Lopez-led EDC named as Asia’s “top sustainability” advocate

Published November 27, 2020, 2:56 PM

by Myrna M. Velasco

Having successfully cemented its investment platform on renewable energy, Lopez-led Energy Development Corporation (EDC) has been honored as “Top Sustainability Advocate” in the recently concluded 2020 Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability (ACES) Awards.

The company bested more than 400 international nominees in the awards; which was virtually held in Malaysia, given the circumstances posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As explained, the ACES Top Sustainability Advocates award is being extended as recognition to companies that have embedded corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs in their policies and as a component of their operations. Such CSR initiatives must also have high level of involvement from their top management as well as employees.

With the recent award bestowed on the company, Atty Allan V. Barcena, head of EDC’s CSR-public relations group, asserted that “ensuring inclusive growth among our partner-communities has always been embedded in our operations.”

Specifically, he noted that with these endeavors, the company was able to transform environmental stewards “who help us maintain our BINHI reforestation projects in our areas of operations,” emphasizing that this subsequently turned their efforts “more meaningful and crucial to achieving our new mission of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.”

EDC as a company in particular and the Lopez group in general, are taking on these initiatives, as a new mission to “elevate and improve the state of everything we touch — including the communities, the environment, employees, co-creators and customers.”

The company said “environmental conservation as well as community upliftment have always been embedded in its operation and are both integral to long-term viability and success in addressing the energy needs of the Philippines.”

The Baslay Farmers Association coffee production, a CSR program of EDC, that garnered it the “Top Sustainability Advocate’ Award in Asia.

The headlining CSR programs of EDC include its coffee production venture with the Baslay Farmers’ Association (BFA) at its geothermal site in Negros Oriental, a project that is already running for 30 years.

That particular undertaking, EDC noted, had reshaped the source of livelihood of former ‘kaingineros’ or those who have been leaning on ‘slash and burn’ farming as their way of survival.

“Through the Baslay coffee program, the kaingineros have been transformed into forest stewards who now make their living through production of premium grade Arabica and Robusta coffee grounds while protecting the environment as part of EDC’s BINHI greening legacy program.”

Another pillar of the Lopez firm’s CSR initiative is on education – and this was concretized via its KEITECH Educational Foundation Inc. (KEITECH), a technical-vocational school that served as one of its primary programs in providing employment opportunities for the underprivileged youth.

Via a public-private partnership initiative, KEITECH propelled a consistent 100-percent passing rate for its students on national certifications being administered by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). And that has been a sustained performance that the school-foundation had logged for more than 10 years of its existence.

“KEITECH has helped the poorest of the poor out-of-school youth from the municipality of Kananga and Ormoc City in Leyte acquire quality technical-vocational skills and good values, thereby, making them highly in-demand among employers here and abroad,” the Lopez firm indicated.