Bunye: Transitioning toward a low carbon economy

BELIEVING that all our efforts will be for naught if the environment we live in has already been damaged beyond repair, Ayala President and CEO Fernando Zobel de Ayala (FZA), formally announced last week the conglomerate's commitment to take the lead in transitioning toward a low carbon economy.

"Today, we are announcing our commitment to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. We are aligning ourselves to the global movement for climate action as our way to help secure our country's future from the threats brought by climate change," FZA said.

FZA made the commitment as he keynoted Ayala’s 3rd Integrated Summit on Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Sustainability. The summit featured thought leaders on the theme "Pathway to Recovery Through ESG." The summit was attended by nearly 600 executives, leaders and sustainability champions across the conglomerate, as well as partners and friends from different sectors and industries.

Relevant portions of FZA's keynote speech are reproduced below:

"Climate action is an existential issue for all of us. I believe that businesses, given their scale and resources should take the lead in transitioning communities towards a low carbon economy, informed by science, constructive dialogue and cooperation.

"As a diverse group of companies in strategic industries, we believe that we have the capabilities and collective will to make this happen. To achieve net zero by 2050, we will build on existing projects as well as explore many new ones that are relevant and appropriate.

"For instance, we have Project Kasibulan, our reforestation, forest protection and biodiversity conservation program to be piloted in the island of Mindoro. AC Energy has already been at the forefront of shifting towards a fully renewable energy portfolio. We will also explore and expand nature-based solutions. Ayala Land's carbon forest and AC Energy's conservation estate in Ilocos Norte are noteworthy models we can consider in revitalizing and conserving our grasslands, micro-forests and wetlands.

"As we embark on our net zero in 2050 ambition, we fully understand that this ambition will be an unprecedented and challenging journey. And it will require courage, collaboration and two-way communications. Thus, in this journey we will be engaging reputable experts to guide us along the right path. We are partnering with South Pole, a leading project developer and global climate solutions provider that has worked with some of the world's largest institutions on their own climate ambitions. I will also regularly report our progress, share our learnings and work with like-minded peers to develop collaborative and comprehensive solutions to present and future climate challenges.

"Already some of our companies have started to make some significant moves towards our collective ambition. As an example, AC Energy and Ayala Land have recently signed a power supply agreement where our 120 megawatt solar plant in Alaminos, Laguna will supply Ayala Land's commercial properties up to 2050. AC Energy and BPI meanwhile have agreed to work together towards the early retirement of our coal facility at SLTEC (in Calaca, Batangas) by 2040, 15 years ahead of its technical life.

"These are just some of the initiatives we have, as we steadily move towards net zero greenhouse gas emissions. I look forward to providing more details about the many other projects included in Ayala's net zero by 2050 ambition in the coming weeks.

"...(I) remain a steadfast believer that sustainability, personified by ESG, will be our concrete pathway toward recovery.

"...(A)t no time in our history have we witnessed such an intense movement to do good for the planet and for society. The pandemic and the social and economic challenges that followed, triggered a deep reflection within every one that our ecosystems are highly fragile and that our collective survival and success depends on making concrete steps to do better and become better.

"I have faith that this movement will only broaden and strengthen as more economies and institutions reach the same conclusion.

"Our commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 signifies Ayala's intent to contribute to the greater good and to be a significant partner for sustainable development, a progressive Philippines, and a better world.

"We are delighted to start this ambitious journey. We will work with all our companies, and beyond, to take the necessary steps towards significant and long lasting change."

Speakers, panelists and resource persons during the integrated summit included the following: Atty. Mon Hermosura, AC Chief Governance Officer; Dr. Mark Mobius, founding partner, Mobius Capital Partners LLC; Eric Francia, President and CEO of AC Energy Corporation; Shoon Yin Lim, Global Diversity and Inclusion Expert, Givaudan; Franziska Sinner, Senior Director, Corporate Sustainability Advisory, South Pole; Peter Bakker, President and CEO, World Business Council for Sustainable Development; Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Chairman, Ayala Corporation; Cezar P. Consing, Chairman, Sustainability Committee, Ayala Corporation; Yvonne Zhang, SEA Risk Advisory Sustainability and Climate Leader, Deloitte Singapore; Erel and Lilian Narida, President and VP Finance, respectively, of One Renewable; and Albert de Larrazabal, CFO/CRO/CSO, Ayala Corporation.

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