By Emmie V. Abadilla
The country’s top property developer, Ayala Land, Inc. (ALI), will offset 70 percent of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions this year-end and expects net-zero carbon emissions in its malls, offices and other commercial properties by 2022, eight years earlier than the national target date.
Corporate entities are among the world’s largest polluters, emitting greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone) that cause global temperatures to rise. Although the Philippines is not among the world’s top emitters, it is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
Alfonso Javier D. Reyes, CEO of Direct Power Services, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of ALI, said the company has been at the forefront of the country’s environmental sustainability campaign for over a decade.
The property firm has been measuring its carbon emissions since 2008 and working to minimize its footprint. Achieving “net-zero carbon” or becoming “carbon neutral” measures how successful the company is in offset its GHG emissions.
ALI follows four strategies to achieve carbon neutrality: Avoid emissions through passive cooling and sustainable architectural design; reduce fuel and energy use; shift to renewable energy (with minimal to zero emissions) and enhance carbon stock in forests via assisted natural regeneration.
While its carbon forests continue to expand in coverage, more of ALI’s commercial properties are shifting to renewable energy where available. These properties are “contestable customers” averaging at least 1,000 kilowatts per month and can opt to choose their own Retail Electricity Suppliers and energy source.
“When ALI announced its carbon neutrality goals, we began changing our energy mix, sourcing our electricity contracts from renewable energy plants and from suppliers who are able to provide us with carbon-offset certificates conforming to international standards,” explained Reyes.
“We account for the GHG emissions of our commercial properties and construction activities in our Integrated Report disclosures to help us manage our carbon footprint. The I-REC and VER certificates assure us of the integrity of the reductions and offsets,” added Anna Maria M. Gonzales, Sustainability Manager at Ayala Land.
ALI’s carbon forests are nurtured through volunteers mobilized by partner non-government organizations.
As of 2018, 42,057 new native trees have been planted, with an 80%-100% survival rate across the sites. By protecting existing trees, soil, and vegetation in the sites, ALI enhances the capacity of these forests to continue absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
ALI’s renewable energy patronage also significantly reduced its carbon emissions. To date, ALI’s malls and offices have avoided 84,642 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (t-CO2e) from the shift to renewable energy alone. This is equivalent to the emissions produced by 16,303 passenger vehicles driven for a year.
As of last count, UP-AyalaLand Technohub, an early adopter of renewable energy and ALI’s top consumer of electricity, avoided 15,497 tCO2e emissions in 2018 alone (equivalent to the emissions from 2,985 passenger vehicles driven for one year). Meanwhile, Ayala Malls Vertis North and Tutuban Properties Inc., also running on renewable energy, avoided a combined total of 10,168 tCO2e emissions (or the same amount of emissions from 906,115 gallons of diesel consumed).
Under the Paris Agreement, the Philippines targets to cut its overall greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030. ALI’s carbon neutrality initiative and its earlier deadline of 2022 directly contributes to the national goal and the global effort to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2030.