CHI invests on environmental protection
Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - July 15, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Cebu Holdings, Inc. (CHI), a subsidiary of Ayala Land Inc. (ALI), intensifies its efforts on sustainable programs such as conserving the environmental health of Cebu’s mountain barangays.

“As a developer, we see the importance of investing time and resources to help conserve and protect the environment – especially of the communities where we operate,” Jun Bisnar, president of CHI and CEO of Ayala Land Vismin said.

With the growing threats of climate change as now experienced through extreme weather conditions, scarcity of potable water, and poor food production, among many effects, it is imperative that steps be taken to address this global concern, said Bisnar.

As a property developer, Bisnar explained that CHI strives to minimize its impact on the environment by managing resource use and emissions, solid waste and wastewater management, and integrating green spaces within its developments.

One of CHI’s most significant environmental initiatives is the management of the 65-hectare Ayala Land Carbon Forest and Biodiversity Reserve, which is part of Central Cebu Protected Landscape.

This property is one of Ayala Land’s five participating carbon forest sites in the country, with a total of 450 hectares. This project is in line with Ayala Land’s aggressive target to offset the carbon emissions of its commercial properties by 2022.

Since 1998, this area in upland Cebu City has been preserved as a forest initially through the Ayala Foundation, Inc. and CHI and Ayala Land’s tree planting activities.

CHI has made an inventory of over 3,000 mature trees of 67 different species, and more than 8,000 young trees in the carbon forest. Another 23,212 wildlings have been staked for brushing and ring weeding.

Among the activities the company has conducted in partnership with Soil and Water Conservation Foundation (SWCF) are assisted natural regeneration (ANR), enrichment planting, grass growth suppression, planting of bamboo as bio fence and soil erosion control, and community awareness training on carbon forest management.

“Part of the carbon sink area focus will be to bring many other native species that can be found so eventually a large arboretum can be developed both for observation of specimen trees as well as potential seed sources in the future,” noted William Granert, executive director of SWCF.

Since 2018, 4,998 new trees of 45 different species have been planted so far by CHI and Ayala employees and other civic and private volunteers. The 65-hectare area today absorbs an equivalent of 16,763 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The continuous tree-planting program seeks to address the shortage of water in Cebu by encouraging rainfall retention and absorption for acquifers underneath the ground.

“Covering the property with forest will assist in the generation of water for the Kotkot River and will improve the local biodiversity while helping to neutralize the carbon footprint of Ayala Land through carbon sequestration,” Granert added.

As Cebu’s largest full-line property developer, CHI believes that there should be a fundamental shift in business towards more sustainable practices. Having subscribed to the Global Reporting Initiative for the last seven years, measuring, managing and reporting topics that are material to the economic, environmental and social aspects of its operations, the company believes that this shift is not only doable – it presents a strong business case as well. (FREEMAN)

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