Economist tells youth: Be drivers of sustainable development | Inquirer Lifestyle

Economist tells youth: Be drivers of sustainable development

Economist Bernardo M. Villegas advised the Filipino youth to take charge of the country’s sustainable development by being its most active agents of change.


He gave this advice to some 300 high school and college students at the recent Shell Sustainable Development (SD) Youth Congress held at the University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P) in Ortigas Center, Pasig City.


“(To) empowered young people, my unsolicited advice is for you to emulate what Shell has done for nearly 100 years,” said Villegas, citing Shell’s innovative methods in meeting future energy demand.


He said, “As the energy company moves toward its hundred years of doing business in the Philippines, it continues to help the government in nation building and powering communities in a more sustainable manner.”


The SD Youth Congress, now on its third year, is an important sustainable development program of Shell for the youth. This year’s theme centered on nation building, which is also the overarching theme of the gas technology and energy leader’s 100-year anniversary in 2014.


Villegas stressed that Shell focused on diversifying the energy mix in the country by delivering cleaner-burning natural gas and smarter products for clean and fuel-efficient transport.


These investments in natural gas exploration, oil refinery and distribution of smarter petroleum products and lubricant technology have greatly contributed to economic growth.


He cited how the Malampaya Deep Water Gas-to-Power Project significantly reduced the country’s dependence on oil and coal imports for power generation while generating substantial revenues for the government.


Villegas also cited Shell as a role model for responsible corporate citizenship, with its institutionalized social investment programs through the Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI).


PSFI’s orientation toward sustainable development is evident in its focus on capacity building and skills training. It has trained millions of out-of-school youth to become skilled workers, who can be employed by other companies or who can independently develop their own sources of livelihood.


“The first social responsibility of a businessman is to protect the welfare of the consumers; then to be completely concerned about the welfare of their workers; and then to promote sustainable development in its community—all helping promote nation building in the Philippines,” said Villegas.