on the other hand, the Philippines is home to an estimated 1.1 billion metric tons of copper reserves, reputed to be among the highest in the world and fuels the global copper industry. The industry also employs 14,000 Filipinos and has an estimated value of more than USD 2 billion of annual copper product exports.

But more than just raw material exporting, we want to establish a downstream copper industry as we envision a fully integrated Philippine copper industry. Presently, there is an increasing demand being boosted by copper’s role in rapidly growing industrial sectors like electric vehicle batteries and semiconductor wiring.

Moreover, the Philippines is also one of the major sources of nickel worldwide. We ranked 6th in nickel reserves and 2nd in nickel production. The country has nickel reserves amounting to 2 billion metric tons and the country’s nickel industry employs 9,905 Filipinos in mines and processing plants.

Right now, the Philippines is working towards a clean energy scenario of 55% from renewables. Presently, only 29% comes from renewable energy. While still miles away from the achievements of Sweden, we can learn how Sweden has transformed its energy use. Our local energy sector is working toward not only to triple the current installed capacities, but also improving our energy mix.

The Department of Trade and Industry has several more initiatives on sustainability. Our Consumer Policy and Advocacy Bureau (CPAB) is currently taking the lead in developing the Sustainable Consumption Toolkit for the ASEAN Committee on Consumer Protection (ACCP). Our Consumer Protection Group (CPG), meanwhile, oversees our Memorandum of Agreement with Plastic Credit Exchange (PCX), helping communities through a system of offsetting their plastic footprint by means of a market-based plastic credit mechanism. It involves an efficient system for the aggregation, transport, treatment, processing, and disposal of used plastics to lessen the burden on local governments and the communities.

We are also involved in the Advanced Sustainable Consumption and Production Program that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emission with the support of GIZ and the United Nations (UN). Likewise, our Regional Operations Group (ROG) is also working with GIZ on Green Economic Development (GED) to help MSMEs adopt climate-smart, environment-friendly and inclusive strategies and measures.

All of these are incorporated under our sustainability and resilience agenda more aptly described as “Green Mindset, Green Industry.” These are focused on four pillars, namely, clean energy adoption, circular economy and green materials, future food, and business continuity. With this we leverage the tools of sustainability to improve the resilience of people and business.

Next month, we shall be launching an online trade platform that focuses on our role in global sustainability. We call this platform SSX or Sustainability Solutions Exchange. The SSX website,, is where the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and solution providers can proactively participate in a circular economy and pursue sustainable consumption and production. We look to the examples of Swedish brands such as IKEA and H&M that have introduced circular use of their products in the Philippines.

The Philippines shares Sweden’s perspective that sustainable development can only be achieved within the context of global and regional cooperation, and that a sustainable society is prepared to invest in two key resources – people and environment.

This is why we have introduced new amendments in several of our key legislations, easing foreign equity restrictions and attracting more global players that will modernize several sectors such as in telecommunications, shipping, air carriers, railways, and subways. We have amended the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and Public Service Act, and existing frameworks providing opportunities for better cooperation and partnership such as the Foreign Investments Act, Renewable Energy Act and Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act. Because of these, we can hope to see more sustainable business models and solutions introduced in the Philippines.

Under the direction of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, we have employed a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and thus, this approach governs our strategies for economic growth.

In closing, let me congratulate the Swedish Embassy and the Swedish Institute Management Programme (SIMP) for this effort. I was glad to hear that four (4) representatives from the Philippines have recently completed the SIMP program, and the fact that they are coming from a variety of sectors in the country is truly a welcome development.  Since 2016, a total of 24 participants from the Philippines have already successfully completed the program, and hopefully, more Filipino business leaders would avail of the program and learn to incorporate sustainability at the heart of their business strategies.

I highly encourage the alumni of SIMP Asia 2021 to continue to expand efforts in furthering business sustainability in the country.

Thank you, Tack! and mabuhay po tayong lahat! ♦

Date of Release: 18 February 2022