In celebration of Earth Day 2022, Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) highlighted during a virtual forum the need for collaboration among stakeholders to address the global climate crisis.
Photo Insert: (TOP, L-R) Panel moderator Ronald Francis A. Suarez, AboitizPower Vice President for Reputation Management, former Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman, (BOTTOM, L-R) AboitizPower President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio, and Manila Observatory Executive Director Fr. Jose Ramon T. Villarin, SJ address climate change-related questions during the Q&A portion of AboitizPower’s virtual #BetterTogether forum
The activity last Friday, April 22, is part of the company’s #BetterTogether series launched in October last year to improve its team members’ knowledge and appreciation of sustainability concepts. It is also in line with this year’s Earth Day theme, “Invest In Our Planet.”
The guest speakers were Fr. Jose Ramon “Jett” T. Villarin, S.J., executive director of the Manila Observatory, and former Climate Change Commission Secretary Emmanuel M. de Guzman, MNSA, who respectively talked about how the Philippines can become more resilient against climate change as well as the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change.
Both speakers called for cooperation among all stakeholders in the midst of the climate emergency, emphasizing that addressing it is everyone’s responsibility.
“We are not without hope. We have this decade to set things right. And we know we are not alone in heeding the call for all hands to be on deck, to batten down the hatches, so to speak, for the big storm that is about to define who we are for generations to come,” Fr. Villarin said.
Villarin said the time to act is now, adding that extreme climate-related risks are projected to occur in the next few years and that the Philippines needs to adapt to these challenges by securing food, water, and energy lifelines as well as dealing with disasters from a vulnerability lens.
“We lessen vulnerability by re-educating persons, cultures, and institutions, and strengthening good governance and leadership,” Villarin explained.
While the issue is far bigger than any single person or organization can handle, Villarin said individuals can also help address climate change on a personal level by simplifying their lifestyles.
“The more we progress, the more we contribute to climate change, whether with what we eat, the appliances we use, or the modes of transportation we take,” he said.
For De Guzman, collaborative action is crucial in advancing the cause and delivering the progress desired for the country. “As we emerge in these trying times, we should inspire each other. We should spread hope and belief in the human capacity to change our environment for the better for the sake of future generations,” he added.
De Guzman said the National Framework Strategy on Climate Change 2010-2022 is already in place to ensure and strengthen the adaptation of the country’s natural ecosystems and human communities to climate change.
“All sectors and stakeholders need to be aware of existing climate and environmental laws and policies and the role each plays, including the government,” he said.
He concurred with Villarin on the need for lifestyle changes at an individual level, adding that finding solutions will also require broader consultation and more active engagement of all sectors.
AboitizPower is not short of efforts when it comes to environmental protection and climate change mitigation, its President and Chief Executive Officer Emmanuel V. Rubio said.
From an operations perspective, AboitizPower, together with its partners, is the country’s largest owner and operator of renewable energy (RE) sources. The company has set aside P190 billion to further expand its renewables portfolio, aspiring for a 50:50 balance between its RE and thermal capacities by 2030 in support of the global movement for clean energy.
“Apart from an operations perspective, we also have many other initiatives across 1AP that aim to nurture a sustainable environment for all of us and for many generations to come,” added Rubio.
In 2021 alone, the company mobilized close to 900 team-member volunteers to plant close to 300,000 trees all over the country. Around 15,000 kilograms of waste have also been collected during coastal and river cleanup activities organized by various AboitizPower business units. To date, the Aboitiz Group has planted more than 12 million trees across the Philippines as part of its A-Park program.
“This conversation is very timely and important so we can have a better understanding of what we’re currently doing as far as climate action is concerned, and what else needs to be done to make a positive impact – not just for the business, but most importantly, for all of us, our future and the future of our children,” Rubio said.