International Coastal Cleanup Environmental Summit 2018: Engaging the Youth for a Sustainable Future
Updated: Aug 16
Subic Bay, Zambales—Plastics accumulating in our oceans is one of the greatest environmental challenges that the world faces today. Every year, millions of pounds of plastic waste flow into the oceans from the coastal region. If present trends continue, it is expected that it will outweigh all the fish in the sea by 2050.
This threat demands aggressive action, which only a few organizations and countries are taking at heart. The International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), a global movement celebrated every third Saturday of September yearly and being participated by more than 100 countries across the globe including the Philippines, is doing its best to encourage communities towards one common goal: collect and document the trash litters in the coastline.
Last September 27 and 28, the ICC Philippines held its 4th ICC Environmental Summit, a supplement to the annual International Coastal Cleanup movement in Zambales, at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC.)
“It has been a long journey going here and we are happy with what the ICCPH Environmental Summit has become. This annual conference first started in 2014 since we believe that beach cleanup alone is not enough,” said Zed Avecilla, area coordinator of ICC Zambales and Executive Director of Lighthouse Legacy Foundation. “The Lighthouse Marina Resort Legacy Foundation is very much committed to protecting our environment and come up with ways to expand and bring more people to this kind of advocacy,” Avecilla added.
“Our job in cleaning up our surroundings can only be done or finished when people become disciplined enough to properly dispose of their garbage and to help in the waste management of their communities,” said Senator Cynthia Villar, Chairperson for Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, during her inspirational message to the youth about protecting our environment.
Partners for change
Among the highlights of this year’s summit is the launch of the Youth Empowerment Symposium (#YES18), which focuses on empowering the youth by tapping into the best practices of top Filipinos and global organizations to inspire the next generation of leaders. Key executives and some members of the Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Materials Sustainability (PARMS) including Coca-Cola, Proctor & Gamble, Unilever, and Nestle all jointly participated in the event by sharing the steps they are making to challenge the norms and systems on managing their environmental impacts.
“Not only are we going to make sure that every package we have is recyclable, but we are also committed to making sure that by 2030, 50% of all the material in our packaging is made of recycled material,” said Winn Everhart, President and General Manager of Coca-Cola Philippines. Early this year, Coca-Cola International announced their ambitious goal to collect all PET bottles and aluminum cans they produce to sell. This goal is the centerpiece of the Company’s new vision for a World Without Waste, which the Coca-Cola system intends to back with a multi-year investment that includes ongoing work to make packaging 100% recyclable.
“As a company, we want to grow while reducing our environmental impact and growing our positive social impact. In everything we do, from the time we started until now, we are very serious about this mission,” said Ed Sunico, VP for Sustainable Business and Communications of Unilever Philippines.
“Our Vision is that none of our packaging ends up in the landfills or as litter. By 2025, 100% of our packaging will be recyclable or reusable,” said Jess Reyes, VP for Corporate Affairs of Nestle Philippines. “We are guided by our ambitions to enable and inspire a positive impact on how people interact with their environment. For us, it becomes imperative that we change how we do our business and operate more sustainably,” said Ana Legarda, Head of Communications of Proctor & Gamble Philippines.
“PARMS symbolizes what is possible if we all work together towards a common goal. We are very happy to partner with them this year and allowing us to learn, understand and be inspired by what their organization is about” said Avecilla.
During the program, the present members of PARMS together with its President Crispian Lao and Vice-President Bert Guevara signed a pledge wall witnessed by Senator Cynthia Villar for their commitment to protect and preserve our environment.