When Ritzi Villarico Ronquillo, Vice President and Head of Communication and Corporate Affairs of construction solutions company firm Holcim Philippines, Inc. joined the company, one of her first requests was to go to a quarry, a site for raw materials. This was to get an appreciation of operations and see firsthand exactly how responsibly managed the sites were, now owned and managed by associate company, Holcim Mining and Development Corp. There she saw a lush forest where a quarry once was, a result of the company’s progressive rehabilitation program that restores sites to their previous states or even better. At the recent Sustainable Enterprise Summit 2016 at Enderun College, she presented findings of and pictures taken on site by conservation experts of the University of the Philippines’s Diliman Science Research Foundation who found 340 plant species and 230 wildlife species. Biodiversity baseline audit Conducted by ecologists and biodiversity scientists from the UP Institute of Biology, the baseline audit showed a healthy ecology and rich biodiversity. “It is important that we can honestly say that a company does what it says,” she stressed. “An ethical requirement in the discipline and professional practice of communication and public relations is the authenticity of what the company you work for really does. For Holcim, this moral duty is sustainability and responsible corporate citizenship, ensuring that what we do today will in no way jeopardize the survival and well-being of future generations.” One of the 50 largest corporations in the country, Holcim Philippines programs are founded on business excellence, environment stewardship and community partnership wherever it operates. Some sites, including the rehabilitated sections of the La Union quarry, have been converted to an ecological park. A butterfly sanctuary thrives inside its plant in Lugait, Misamis Oriental. Philippine tarsiers, an endangered species, were found living in its site in Mati, Davao Oriental. During the sustainability forum, business sector representatives discussed how private enterprises can contribute to meeting present needs without compromising those of future generations. Aside from Ronquillo, other speakers included Jim Ayala, founder and CEO of Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc., Anna Maria Gonzales, Sustainability Manager at Ayala Land, Inc., and Michael Toledo, Media Bureau Head at the MVP Group of Companies. Building back better with communities The other success story Ronquillo shared as an example of Holcim Philippines’s sustainability commitment was the company’s assistance in rebuilding the lives of survivors from Compostela Valley after 2012’s Typhoon Pablo, one of the strongest storms to hit Mindanao. Ronquillo narrated that the company addressed the issue through a multi-sectoral coalition and community empowerment that restored the hope of survivors. Holcim Philippines, through its Davao Plant, assisted survivors in learning skills that helped them build their own houses. The structures and the village for 100 families were designed to be resilient and eco-friendly by Mike Guerrero of the Green Architecture Advocates Philippines, while the local government and national agencies actively contributed the land and financial resources for labor, respectively. Holcim Philippines initiated trainings on concrete block and roof tile production and masonry through its Galing Mason, a multi-awarded flagship skills program for livelihood. The company also engaged a community organizing consultant from the UP who guided residents in working together to create a safe, cohesive, entrepreneurial and progressive community. “It’s truly heartwarming to see how the surviving families who came from different areas were able to organize themselves, plan together and do livelihood projects together. Today, they have started community businesses like their community vegetable garden, flower arrangement, catering, event management and even a harana business that has enabled them to build their own chapel and help provide for the community. They next plan to have an ecopark in their area,” she said. “Helping create hope, seeing their houses now surrounded by flowers and plants, witnessing the community spirit and seeing their eyes light up where there were once only sadness and tears, is a most fulfilling honor for us in Holcim Philippines,” she continued. “We salute their undaunted spirit.” This approach of enabling communities is anchored on Holcim Philippines and the LafargeHolcim Group’s commitment to sustainability, wherein business goals are balanced with the welfare of its people, communities and the environment.
Holcim PH narrates successes of sustainability programs at summit
5 September 2016