By Stephanie Joy Ching | Businessmirror.com.ph
QUICK READ: Renewable energy company EDC has begun taking steps to become a regenerative business.
As the Philippines’ largest renewable energy company, the Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has always been at the forefront of providing not just sustainable energy, but sustainable living as well. For EDC, renewable power must not only reduce human and businesses’ carbon footprint, but should also “enable national development and create a better life for everyone today and tomorrow.”
“For over 40 years, our company has been rather quietly generating power from geothermal resources. As the Philippines’ premier renewable energy company that accounts for over 42% of the country’s total installed renewable energy capacity and as the world’s largest vertically integrated geothermal producer, we take pride in providing the country an essential service that is reliable and socially and environmentally responsible,” said EDC President and COO Richard Tantoco in a talk on the call to be regenerative that he recently delivered as part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and Focolare Movement’s joint celebration of the Season of Creation, a celebration of praise and thanksgiving to God for the beauty and bounty of creation held every year.
The task of delivering such an essential service, however, is not without its share of challenges. Tantoco admitted that despite the efforts made to reduce carbon emissions, humans have a much shorter window of time than previously realized. With the Antarctic reaching record high temperatures of 20.75 to 38 degrees Celsius, various forest fires, and entire coral reefs rapidly dying across the world, it is predicted that the Earth may become unlivable by 2100.
“Today, we have a narrowing window left to keep warming within the desired 1.5 degrees Celsius agreed to in Paris under the 21st meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21), or watch it run away from us irreversibly,” he warned. “The upcoming decade of the 2020s will critically determine whether we succeed or not. To succeed, humanity needs to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 6 percent every year until we achieve net zero emissions in 2050.”
Given this short time to save the planet, it is clear that relying solely on sustainable practices is no longer feasible. Instead, EDC now recommends that companies must shift to a regenerative model if we are to save our only home.
According to “The Regenerative Business” author Carol Sanford, regeneration is “a paradigm and accompanying set of capabilities based on the awareness that every life form is unique and nested within other, larger living systems.” It goes beyond sustainability as the individual makes decisions to “benefit the living wholes within which it is embedded and receives benefits from these wholes in return.” In other words, it is a communal mindset that constantly considers how certain decisions will affect the larger community.
Unlike more traditional business models, it does not endanger anything or anyone in the name of profit, but rather it finds balanced ways to contribute “to the health of the whole.”
In EDC’s case, this means that they must look at their business “from a wider lens than just profitability” and have even more positive impact on the world.
This year, EDC and the rest of the Lopez Group of companies have crystallized their mission of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.
“It’s a deliberately high bar and we are nothing short of humbled by it. But we expect this short, ten-word phrase to be the beacon that guides us through this turbulent decade and beyond,” said Tantoco.
The Baslay coffee projects is one of EDC’s most successful CSR projects that transformed three generations of slash and burn farmers or kaingeros to forest guardians who now produce one of the country’s best coffee beans. They were also able to put up their own coffee shop at their coffee plantation in Dauin, Negros Oriental where foreign backpackers and local tourists frequent.
While the company has not yet become fully regenerative, Tantoco shared that they have started to take steps towards a regenerative mode of conducting business. To start, they have committed to making business decisions that are in line with the interests of their employees, community, environment, shareholders, customers, partners, contractors, and suppliers.
This ideology is most evidently shown in EDC’s COVID-19 response, where they provided their skeletal workforce basic necessities such as shelter, groceries, and stable internet connection. Not only that, but they also offered to vaccinate all employees and their families against flu and pneumonia and provided counselling and special interest development services to keep employees happy and to keep their mental health in check.
Outside of their employees, EDC has also set up PCR testing centers and donated medical supplies to their partner communities, effectively helping frontliners in the fight against COVID-19. They also invest heavily in education, mentoring and supporting deserving students to achieve their dreams. In addition to this, they also took to teaching and demonstrating the value of environmental stewardship, transforming farmers into green warriors who will pass on the knowledge and passion of living in harmony with the earth to the next generation.
Through these endeavors, EDC has shown that businesses can help improve the state of nature, forming a symbiotic relationship that will make sure humanity and the planet are able to survive past 2100.
“We must all play unique, reciprocal, and synchronized roles in a world that needs to be healed,” concluded Tantoco, “We know that the issues confronting us are so huge that we need everyone’s help. We will only successfully fulfill our mission if we collaborate with others.”
The Energy Development Corporation (EDC) is a pioneer in generating 100% clean, renewable, and reliable power as an electricity supplier in the Philippines for over 40 years. With power plants all over Visayas and Mindanao, the company is one of the biggest producers of geothermal energy in Asia and is expanding its reach in the international market, allowing it to offer customers affordable energy rates. EDC also strives to provide the best customer service it can to all its clients by having helpful salespeople and easy to understand contracts. Because of all of this, it is poised to become the premier supplier of electricity for the Philippines’ Green Energy Option Program. EDC takes its mission as a renewable energy provider seriously and goes beyond sustainability by investing in programs that enhance the environment and empower its partner communities, thereby fostering regenerative development. The company has also been working toward being carbon-neutral by improving its energy efficiency, as well as implementing various greening projects to ensure that its mission to provide future generations with a better life remains intact.