Contributing to climate action with carbon-negative operations
A Green Legacy
Celebrating ten years of BINHI
When it comes to the environment, we look beyond our immediate areas of operation. For the past ten years, through our nationwide BINHI Greening Legacy program, we have restored denuded forests, propagated premium threatened native tree species, and protected biodiversity. We do this to secure our environmental resources today and leave a greener Philippines tomorrow.
As such, we employ three approaches to our nationwide greening program. First, we collaborate with experts, as well as with community members, and use scientific data and techniques in our forest management efforts. Our Vegetative Material Reproduction (VMR) facility also allows us to propagate threatened seedlings, thereby enabling the rescue and propagation of endangered, indigenous tree species. In 2018, we established two new VMR facilities in Antipolo, Rizal and Valencia, Negros Oriental.
Apart from this, we also work with partners such as colleges and universities in the establishment of arboreta, which serve as living laboratories. These arboreta not only protect the tree species, but also help educate and inform the public about the value and the proper conservation of our native tree species.
In 2018, we established three new arboreta, including the Boracay Wetland Conservation Park (BWCP), which contributed to the rehabilitation of Boracay Island. Based on the results of our monitoring, our planted trees nationwide still enjoy a 90 to 100 percent survival rate.
We also acknowledge that our forest management efforts are but a part of a bigger nationwide effort to preserve and protect the environment. As such, we seek partners such as local communities, government agencies, private institutions, and the academe to participate in our reforestation and biodiversity management efforts.
In our geothermal reservations, 109 farmers associations from the upland communities serve as our partner in environmental stewardship. We further support and empower these upland communities by providing them with sustainable means of livelihood as they protect our watershed areas. In 2018, we also garnered 20 new partners for BINHI, bringing our total number of partners to 169. Nationwide, we also encourage more Filipinos to join the conservation about climate and environmental advocacy.
Through the BINHI program, we also helped update the conservation status of five native species of ironwood in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. Additionally, we intensively inventory ten threatened native tree species in the hopes of updating their conservation status. To date, we have recommended 20 threatened native tree species to the DENR and the IUCN for conservation status updating since 2017.
As of 2018, a total of 9,323 hectares of denuded forests has been restored inside our geothermal reservations and other watershed areas under the BINHI program.
A Home for the
Securing the future of Philippine forests through our Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR)
To support the goals of our nationwide BINHI Greening Legacy program, we harness science-based approaches and techniques to strengthen the propagation and planting of our 96 priority premium threatened native tree species.
By 2016, the BINHI team has succeeded in identifying, locating, and collecting samples of its 96 priority native tree species, and sought a way of propagating their seedlings. As such, we developed a state-of-the-art automated nursery called a Vegetative Materials Reproduction (VMR) facility, which we first launched in our geothermal project in Valencia, Negros Oriental.
The VMR facility employs an automated mist irrigation system, which mimics the conditions of a natural forest habitat by giving off just the right amount of mist, perfect for the growth and propagation of native tree seedlings.
Aside from propagating and protecting our priority native tree species, the VMR facility also serves as a source of seedlings for our 169 partners nationwide who have made the pledge to plant and nurture native tree species.
“The VMR facility will help us keep up with the growing clamor for BINHI parks from our partners here in Negros Island,” said Jay Joel L. Soriano, head of EDC's Negros Island Geothermal Business Unit (NIGBU).
Of the 6.3 million seedlings already planted through the BINHI program since 2008, more than 2.5 million seedlings have been planted in Negros Island with the help of over 30 local partners.
The VMR facility in Valencia, Negros Oriental will not only serve the need for seedlings of our BINHI partners in the Visayas region, but also of our more than 140 partners in the 10 Million Trees in 10 Years for a Greener Negros Movement (10M in 10).
“Most of the species have limited stocks while some are not prolific seed producers. Mother trees are needed in our gene bank and this is where this scientific approach is useful,” added Soriano.
To further serve the big and ever-growing demand for native tree seedlings in Luzon, we also inaugurated our first VMR facility in Antipolo, Rizal in 2018.
EDC’s deep commitment to environmental stewardship is beyond compliance. We aim to not only to safeguard the environment but also to actually enhance forests and biodiversity in areas where we operate. 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.
Materials and Energy EDC selects products and equipment that do not contain hazardous substances or components in excess of prescribed regulatory limits. We prefer those that can be recycled or reused; use energy efficiently and do
not emit pollutants such as excessive smoke, noise, dust, heat, or radiation; and are equipped with anti-pollution devices. EDC also continuously encourages its employees to subscribe to a paperless program for internal communications. The initiative is to avoid the use of trees in paper production.
Water Improved water management is a constant priority and we make sure that we comply with all regulations and standards concerning water use, withdrawals, and discharges in our areas of operation. We address water
management at a larger scale, i.e., at the watershed level, with our geographic information system-assisted Watershed Management Plan. Our Water Budget Study, which simulates the water balance contribution at the catchment scale at each geothermal area and assesses our annual discharges, has allowed us to look into a more in-depth hydrological or groundwater study to predict aquifer response to future climatic or land use changes, and better influence our strategic business units (SBUs) in formulating more responsive and strategic watershed management approaches. We also collaborate actively with the external stakeholders for forest protection, forest rehabilitation, and restoration and upland community development. We are in the process of improving program interface and feedback mechanisms for more efficient water monitoring and watershed management.
Biodiversity A geothermal reservoir can be sustained by a healthy forest environment. Our programs seek to enhance the biodiversity of the project and the concession areas; ensure the positive outcome from the mitigating
measures and existing biodiversity conservation efforts against identified biodiversity impacts from the different phases of project development; and improve the company’s reputation as a environmental steward. We favor the use of indigenous, premium, species in our reforestation efforts, support a “no hunting policy” within our reservation areas, and protect and create wildlife sanctuaries. We encourage integrated pest management in EDC plant nurseries and plantations, and if absolutely necessary, use them only through applicable operational control procedures.
All company operations are covered by the required forestry permits in compliance with relevant forestry and wildlife laws. We follow an Integrated Management Plan (IMP) and Comprehensive Development and Management Plan (CDMP) for forested areas, and strictly enforce forestry laws within the geothermal reservations as mandated by Executive Order 223 and as part of EDC’s deputized role in managing the watersheds. For monitoring biodiversity parameters, we have permanent forest plots. We use the biodiversity data to enhance our biodiversity management plans and undertake environmental impact assessments. Partnerships with the academe (University of the Philippines-Institute of Biology) ensure greater accuracy and transparency in our monitoring.
Emissions, Effluents, and Waste Complying 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) is paramount to EDC. We have groundbreaking mechanisms for a zero-discharge system, continuous air quality monitoring, third-party multi-sector monitoring, and regular training of community members as first responders during emergencies and disasters. We continuously improve our waste management protocols and engage the services only of DENR-accredited third-party contractors for the treatment and disposal of solid and hazardous wastes. We equip our personnel and sub-contractors with the appropriate protective equipment and training.
Our 2018 Sustainability Report
Our Performance Report tells the story of our efforts to achieve our business objectives, hand-in-hand with our sustainability aspirations.