2020 Integrated Report

Natural Capital

Regenerating Our Natural Resources for the Future

EDC acknowledges that nature is the foundation for our business and that therefore, we must take responsibility for the resources we utilize. EDC adopts the “system value” strategy to future-proof our businesses. Business success and the prosperity of society are linked, but both of these depend on the quality and condition of the environment. We recognize that our business and the society in which we operate this business, can only thrive within a healthy and stable environment.
EDC’s deep commitment to environmental stewardship is beyond compliance. We aim to not only safeguard the environment, but also to actually enhance forests and biodiversity in our areas of operation. By protecting and enhancing the forest cover in our work sites, we ensure the delivery of optimum forest goods and services that not only help in the recharge of the geothermal and hydropower reservoirs but also serve the various publics and industries that are dependent on the watershed.
EDC complies with all applicable environmental laws and regulations. We monitor the performance of our facilities. We manage our use of natural resources and the impact of our activities to ensure that we remain a good neighbor to our host communities and a responsible corporate citizen.

Natural Capital Data

EDC depends on freshwater resources for operational and domestic purposes. We require fresh water for cooling systems, as well as for occasional geothermal well drilling and related activities. EDC also uses water for fire-pump testing, maintenance activities, laboratory operations, and domestic use. Our cascading hydropower plant in Nueva Ecija utilizes surface water, which is released for irrigation. We only harness the kinetic energy of water flow when the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) decides to release water for agricultural purposes.

Our geothermal operations are located in watersheds that are drained by perennial rivers and springs that serve as sources of water supply. These include the BacMan catchment (Manitohan, Cawayan, Botong, Gayong/Osiao, Rizal, and San Isidro river sub-catchments) in Albay and Sorsogon; the Bao River and Kanawagan River catchment in Leyte; the Matingao-Marbel River catchment in North Cotabato; and the Okoy-Banica River catchment in Negros Oriental. 

Based on the 2019 World Resources Institute (WRI) Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas1, our geothermal operations are located in regions with low and low-to-medium water stress2. Our hydropower plant in Nueva Ecija, however, is within a region with medium to high water stress. The table below provides information on EDC’s water withdrawal for geothermal operations with respect to the surface water flow of the catchments.

Water Withdrawal and Catchment Surface Water Flows in Geothermal Sites

Site
River Watershed Sources*
Water Withdrawal (in ML)
Catchment’s Surface Water Flow (in ML, per normalized rainfall)
% Withdrawal / Catchment Surface Water Flow
BacMan

BacMan catchment: Manitohan, Cawayan, Botong, Gayong/Osiao, Rizal, San Isidro Rivers sub-catchments

57.45
506,872.55
0.01
Leyte
Bao River catchment
1,460.97
172,175.30
0.85
Mindanao
Matingao-Marbel River catchment
210.90
127,154.38
0.17
Southern Negros
Okoy-Banica River catchment
267.21
153,525.07
0.17
*Water sources are not located within protected or biodiversity areas.
WATER WITHDRAWAL
Total Water Withdrawal, in Megaliters (ML)*
LOCATION
2017
2018
2019
2020
BacMan
37.3
21.4
19.18
57.78

Leyte

302.1
582.8
1705.7
1475.90
Southern Negros
255.8
201.2
257.7
267.81
Mindanao
203.8
263.9

217.28

211.05

Nueva Ecija**
1,716,924.2

1,636,948.9

1,896,683.0

1,916,435.01

Ilocos Norte

1.5

1.3

3.1

2.1

Head Office
4.5
7.0

4.1

1.6

TOTAL
1,717,729.2
1,638,026.6
1,898,762.0
1,918,451.3
*Includes surface water, groundwater, and third-party water.
**The Pantabangan hydropower facility in Nueva Ecija only harnesses the kinetic energy of surface water released by the National Irrigation Administration (NIA) for irrigation purposes.

