The Pacific Community (SPC) recently facilitated a first regional workshop last 5th and 6th of July to strengthen Institutional Social and Environmental Responsibility (SER) as part of efforts to engage in mainstreaming Social and Environmental Safeguards and promote climate and environmentally responsible programs and corporate operations.
The workshop was attended by 12 representatives from The University of the South Pacific (USP), Pacific Island Forum Secretariat (PIFS), South Pacific Travel Organisation (SPTO), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International, Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF), Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), the European Union and the USAID climate Ready Programme.
SER is a management concept to develop good corporate practices in an ethical and sustainable way to manage the organisation’s impacts in social, environmental, climate and economic fields while obtaining the maximum benefits for the whole society.
Funded by the French Pacific Funds and coordinated by SPC’s Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Programme, the initiative provided an opportunity to gain knowledge about SER and learn from each other’s experience with the overall objective of institutional strengthening.
The French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), also took part in the workshop to highlight relevant activities already implemented in French overseas territories’ and to develop a network between Francophone and Anglophone countries.
While the represented organisations are yet to develop or implement a comprehensive SER strategy, the workshop demonstrated a strong interest to engage in SER across the region.
Participating organisations recognized the value of SER mitigating and managing their social and environmental risks and impacts, as well as the opportunity to identify needs and existing opportunities to strengthen SER in the region, especially related to human resources, technical tools or guidance.
“There is an increased awareness on the environment among our institutions, with many climate change discussions currently taking place. Social and Environmental Responsibility is an unusual topic discussed during a workshop, yet it is a great opportunity to identify synergies between regional organisations to strengthen sustainable development,” SPC Deputy Director-General, Dr Audrey Aumua said.
"While it is up to each organisation to develop their own SER policies, this forum provides an opportunity to reflect on SER in our organisations and in our environment, identify challenges, to have an exchange on experiences in a safe place as this represents also a question of shifting culture” Dr Aumua added.
Aude CHENET, SPC Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, [email protected]