CEBU

Aboitiz targets 9M trees by 2020

RENEWED PARTNERSHIP. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) renewed its partnership with Aboitiz Group on promoting ecological balance, including the latter’s goal of planting up to nine million trees by 2020. The memorandum of agreement signing was undertaken and witnessed by (from left) Carlos Aboitiz, Hedcor president and chief operating officer; David Jude Sta. Ana, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) chief corporate external affairs officer; Sabin M. Aboitiz, AEV chief operating officer; Jonas R. Leones, DENR undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs; Ricardo Calderon, DENR assistant secretary; and Nonito Tamayo, DENR-Forest Management Bureau director. (Contributed foto)

TRUE to its commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and minimize its environmental impact, Aboitiz Group disclosed that it is on track in reaching its nine million trees target by 2020.

As of 2018, Aboitiz Group had planted a total of 6.6 million trees (or 73 percent of the target) through its simultaneous tree-planting (STP) initiative.

STP is under A-Park, which is the group’s largest environmental program that supports the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Expanded National Greening Program (ENGP).

In time for the celebration of World Environment Day last June 5, 2019, Aboitiz and the DENR signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) as a renewal of partnership to sustain ecological balance.

The planting of nine million trees by the end of 2020 would mean the conversion of an estimated 189,000 tons of total carbon dioxide into oxygen, or the equivalent of about 9,000 hectares of lush reforested areas, or more than 37 times the size of Bonifacio Global City.

“I express my heartfelt thanks to Aboitiz Equity Ventures and Aboitiz Foundation Inc. for teaming up with the DENR once again for the attainment of nine million trees under the A-Park Project by 2020,” said DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu.

Cimatu praised Aboitiz’s efforts for the environment.

“It is heartening to know that working towards your corporate objective would also mean addressing poverty alleviation by engaging the services of the local people in forest activities like seedling production, plantation establishment and maintenance and protection, among others,” he said.

Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. executive vice president and chief operating officer Sabin M. Aboitiz reiterated the group’s commitment to the DENR’s programs.

“We strongly believe and adhere to the DENR’s mandate to protect the environment and we anchor our initiatives to the ENGP to sustain ecological balance. Our enduring partnership with the DENR for community-based forest management is a testament to our shared responsibility and it highlights our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action,” he said.

Since 2010, volunteers from Aboitiz Group have gathered in chosen planting sites in various parts of the country to plant indigenous trees as a manifestation of their commitment to environmental stewardship. Aboitiz is one of DENR’s active ENGP partners.

“This MOA signing is a crucial step towards ensuring continuity in making a positive impact on our national development. It represents the essence of the Aboitiz Group purpose and brand promise: to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities,” Aboitiz said.

In July, Aboitiz Group will further contribute to A-Park during its annual STP activity. An estimated 95,000 seedlings will be planted by Aboitiz team members and stakeholders nationwide.

Under the MOA, the DENR will offer additional support by mobilizing all its bureaus, attached agencies and DENR regional offices to provide support for the implementation of the A-Park project.

The DENR will also provide technical assistance in identifying possible sites for planting and species-site matching, and assisting in the documentation of planted trees, which includes geo-tagging, plantation registry and mapping.

The Aboitiz Group has invested nearly P500 million as part of its ongoing carbon management program. Other environmental programs include waste reduction through the group’s “Race to Reduce” program and the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, home to the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, locally known as pawikan. All these programs are strategically implemented among the business units of Aboitiz Group. (S)


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