Direct Emissions (Scope 1). EDC’s direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions come primarily from the venting of non-condensable gases (NCGs) from geothermal power plants and steam fields. This accounts for 99% of all EDC’s GHG emissions, including indirect emissions (Scope 2 and 3).
In the process of geothermal production, steam from deep within the earth is used to drive the steam turbine, which generates electricity. Afterward, the steam is condensed and reinjected into the geothermal reservoir. Some gases in the steam, however, are non-condensable and are dispersed in the atmosphere by cooling tower fans.
These inert, non-condensable gases are composed of about 98-99% CO2 and also contain traces of methane (CH4), both of which are classified as GHG. These non-condensable gases are also released in the steam field during the testing of newly drilled wells and routine venting of existing wells.
In 2020, EDC’s facilities emitted a total of 964,436 tonnes of equivalent CO2. This is a 13% increase over last year’s emissions. This increase in direct CO2 emissions is primarily due to the amount of CO2 in the steam extracted across all geothermal fields.
Direct GHG Emissions (Scope 1)

Indirect Emissions from Electricity Consumption (Scope 2).EDC’s electricity consumption dropped significantly due to the implementation of work-from-home (WFH) and shelter-in-place (SIP) arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Of our project sites, only the Burgos Wind Project did not post such a reduction, with its consumption remaining more less within its average range. The pandemic did not have any notable effect on the Burgos Wind Project since bulk of its consumption is for the operation of wind turbines. During low wind conditions, the wind farm purchases electricity from the grid to power the various sensors in each of its wind turbines.
Indirect GHG Emissions from Purchased Electricity (Scope 2)

Other Indirect Emissions (Scope 3). EDC’s Scope 3 emissions represent the fuel consumption of rented vehicles and industrial equipment of contractors, such as generator sets and pumps. Activity data included in our Scope 3 emissions also include employee business travel. Due to the mobility restrictions imposed by the pandemic, business travel was reduced, resulting in EDC’s lowest Scope 3 emissions to date.

Other Indirect GHG Emissions (Scope 3)

Emissions intensity, such as carbon intensity, is the emission rate of a given pollutant relative to a business metric. In the case of EDC, the business metric is megawatt-hours (MWh). Overall, EDC retained its carbon intensity of 0.1 tonnes of equivalent CO2 per MWh. Our energy facilities have significantly lower carbon emissions compared to the national grids, which are composed mostly of fossil fuel-based power plants. The carbon intensity of EDC facilities is seven times lower than the grid and eight to nine times lower than an average coal plant. This provides our customers a green option to reduce their own carbon footprint. Bottomline, our low carbon operation contributes in decarbonizing the nation.
EDC’s Carbon Intensity Vs. Other Technologies and the National Grid

Source: World Bank, 2014; Department of Energy (DOE) Emission Factor, 2015-2017

Waste Management
As part of our commitment to protecting the environment, we strive to prevent pollution by properly managing waste throughout our operations. With respect to waste management, EDC follows the Waste Management Hierarchy by reducing, as much as possible, the disposal of waste in landfills. We do this by employing waste minimization methodologies in our operations and support processes.
We also aim to reduce our generation of hazardous wastes through process improvements and changes in our use of raw materials. For instance, we made the switch to chromium-free drilling chemicals. Our laboratories have also improved their operations by substituting regulated chemicals with non-regulated chemicals and by reducing the volume of samples, which translates to less waste.
In the process of our operations, we also generate hazardous wastes such as cooling tower sludge, used oil, used batteries, lab wastes, electronic wastes, medical wastes, and other domestic waste such as kitchen oil. However, 80% of our hazardous wastes were diverted out of landfills in 2020. Recyclable hazardous waste (i.e., used oil and used lead-acid batteries) are disposed of through the Bantay Kalikasan Project of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. (ALKFI). These wastes are eventually recovered or recycled for use again, thus, minimizing new resources from being produced.
Proceeds from the recycling of used oil and used lead-acid batteries are donated to ALKFI. However, due to restricted travel due to the pandemic, we deferred our hazardous waste disposal for the year.
Hazardous Waste Generated, by Type

Other Indirect Emissions (Scope 3). EDC’s Scope 3 emissions represent the fuel consumption of rented vehicles and industrial equipment of contractors, such as generator sets and pumps. Activity data included in our Scope 3 emissions also include employee business travel. Due to the mobility restrictions imposed by the pandemic, business travel was reduced, resulting in EDC’s lowest Scope 3 emissions to date.

Other Indirect GHG Emissions (Scope 3)

EDC’s Commitment to Environmental Stewardship Goes Beyond Compliance

Our management approach reflects this. Here’s how.

EDC still uses gasoline and diesel, which makes up a significant portion of our material consumption.

In the selection of products and equipment, EDC has a preference for materials that can be recycled or reused, where possible.

We prioritize the use of energy efficient equipment, as well as those that do not emit pollutants, such as excessive smoke, noise, dust, heat, or radiation and are equipped with anti-pollution devices.

