First Balfour holds Vendors Forum to promote climate neutrality

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Published December 9, 2022 | Last updated June 14, 2023

First Balfour successfully held its first face-to-face Vendors Forum in Sucat, Paranaque City following two consecutive virtual fora in the past years. With the theme Responsible Sourcing and Greening the Supply Chain, the forum focused on the current status of climate change, the laws and emerging regulations to minimize it, and different initiatives to counter the climate emergency. In more detail, experts also outlined how construction and other industrial companies have contributed to climate change in recent years.

Attendees pose for a group photo at the forum held last 2 December 2022
Attendees pose for a group photo at the forum held last 2 December 2022

Hosted by First Balfour Procurement and Materials Management Department’s Justine Cantos and  Ralph Payumo, the event started off on a collaborative note with opening remarks from First Balfour Strategic Business Head Vicente “Macky” De Lima II. He highlighted that in First Balfour’s mission of forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future, collaboration is the most important.

Formidable attendees

The event was attended by many changemakers, most of whom were representatives from the biggest names in the Philippine engineering and construction landscape. Present in the forum were more than 30 vendor representatives from Alsina Formwork, Bauer Foundations PH, Cemex Holdings PH, Davies Paints PH, Eagle Cement Corp., Español Construction and Development, FLKN Corp., GE Power PH., Ground Specialist Inc., Hilti PH Inc., Holcim PH Inc., Megawide Construction Corp., Meva PH Inc., Pacific Paint (Boysen) PH Inc., Phelps Dodge PH Energy, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp., Schneider Electric, Trevi Foundations PH Inc., United Perlite Corp., and Yokogawa PH Inc.

Attendees participating in some activities during the forum
Attendees participating in some activities during the forum

Expert enlightenment

First Balfour partnered with Ako ang Bukas (AAB) Movement, an environmental conservation organization leading the climate neutrality movement in the Philippines. Leading the forum were three keynote speakers namely Dr. Angelina Galang, Ms. Agnes De Jesus, and Mr. Paolo Gooco.

Dr. Angelina Galang is a board member of Green Convergence, a coalition working towards safe food, healthy environments, and an equitable economy, while addressing different social and economic issues. Even if her attendance was virtual, she was able to impart valuable data on the different approaches of carbon neutralization, including the process of measuring, lowering, offsetting, and re-measuring its emissions.

First Balfour’s Atty. Juan Carlos de Veyra discussed how different laws and regulations around climate neutrality are being implemented. Providing context on his presentation was First Philippine Holdings Chief Sustainability Officer Ms. Agnes De Jesus (left in photo below) who highlighted how more of these will be modernized and stricter in the coming years. Apart from the implications of climate change in the construction sector, she also gave emphasis on carbon quantification and the urgency of creating decarbonization strategies, where more and more subsidiaries are being profiled for their carbon emissions.

Energy Development Corporation Environmental Specialist Mr. Paolo Gooco (right in photo below) echoed points of decarbonization. His talk spotlighted on greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting wherein he introduced a vital tool—the carbon calculator. The carbon calculator is a free spreadsheet developed by Mr. Gooco and his team to aid in quantifying carbon emissions. The spreadsheet can be used by any individual, team, or organization.

“Construction is the largest consumer of raw materials,” mentioned FPH CSO Agnes De Jesus
“Construction is the largest consumer of raw materials,” mentioned FPH CSO Agnes De Jesus

Bigger steps for bigger players

The speakers communicated their knowledge with high respect by relaying data as real as it gets, mentioning that most processes by construction and other industrial companies contribute greatly toward climate change. But most, if not all, participating companies are far from being aggrieved, as they have shown great sincerity towards climate neutrality by already taking the steps to combat environmental issues.

During the event, companies were given a chance to share their own sustainability initiatives. Though many attendees showed interest in presenting, only Bauer, Hilti, Cemex, Holcim, and Shell were able to introduce their strategies and initiatives in order to respect the times and schedules of participants. By the end of the forum, First Balfour President and Chief Operating Officer Anthony L. Fernandez voiced his gratitude and appreciation for companies taking both big and small steps toward a sustainable future.

Forging collaborative pathways

After the event, Megawide Construction Corporation representatives Sonny Boy Enriquez and Jordan Joel Ortiz  conveyed their interests to collaborate. “We, in Megawide, want to collaborate with First Balfour to ensure that the planet will be healed and saved,” voiced Ortiz. Enriquez added, “Competition becomes ‘co-ompetition’, meaning ‘competitors in cooperation’.” Megawide and First Balfour are among the top engineering and construction companies in the Philippines.

Buddy Bocarile of Yokogawa Philippines also expressed his appreciation for the event. “I’m very privileged on my part knowing that First Balfour is really passionate in driving this forum to attain a level of awareness by providing training like this kind of event,” he shared. Upon asking what interested him in attending the event, he further shared, “We cannot do this alone, our goal as well is to partner with people and companies that have the same mind and direction in really making sure that the planet will meet the objective of net zero by 2050.”

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