By James A. Loyola
Property giant Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI) is setting aside a total of 450 hectares of its land bank around the country for maintenance as carbon forests with the aim of reducing its growing carbon footprint by 20 percent in 2022.
ALI Sustainability Manager Anna Maria Gonzales said this is in line with the firm’s aggressive target to neutralize the carbon emissions of its commercial properties by 2022.
She noted that, the ambitious program to go carbon-neutral reflects ALI’s commitment to sustainable and responsible property development. It recognizes the need to address and mitigate the impact of its developments and expansion plans to the environment.
“We have been tracking, among other environment, social, governance (ESG) metrics, our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions throughout the various stages of our project development process,” said Gonzales.
She added that, “we are taking this a step further by aiming for carbon neutrality, and one of the ways to achieve this is through our carbon forests.”
The 450-hectare “Carbon Forests” consist of five sites located in different parts of the Philippines. Three of the sites are within or adjacent to existing Ayala Land developments.
Forest sites in resort properties Lio and Sicogon are integrated into the estate’s masterplan as part of the developments’ nature trail areas, while the Alaminos site lies north of BellaVita subdivision. The Kan-irag and Talomo sites are located in the cities of Cebu and Davao.
Together with Center for Conservation Innovations, Inc. (CCI), a study was conducted to determine the baseline carbon stock in these carbon forest sites.
The study also identified the best protection and enhancement approach through Assisted Natural Regeneration (ANR) and other methods to maximize the carbon storage potential for each site.
“ALI’s Carbon Forest sites are expected to augment ALI’s total carbon emission reduction by approximately 20 percent year-on-year. Through a process called carbon sequestration, the Carbon Forest sites remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Although forests do release CO2 from their natural processes, a healthy forest typically stores carbon more than it releases it,” shared Gonzales.
ANR initiatives are activities that support forest regrowth through protection, tending of diverse native wildings found on site, and enhancement planting of other indigenous species.
ALI has partnered with community-based, non-government organizations like Pusod, Inc., Soil & Water Conservation Foundation and Philippine Eagle Foundation which specialize in reforestation, native tree nursery management and volunteer mobilization.
Other than forest regeneration, ALI shared that it is using a combination of strategies to reach its carbon neutrality target, such as the implementation of passive cooling design in its developments, energy efficiency and renewable energy sourcing.
Ayala Land has been consistent in its advocacy towards the environment and sustainability.
The company’s four focus areas of site resilience, pedestrian mobility and transit connectivity, resource-efficiency, and local economic development allow it to provide the discipline and direction needed to create long-term value for all its stakeholders, the economy, and the environment.
In 2017, it levelled up its sustainability goals by embarking on a significant carbon emissions offsetting program – becoming the first Philippine company to target carbon neutrality by 2022.