#BuhayFirstBalfour: Saving the Planet One Run at a Time

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Published October 21, 2022 | Last updated June 19, 2023

Although he shames himself for not using an electric vehicle for lower carbon emissions, he has reached personal milestones for helping save the environment with First Balfour. Here, we will see how running became his passion and how it eventually ushered him towards leading the company’s mission towards a decarbonized and regenerative future.

Vicente Leon M.¬†de¬†Lima¬†II, or¬†Macky¬†as how many people know him by, is one¬†of¬†First Balfour‚Äôs longtime employees. He joined First Balfour as¬†the¬†Head¬†of¬†Treasury¬†in¬†the¬†early 2000s, was transferred to lead¬†the¬†Strategic and Business Planning Department¬†in¬†2011, and has since been a driving force¬†in¬†the¬†company.¬†In¬†2006, then fellow co-worker Rome Momo introduced him to running. He eventually found himself fond¬†of¬†the¬†sport and even started a blog about his running milestones under¬†the¬†nom¬†de¬†plume¬†Bicolano Penguin. Macky shares, ‚ÄúI run to write. I write to run.¬†In¬†many ways, writing is a natural extension¬†of¬†running, or vice versa. With¬†the¬†help¬†of¬†a friend, I started writing¬†the¬†Bicolano Penguin blog to chronicle my running adventures and¬†in¬†so doing, be able to inspire others to enjoy¬†the¬†natural joy we call Runner’s High.‚ÄĚ Since 2010, he has completed over 16 marathons and 28 ultramarathons.

Left: Finished a 103-km ultramarathon in 2014; Right: His most recent 10-km run in Iriga last September
Left: Finished a 103-km ultramarathon in 2014; Right: His most recent 10-km run in Iriga last September

Along with having the many finisher medals he has accumulated over the years, running has also enabled Macky to grow a network of runners. In First Balfour, he was able to encourage employees young and old to try marathons through The Bull Runner (TBR) Dream Marathon. To date, there are 55 TBR Dream graduates from First Balfour.

Left: Long-time employees Lily Santamaria, Rose Dalawampu, and Icar Hombrebueno were the first batch of TBR finishers in 2012; Right: Ten TBR finishers in 2020 including current employees Alfred Joseph Pascual, Michael Banta, Emil Teodoro, Abram Veloria, Jedd Imbat, and Jonalyn Ayangwa
Left: Long-time employees Lily Santamaria, Rose Dalawampu, and Icar Hombrebueno were the first batch of TBR finishers in 2012; Right: Ten TBR finishers in 2020 including current employees Alfred Joseph Pascual, Michael Banta, Emil Teodoro, Abram Veloria, Jedd Imbat, and Jonalyn Ayangwa

One of the people he connected with through running was Cebuano runner Tony Galon who influenced him to do the 5-Pieces Daily Habit. The habit was simply picking up at least five pieces of trash you would come by while running. He has been religiously doing this habit in his daily runs and has even expanded it by encouraging a group of runners he formed called Row 5 to do it as well. This was just the start of his advocacy.

Macky and his son Marcel do plogging (the activity of picking up trash while jogging). The plastics they collected are placed in trash bags at the Head Office set up in partnership with The Plastic Flamingo.
Macky and his son Marcel do plogging (the activity of picking up trash while jogging). The plastics they collected are placed in trash bags at the Head Office set up in partnership with The Plastic Flamingo.

Caring for the environment came naturally to him so the challenge to scale up this advocacy presented itself with his recent appointment as the Head of the First Balfour Technical Working Group (TWG) for Sustainability. Tasked to convene twice a month to streamline the sustainability reporting process and discuss significant updates, the TWG is in charge of strengthening First Balfour’s systems in capturing and analyzing environmental, social, governance (ESG) data; submitting the progress on targets committed to partner institutions (i.e. Net Zero Carbon Alliance, Council for Inclusive Capitalism); and leading First Balfour’s mission-related activities.

While several sustainability initiatives and programs are already in place across the organization and its projects, he shares that he still has many plans for a green future with First Balfour. There are at least three environmental projects he hopes to fulfill. First on the list is shifting all vehicular transportation methods away from diesel and gasoline. At the moment, First Balfour’s equipment hauling transport and business T1 Transport is offering electric vehicle shuttle services to its clientele. Soon enough, Macky hopes that employee transportations will also be electric.

Left: Macky aboard the COMET electric vehicle with the T1 Transport management team in May 2022; Right: Macky receives a plaque of recognition for First Balfour during EDC NZCA’s 1st Anniversary
Left: Macky aboard the COMET electric vehicle with the T1 Transport management team in May 2022; Right: Macky receives a plaque of recognition for First Balfour during EDC NZCA’s 1st Anniversary

Second on¬†the¬†list is expanding partnerships with like-minded organizations like¬†The¬†Plastic Flamingo¬†so that plastic wastes are guaranteed to be disposed (or reduced/reused/recycled) properly. Along with members¬†of¬†the¬†TWG, Macky also represents First Balfour to Energy Development Corporation‚Äôs¬†Net Zero Carbon Alliance¬†(NZCA), a movement towards attaining net zero carbon emissions among businesses¬†in¬†the¬†Philippines. Membership to these kinds¬†of¬†organizations forms part¬†of¬†the¬†company‚Äôs strategies to integrate decarbonization and regeneration into its business operations. Finally, last and most important on his list is finding ways to increase productivity. As Macky stated,¬†‚ÄúWhen we increase our productivity, we reduce our carbon emissions as well as our costs which¬†in¬†turn grow our profits. That‚Äôs shared value‚ÄĒgrowing profits while doing¬†the¬†right thing for our employees, our owners, our suppliers, our country, and our planet.‚ÄĚ

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