EDC utilizes water for both domestic and operational purposes. Our geothermal assets use water in various phases of our operations: for drilling, in the cooling towers, and for washing equipment during maintenance activities. We have two cascading power plants in Pantabangan that use water to generate power. EDC’s solar and wind plants use minimal amounts of water to wash equipment.

As water is a valuable and vulnerable resource, it is important to us that we manage both our water use and our wastewater discharge.

EDC complies with all regulations and standards concerning water use, withdrawals, and discharge in our areas of operation. On a larger scale, we participate in water management at the watershed level, through our geographic information system–assisted Watershed Management Plan. EDC has a Water Budget Study, which simulates the water balance contribution at the catchment scale at each geothermal area. Using this study and assessing our annual discharge has allowed us to do more in-depth hydrological or groundwater studies. This will help us predict aquifer response to future climatic or land use changes and can support better decision-making and the formulation of more more responsive and strategic watershed management approaches.

With respect to discharge, EDC implements the Zero-Discharge System (ZDS) in all of our operating geothermal project sites. All the geothermal waters extracted three kilometers below the ground–including geothermal brine and condensates–are injected back into the geothermal reservoir after they are used to generate power. This system ensures that the geothermal reservoir is recharged and that the water extracted is not discharged to the natural surface environment.

In terms of a more broad, ecosystem-based management, EDC collaborates actively with external stakeholders to protect, rehabilitate, and restore the forest and promote development in upland communities. We are constantly improving these programs and feedback mechanisms to enable more efficient water monitoring and watershed management.

EDC’s operations, at different phases of project development, can affect the forest environment and the biodiversity contained therein. In the development phase of geothermal operations, activities such as vegetation clearing, can have a negative impact on biodiversity.

Protection of biodiversity is not only a part of our overall commitment to environmental stewardship, but also to maintain the health of the forests that support the geothermal reservoir.

Through EDC’s initiatives, we aim to enhance biodiversity within our project and concession areas. We implement measures to mitigate the possible negative impact of our activities on biodiversity, and evaluate our efforts to ensure that we are successful in this regard.

In our reforestation efforts, EDC prioritizes the use of indigenous, premium, species; we support a “no hunting policy” within our reservation areas; and have established sanctuaries to protect the wildlife in our areas. We encourage integrated pest management in EDC plant nurseries and plantations.

EDC operates within declared geothermal reservations. All our operations are covered by required forestry permits, in compliance with relevant forestry and wildlife laws. EDC has an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and Comprehensive Development and Management Plan (CDMP) for forested areas. EDC is deputized to manage the watershed and we strictly follow and enforce forestry laws within the geothermal reservation, following Executive Order 223.

To monitor biodiversity parameters, we have permanent forest plots. We use this data to refine our biodiversity management plans. When necessary we undertake environmental impact assessments. We work in partnership with the academe (University of the Philippines – Institute of Biology) to ensure greater accuracy and transparency in our monitoring.

Given that we are in the power generation sector, emissions are a critical and material topic for EDC. We utilize a science-based strategy and the best available technology to support our efforts to manage this aspect of our operations.

At the baseline level, we ensure compliance with applicable pollution control laws, regulations and standards—such as the Philippine Clean Air Act of 1999, the Ecological Waste Management Act of 2000, the Philippine Clean Water Act of 2004, and the recently institutionalized Executive Order 174 (“Philippine Greenhouse Gas Inventory Management and Reporting System”).

With respect to effluents, EDC implements the Zero Discharge System (ZDS). We also practice continuous air quality monitoring and third-party multi-sector monitoring.

EDC has protocols for proper waste management, for both solid and hazardous waste. We engage only DENR-accredited third party contractors to transport, treat and dispose of our waste materials.

Vendors that we transact with and are involved in contracting/subcontracting undergo accreditation in which part of the requirements are the accomplished Health, Safety, and Environment Questionnaire and applicable permits and certificates to ensure that goods and services to be delivered will not cause a significant negative impact on the environment. Part of their requirements, whichever are applicable, are the following:

1. Duly Accomplished Contractor HSE Accreditation Questionnaire

2. Permit to Transport for Hazardous Waste generated during construction

3. Permit to Operate for Stationary Source (Power Plant and Gensets):

  • Steam Turbine
  • Emergency Diesel Genset
  • Diesel Genset/s (for Construction Purposes)

4. Priority Chemical List Compliance Certificate / Chemical Control Order Registration

5. Certificate

6. Environmental Compliance Certificate / Treatment, Storage, and Disposal Certificate

BINHI continues its greening legacy towards a regenerative future 

Armed with our new mission of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future, EDC remains at the forefront of environmental conservation. Through our flagship environmental program BINHI, we continue to collaborate with the country’s leading foresters, botanists, and wildlife biologists to not only reforest degraded watersheds, but also to mainstream the 96 most threatened Philippine native tree species, all while protecting the forests and the wildlife that make up our rich biodiversity.  

