MPIC supports ASEAN Green Initiative through its groupwide environmental programs

In line with the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC) commits to fully support the ASEAN Green Initiative (AGI) led by the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB).

“As the Philippines’ leading infrastructure investment Company, MPIC is well-positioned to help advance ACB’s goals and objectives” said MPIC Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

The ACB is ASEAN’s response to the challenge of biodiversity loss. It is an intergovernmental organization that facilitates cooperation and coordination among the ten ASEAN Member States (AMS) and with regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity, and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such natural treasures.

ACB recently launched the AGI to encourage and incentivize the planting of at least 10 million trees throughout the ASEAN Region over a period of 10 years using native species. This demonstrates the regional cooperation led by the AMS in recognizing local and national activities to promote the restoration and sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems. It also encourages the adoption of nature-based solutions to address biodiversity loss and respond to climate change through grassroots actions.

In his Opening Remarks, H.E Kung Phoak, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community discussed the value of preserving and restoring ASEAN’s rich biodiversity as it hosts megadiverse ecosystems. It is home to 18% of the world’s known plants and animals, 60% of tropical peatlands, and 42% of mangroves. He also added that these natural resources are at risk because of climate change, oil exploitation, rapid land conversion, human-induced pollution, and illegal wildlife trade. These have resulted to serious consequences that affect people’s livelihood, food security, health and resiliency.

“Allow me to stress that the difference a simple tree planting can make has never been trivial or inconsequential, especially now with environmental crises that we are experiencing, the link between the loss of biodiversity and the rise of diseases and pandemics is undeniable” said ACB’s Executive Director, Dr. Theresa Mundita S. Lim. “The AGI primarily aims to usher in coordinated tree planting activities across ASEAN that are anchored on sound scientific principles and are aligned to contribute positively to the region’s overarching commitment to restore and sustainably use the region’s rich and diverse ecosystems.”

MPIC, represented by its Chief Finance, Risk and Sustainability Officer Chaye A. Cabal-Revilla, was invited by ACB as the sole private sector representative in the AGI launch.

Integrating business and environmental stewardship in investment strategies

During the said event, Ms. Cabal-Revilla emphasized the Group’s sustainability philosophy of integrating business and environmental stewardship in their investment strategies. This is evident in how MPIC designs, builds, and operates their businesses with minimal environment and social disruption. The group’s Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway, for example, was carefully designed and built to protect the existing 278-hectare mangrove ecosystem and avoid disruption to the fisherfolk communities in the area.

Investing in environmental protection programs

It was also an opportunity to bring awareness to MPIC’s Gabay Kalikasan environmental programs such as Metro Pacific Investments Foundation’s Shore It Up! that has institutionalized initiatives on the conservation of marine and coastal biodiversity for the past 13 years. Aside from creating livelihood opportunities for coastal communities, Shore It Up! has protected over 5,300 hectares of mangroves across its three Mangrove Protection/Propagation and Information Centers.

MPIC’s presentation also highlighted the group’s existing reforestation programs that were developed to offset the carbon footprint in its operations.  These include Meralco’s “One for Trees” program that aims to rehabilitate ecosystems through reforestation and agroforestry by planting at least five (5) million trees by 2025; Maynilad’s “Plant for Life” program that engages the Dumagat indigenous community to reforest the denuded Ipo Watershed – a vital source of water for Metro Manila; and Global Business Power’s carbon sink forestry project in the Visayas region that empowers local communities in planting endemic tree species, high value crops, and fruit-bearing trees, which can eventually become a source of sustainable income for the locals.

With the increasing push towards digitalization, the Group has also taken strides to protect nature through collaboration and technology, advocating the use of new platforms and technologies to promote greater environmental responsibility. MPIC and MPIF recently forged a partnership with Rainforest Connection and Huawei for the deployment of an Internet of Things (IoT) solution to protect the country’s rainforests.

Protecting nature through collaboration and technology

Ms. Cabal-Revilla also emphasized the pivotal role of strengthening partnerships and increasing collaboration as well as regional cooperation in restoring rich forest ecosystems. In line with this, the Group is collaborating with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the Laguna Lake Development Authority under the LAWA (Laguna de Bay Welfare Awareness) campaign. This project aims to align rehabilitation efforts across the Group and formulate a cohesive action plan to protect Laguna Lake, a critical water source for Metro Manila and neighboring areas.

As MPIC fosters an inclusive approach in its sustainability programs, the Company, together with the rest of the MVP Group of Companies, also launched six (6) Gabay advocacies for a sustainable Philippines with specific focus areas on environmental stewardship, livelihood, health and sports, youth, education and community empowerment. These advocacies encapsulate the Group’s efforts towards the attainment of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Our individual actions create a ripple effect and serve as the foundation of pervasive impact. If we work together and promote collective action, we can accelerate our efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change and halt biodiversity loss,” said Cabal-Revilla. “We need to implement meaningful initiatives that are aimed at creating a sustainable and crisis-resilient future for all.”

Beyond the newly launched ASEAN Green Initiative, MPIC will broaden its partnership with the ACB and work with the organization in identified areas of collaboration, particularly the #WeAreASEANBiodiversity campaign that calls for everyone’s participation to save the planet and restore biodiversity.

“We are grateful to the ACB for the opportunity to jointly implement programs that are in line with our shared goal of protecting the environment” said MPIC President and CEO, Jose Ma. K. Lim.

MPIC’s support for the ASEAN Green Initiative is aligned with its commitment to contributing to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG#13 Climate Action which focuses on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; and SDG # 15 Life on Land that aims to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.


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