The National Ecolabelling Programme - Green Choice Philippines (NELP-GCP) is one of the country's initiatives to exercise the fundamentals of sustainable development. It aims to change the behavioral patterns in consumption and production that tend to misuse, abuse, and degrade our environment.
This voluntary third-party environmental declaration, which is guided by principles and procedures of ISO 14024, gained its legal footing when Republic Act 9003, "The Ecological Solid Waste Management Act of 2000," was signed by Her Excellency President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. RA 9003 states under Article 4, Section 27 that "the Department of Trade and Industry shall formulate and implement a coding system for packaging materials and products to facilitate waste recycling and reuse".
NELP-GCP envisions that environment friendly products or services are being produced and distributed in the country.
To date, NELP-GCP has granted the Seal of Approval to twenty-four (24) products under the categories of laundry detergent, cement, natural infill material, engine oil, ceramic tile, water-based paint, LED light, paper handtowel, tissue papers, induction lamp, electronic ballast, organic liquid disinfectant and photocopier. Also, the programme has developed and approved the environmental criteria for thirty-five (35) products and services, including tissue paper products, household batteries, engine oils, printing and writing paper products, crayons, fire extinguishers, cement, fluorescent lamps, electronic ballasts, paints, writing instruments, paper envelopes, paper boards, inkjet and toner cartridges, desktop and laptop computers, multi-function printing devices, printers, photocopiers, facsimile machines, liquid disinfectants, bath soaps, hair shampoos, and liquid dishwashing products.
Moreover, President Arroyo signed Executive Order 301 (EO 301), "Establishing a Green Procurement Program for All Departments, Bureaus, Offices and Agencies of the Executive Branch of Government," on 29 March 2004. EO 301 mandates the executive branch of government to create a program that will green its supply chain. The implementation of said policy is expected to jumpstart the demand for green products, at least for government purchasing activities.
NELP-GCP, through its administrator, Philippine Center for Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development, Inc. has also partnered with the Philippine Green Building Council, a group campaigning to green the building industry in the country by implementing a rating system. NELP-GCP will serve as a clearing house of information regarding the authenticity of the environmental claims of the construction and building materials used. This will form part of the criteria for certifying a building "green."
NELP-GCP also recognized the need to organize a group that would promote and patronize eco-labelled products and services. The members of said group will serve as the warm bodies who would create the demand for environmentally preferable products and rally behind the creation and enforcement of green purchasing policies.
Ecolabelling and green purchasing, as fundamental tools in influencing the patterns of production and consumption, must be sustained as these are among the key steps towards the path of green business practices.