Our efforts to take care of the forests and to keep our watersheds healthy enables our ecosystem services to continue providing for the needs of our business and our host communities. Maintaining the forest ecosystem also allows EDC to remain carbon negative. In 2020, our total emissions is 966,767 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), for our Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions combined. This only totals more than half of the carbon absorbed through EDC’s geothermal reservations and greening activities.  On top of the tree-planting activities and forest restoration initiatives within our backyard, or those credited to EDC, we also expand our reach with greening activities in collaboration with different partners nationwide. This helped bring our total carbon sequestration to 1,739,824 tCO2e.    

Since 2008, we have engaged 88 farmer associations forest communities to reforest denuded and open forests within our geothermal reservations, as well as other watersheds and protected areas. They are our primary partners in completing our 10,000-hectare forest restoration target by 2021.

In 2020, we established another 91 hectares of new plantations for indigenous forest trees in Bacon-Manito, Negros Oriental, and Pantabangan. We also pursued enrichment planting in 30 hectares of old plantations and forest gaps in Mt. Apo, as well as maintained 1,399 hectares of existing plantations in Bacon-Manito, Negros, Mt. Apo, and Leyte. This brings the total area of forests restored under BINHI to 9,570 hectares

To further our goals, we also partnered with the City Government of Digos, Davao del Sur for the restoration of 200 hectares of marginal areas in Mt. Apo. The partnership is part of our intensified BINHI advocacy, which seeks to encourage more individuals and institutions to rehabilitate and restore degraded forests, as well as conserve and protect our native tree species. 

Across our project sites, which house various central and satellite nurseries, we have also produced more than 276,000 quality seedlings of Philippine native tree species to support this intensified advocacy. Some of these seedlings are distributed to various BINHI partners as planting materials during tree-planting activities, while others are currently housed in our nurseries as part of our seedling stock for future reforestation initiatives. 

EDC has a holistic approach to the management of forests within its project sites. Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we continued to conduct forest protection initiatives and upheld our role as the deputized manager of the watersheds within our geothermal reservations. 

In 2020, the forest protection efforts cover the core of the 127,608 hectares of forestlands inside the four geothermal reservations and adjacent forests. These constitute the hotspot areas including the 34,744 hectares of identified forest conservation areas that are in the highest priority for conservation and protection. This includes 779 kilometers of forest patrols using the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System (Lawin System), 25 kilometers of fireline protection in Mt. Apo, and 350 kilometers of drone patrols in Leyte. 

We continue to be the sole private-sector implementer of the Lawin System. The system uses smartphones to capture patrol data on the presence of biodiversity and imminent threats, as well as open-source technology to perform geo-spatial analysis. Primarily used by our foresters and community patrollers, the system can also record geo-referenced data on the condition of the forests, sightings of important fauna, presence of threats to biodiversity, and then share these findings with the DENR.

In 2020, we also partnered with the Geographic Innovations for Development Solutions (GrIDS), Inc. to update the land cover data on the four geothermal reservations we manage. Using Remote Sensing (RS) and Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies, this initiative will set the baseline data on forest cover to inform our target outcomes for achieving no net forest loss across our conservation areas in the next five years. 

No net forest loss is achieved when the area of forest gained within an identified conservation area within the geothermal reservation is greater than or equal to the area of forest lost. Forest loss, or deforestation, is the conversion of previously forested areas to non-forested areas, often brought about by a variety of anthropogenic drivers (e.g., logging, timber cutting, kaingin farming) as well as natural causes (e.g., forest fires, typhoons).

Aside from identifying target areas for protection, this initiative will also demonstrate the effectiveness of our watershed management initiatives, as well as show our progress towards longer-term conservation outcomes, such as improved biodiversity conditions and ecosystem services.

Through BINHI, EDC also serves as the prime mover of strategic partnerships on mainstreaming Philippine native trees throughout the country. Despite the limitations posed by the pandemic, we continued to forge new partnerships and implement our multi-awarded initiative to rescue, protect, and propagate 96 of the most critically endangered species of Philippine native trees. 

