Over 10 years since its launch and successful implementation, Lopez-led geothermal leader Energy Development Corp. (EDC) is taking the next step to its greening legacy by partnering with the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
BINHI is EDC’s forest restoration program that aims to bridge forest gaps in its areas of operation as well as bring back to abundance its 96 flagship threatened Philippine native tree species.
ERDB has signed a memorandum of understanding with EDC to commence a five-year partnership for the in-situ conservation and propagation of the most rare and threatened among the company’s BINHI native tree species.
EDC was already able to identify, locate, and collect samples of its 96 flagship species and is currently in the process of propagating them in its fully automated native tree species nurseries in Negros Oriental, in Antipolo City, and soon in its Mount Apo geothermal site in Kidapawan, North Cotabato. As of 2019, it had planted over six million of these native tree seedlings across the country with the help of its 178 committed BINHI partners.
Still, EDC recognizes the need to continuously work together with like-minded organizations and other experts in forest restoration to strengthen BINHI.
“We can’t green our country on our own and the worst part is, sustaining the current condition of our environment is no longer enough,” said Allan Barcena, head of EDC’s Corporate Social Responsibility-Public Relations team that has been spearheading the company’s BINHI program.
This realization has led EDC and the rest of the Lopez Group to embark on a new mission of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.
For EDC, this entails enhancing the environment and the lives of the residents in its partner communities as it provides uninterrupted supply of 100 percent clean, renewable, cost-competitive power to its customers.
“Being able to save the last remaining species in our BINHI list and even propagate them for our future generations through this partnership with ERDB makes it our next necessary step towards regeneration,” Barcena said.
Among the native species included in this in-situ propagation and conservation initiative include Mindanao Narek, Calades Narig, Malayakal, Pinulog, Palawan Narig, Narig Laot, Kanining Peneras, Cagayan Narek, Pianga, Mapilig and Samar Gisok.
Both parties will explore the best ways to save the species from extinction, do related research, draft propagation protocols based on what they will learn from this project, and even provide guidance to local government units and stakeholders in those in-situ areas to enable them to protect the species.
This project coincides with EDC’s current engagement as the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) as its only local partner in the Philippines.
Botanic Gardens Conservation International, The IUCN’s secretariat and the world’s largest plant conservation network, has selected EDC to be a part of its Global Tree Assessment program to help update the status of 800 Philippine endemic tree species. To date, EDC has already assessed 200 species and the IUCN has updated and published 89 of them in their Red List.
EDC’s 1,499 megawatt total installed capacity generates 42 percent of the country’s total renewable energy, with its 1,204-MW geothermal portfolio accounting for 62 percent of the country’s total installed geothermal capacity and putting the Philippines on the map as the world’s third largest geothermal producer.