Design & Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Food & Travel, Previous Events, Shopping & Consumption

Insights on Infiltration & Using Creativity for Climate Change


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Last June 21 at Bo’s Coffee in Glorietta 5, MUNI hosted Climate = Change, an afternoon of casual conversations with Filipinos changing systems for Climate Change. Pat Gallardo-Dwyer, Global Director for Sustainability for Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Jourdan Sebastian of Taclob, and Krie Reyes Lopez of Messy Bessy, shared their stories and insights on how they were able to make a dent on this mammoth issue.

MUNI Climate Change Bos

“Dream big. Strike big. Make a dent. Even if it’s just a dent, you can’t see it [at first], but if you look closely, you can…”

– Pat Gallardo-Dwyer

For Pat Gallardo-Dwyer, her mission is to help businesses act more responsibly, and give the public an option to living better. You don’t see this often, an NGO worker who eventually joined a large corporation. It’s like walking straight into the “enemy’s lair”, but for her, it was an opportunity to rally institutions to her side, to stir things from within the organization, and little by little drive changes towards social good.

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[L – R] Krie Reyes Lopez of Messy Bessy, Pat Gallardo-Dwyer of Shangri-La Hotels and Resort, and Jourdan Sebastian of Taclob
More often than not, profitability is a complication when aiming for sustainability. There lies Pat’s challenge – to propose changes that push for sustainability, but should at the same time make business sense.

When she proposed to take out shark’s fin from Shangri-La hotels’ menu, it was of course met with strong opposition. The revenues it generated for the company were sizable, not to mention the hotel chain is a Chinese company with a  huge Chinese clientele.

Winning the system over entailed legwork, going back and forth with specialists from different sectors within the company – chefs, operation managers, and finance executives. To make a valid business case, she needed to deeply understand the implications and offer possible alternatives. It took her years of lobbying with key stakeholders, top management, and board of directors. But she persisted.

Then finally, in January 2012, Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts officially announced the banning of shark’s fin from all of its branches. A very bold move – one that gives us hope that large corporations can also yield to sustainable change.

“We all dream. Some things take forever to happen but when they do, they happen for a reason.”

– Pat Gallardo-Dwyer

On the other hand, for Krie Reyes Lopez and Jourdan Sebastian, creativity is instrumental to influencing people’s perceptions and choices. While both shared the beginnings and motivations behind Messy Bessy and Taclob, they were quick to point out that their products were designed to offer market-driven solutions while promoting social good. To them, for the enterprise to succeed, the products have to stand for quality and need to appeal to consumers.

“When it comes to sustainability, you have to find a hook that’s sexy, bad ass, and rad, in order for people to jump on it. We are not selling sob stories. We are selling creativity.”

– Jourdan Sebastian

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Jourdan showing off Taclob’s sexy backpacks

The afternoon was capped off with like-minded individuals of different backgrounds, sharing their own ideas on systems they want to change. For people living in a not-so perfect world, we won’t have answers to all of the world’s problems. But we can choose the ones that irk us the most and try to make an impact.

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Speakers and participants exchanging ideas on current systems they want to change

“The question is knowing what you’re all about. Know your stuff… So that when people ask, they see that yours is an informed decision.”

 – Pat Gallardo-Dwyer

Be informed, be persistent, and be creative. Indeed, caring can be really cool. You just have to frame it well to make believers out of everyone else. In that sense, changing systems is part sound arguments and part woo. And for me, that was the afternoon’s key take away.

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Participants, resource speakers, and #Munions with the Munifesto: Your World, Your Choice

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