Our strategy for mainstreaming Philippine native trees has two approaches. The first approach is ex-situ conservation, which involves partnering with organizations and institutions to put up arboreta and tree parks dedicated to threatened native trees. The second approach, called in-situ conservation, involves the protection of threatened native trees in their natural habitat.

In 2020, we were able to forge nine new partnerships, bringing our total to 183 BINHI partners nationwide. 

In addition to these strategic local partnerships, EDC also continues to be the sole Philippine partner of the Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) for its Global Tree Assessment (GTA) Program. The BGCI is the secretariat for Global Tree Assessment (GTA)  of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which advocates for the protection of the environment through data gathering, research, field projects, advocacy, and education.

The GTA Program aims to assess the conservation status of every known tree species worldwide, which will then inform corresponding conservation actions. Since 2019, EDC has already assessed 800 tree species and the IUCN has updated and published 498 of them in their Red List, including 38 priority threatened species under BINHI. Prior to its partnership with EDC, only 248 assessments for Philippine native tree species were published on the IUCN Red List. To date, there are now 1,225 assessments, 42% of which were contributed by EDC in collaboration with Pro-Seeds Development Association, Inc., an organization based in the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) composed of young professionals engaged mostly in environmental research and the promotion and development of environmentally sound management strategies.

Vegetative Material Recovery (VMR) facilities, designed to facilitate the vegetative or asexual reproduction of tree species, are important in mainstreaming Philippine native trees. The VMR is a state-of-the-art nursery equipped with automated mist irrigation systems, which mimics natural forest habitat conditions and leads to increased survival rates of the seedlings. These VMR facilities address the lack of available planting materials due to the rarity of these threatened native tree species. 

In 2020, EDC launched its fourth VMR facility in Mt. Apo Geothermal Project (MAGP) in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. This new VMR facility will focus on housing and propagating the seedlings of Mindanao-endemic Philippine native tree species. Our three other VMR facilities are located in (1) Bago City, Negros Occidental; (2) Valencia, Negros Oriental; and (3) Antipolo City, Rizal.

Through these VMR facilities, we also developed new propagation protocols for four threatened native tree species, namely: (1) Malakatmon (Dillenia luzoniensis); (2) Bagauak morado (Clerodendron quadriculare); (3) Batikuling (Litsea leytensis); and (4) Kalantas (Toona calantas). These propagation protocols will guide the proliferation of the species, with the hope that they will not go extinct given the right propagation technologies. To date, EDC has already developed propagation protocols for 28 threatened native tree species. 

In 2020, we continued to partner with like-minded organizations to further raise awareness on biodiversity, support biodiversity research, and enhance local conservation actions. Despite challenges, we made strides in some of our key initiatives focused on biodiversity monitoring and conservation.

In January 2020, EDC and the University of the Philippines Institute of Biology (UPIB) published Wildlife Treasures, a coffee table book which showcases the diverse wildlife thriving in our geothermal reservations. This book is the culmination of more than a decade of collaboration between EDC and UPIB to monitor, study, and document the various flora and flora in the geothermal reservations through our Biodiversity Conservation and Monitoring Program (BCMP). The book is also a tribute to EDC’s partners in biodiversity conservation, particularly to the late Dr. Perry S. Ong, a trail-blazing conservation biologist. 

We also sustained our partnerships with the DENR and the Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) in protecting the remaining species of the critically endangered Philippine eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). In 2020, the PEF and EDC worked together to rehabilitate and eventually release a female Philippine eagle named Makilala-Hiraya

The eagle was rescued after being mobbed by a flock of crows in Barangay Kisante in Makilala, Cotabato, which is located near the Mt. Apo Natural Park and adjacent to EDC’s Mt. Apo Geothermal Reservation. We supported rehabilitation and monitoring activities to ensure that the bird reached sexual maturity and had the chance to nest. Makilala-Hiraya was eventually released from captivity, an event that was live-streamed on Facebook so that more Filipinos can witness this rare occasion. 

Additionally, we also confirmed a Philippine eagle nesting area in the Tawason Forest in November 2020. This is the result of a collaboration among the PEF, EDC, and DENR for the Philippine Eagle Nest Survey, which began in 2019. The survey aims to enhance local awareness and capacity for Philippine eagle conservation, as well as find and study active nesting areas within or around the Mt. Apo Geothermal Reservation. 

Our 2020 Integrated Report

Our Integrated Report tells the story of our efforts to achieve our business objectives, hand-in-hand with our sustainability aspirations.