Ayala Land Nurtures Carbon Forests for a Greener Future

ALI has been maintaining 784 ha of land within its properties as carbon forests. As a leader of sustainable practices in the Philippine real estate industry, Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) continues to pioneer initiatives geared towards environmental stewardship.

In celebration of Philippine Environment Month, ALI is taking a major step forward in its sustainability efforts with significant milestones for its carbon forest projects.

Carbon forests, also known as carbon sinks, are areas dedicated to the growth and preservation of trees and vegetation. These forests act as natural reservoirs that absorb or store carbon dioxide, helping remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere. Carbon forests thus play a vital role in addressing climate change.

Since 2017, ALI has been maintaining 586 hectares of land within its properties as carbon forests. These are located in Alaminos, Lio, Cebu, Davao and Sicogon.

Ayala Land nurtures carbon forests for a greener future

Expanding green initiatives

The newest addition to ALI’s carbon forests can be found in San Jose Del Monte (SJDM), Bulacan. In establishing this new afforestation and revegetation project, ALI is furthering its dedication to environmental conservation and sustainable development.

In partnership with ALI’s valued CommuniTree partner Earth Recovery Action (ERA), the 198-ha SJDM Carbon Forest, strategically positioned adjacent to the Sierra Madre biodiversity corridor, was launched just last month.

With the SJDM site, Ayala Land’s total carbon forest will increase to 784 ha from the current 586 ha.

Lee Ann, a farmer and a member of ERA, emphasized the importance of their partnership with ALI. “We were able to build ERA because there’s a good spot for it to flourish. We’re happy to take on the challenge to push the native trees to the mainstream and [for] urban people to get exposed to this collaboration,” she said.

Anna Gonzales, head of ALI’s Sustainability department, meanwhile highlighted the company’s pursuit of opportunities to address climate change impacts and work for a sustainable future.

“Our target is to reduce our emissions to net zero in 2050, which technically means about 90 percent of our business-as-usual (BAU) emissions. The role of these carbon forests will be to remove the remaining 10 percent which are hard-to-abate emissions. As forests take time to grow, we have to start now if we are to reach our target,” Gonzales said.

Engaging communities

The carbon forest in Bulacan aims to enhance, protect and maintain the carbon stock of the project site through assisted natural regeneration, revegetation and protection approaches. What makes this initiative even more special is the collaboration with the local Dumagat community, who will be instrumental in caring for the forest.

Benjamin San Jose, representative of the Dumagat community in SJDM, noted that besides being able to preserve the forest and learning about proper tree planting techniques and plant care, they also found another source of income through sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Despite the weather conditions, they managed to generate income by crafting and selling wooden sticks during the summer.

“Maganda po sa aming mga katutubong Dumagat na merong trabaho. Ito po pinagkukuhanan namin ng pambili ng pagkain. Masayang-masaya po,” San Jose said.

“Napalaking bagay po ng partnership sa pagtatanim, sa pagbabalik sa ating kalikasan… Nababawasan na po yung mga landslide, pagbaha ng malalaki, at higit sa lahat, napakaganda po ng tuluy-tuloy itong proyekto na ito para maibalik natin ang ating gubat na nawawala na sa ating mga kabundukan,” added their leader, Jovert Infante.

ALI’s carbon forests not only contribute to the fight against climate change but also provide numerous benefits as these offer a tranquil environment for people to connect with nature, thus helping improve their well-being and act as habitats for various plant and animal species, promoting biodiversity in urban areas.

A commitment to carbon neutrality, the SJDM Carbon Forest Project is just one of the six forests that ALI maintains—four in Luzon and one each in Visayas and Mindanao. These play a crucial role in ALI’s pursuit of carbon neutrality as they serve as carbon removal projects, which are essential in achieving the company’s decarbonization target by 2030 and net-zero emissions goal by 2050.

“As a leader in integrating sustainability into business practices, we recognize that true progress comes from embedding environmental stewardship at the very core of our operations,” explained Robert S. Lao, ALI chief sustainability officer.

“Our carbon forest projects exemplify this commitment by not only sequestering carbon but also fostering biodiversity and supporting local communities. This initiative demonstrates how sustainable development and climate action can go hand in hand to help create a greener future,” he added.

In 2017, ALI embarked on a carbon neutrality program, focusing on neutralizing Scopes 1 and 2 emissions from its malls, office hotels, and resorts by 2022. ALI further expanded its climate ambition and announced its goal to achieve net zero for scopes 1, 2, and 3 emissions of the entire ALI group by 2050.

ALI’s carbon forests initiative involves strategic reforestation efforts in specific locations. The company carefully selects tree species that are known for their ability to absorb large amounts of carbon dioxide. Through meticulous planning and execution, ALI ensures that its carbon forests are effective in sequestering carbon and creating a healthier environment.

ALI is committed to continuously expanding its carbon forests and implementing sustainable strategies. The company aims to plant and nurture more native trees, increase carbon sequestration, and create additional carbon sinks in various locations. By scaling up its efforts, ALI aims to make an even greater impact on environmental conservation and climate change mitigation.

Partnerships and collaborations

ALI also recognizes that maintaining and expanding carbon forests require collaborative efforts.

The company actively seeks partnerships with like-minded organizations, government agencies, and local communities to ensure the long term success of its carbon forests initiative. By

working together, these stakeholders can maximize the impact of carbon forests in mitigating climate change.