First Commercial Bank Adopts Forest – Committing Leadership to Work “In Harmony with Nature” and to “Plant for the Planet”

30 November 2019, Laguna Quezon Land Grant (LQLG), Siniloan, Laguna“What is the one thing we all share in common? What do all of us on Earth pursue aside from Happiness?”

These questions were what Mr. Deng Jun, Country Head  from the Bank of China (BOC) in the Philippines, asked his 31 Earth Warriors during the closing remarks and Certificate Awarding on the 30th of November 2019, after supporting the reforestation and planting of 1,000 indigenous Philippine rainforest trees sourced from the local community of forest guards and community residents in Siniloan, Laguna.

As part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) advocacy for education and the environment, and to celebrate its being the first commercial bank with FEED to have seeded the start of its very own forest, Mr Deng committed on the spot to doing much more next year: “Why only 1,000? We can and must do more.  Being in Harmony with Nature is what we all – intuitively, inherently and inevitably – share deep inside our moral fibers, at the level of our personal ethical code, we must build such character traits amongst ourselves as guardians of the future health of Earth and for future generations. With our customers, partners and stakeholders, we must build sustainability into our workplace and homes, with  actions that encourage us to honor and protect our fragile  environment that provides us with sustenance, to reverse climate’s ‘tipping point’.”

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From L-R: Forester (For.) Rey Lorida (Field Manager, LQLG); Ms. Anne-Marie Mananquil Bakker (FEED Director, Partnerships); Mr Deng Jun, Country Head, Bank of China – Manila Branch; Pieter E.M. Bakker, Corporate Strategy Advisor (FEED): Mr Deng receives the CSR Patron of Education & Environment Certificate of Appreciation, after having committed on the spot to doing much more 2020 and beyond: “Why only 1,000? We can and must do more.  Being in Harmony with Nature is what we all – intuitively, inherently and inevitably – share deep inside our moral fibers…”.

Forester Rey Lorida who has been supervising the 9,000 plus hectares of protected forest at the LQLG for 21 years to date, including the slowly growing 28 permanent forest guards, was happily shocked to the point of tears when Mr. Deng announced his spontaneous pledge after the planting.

On behalf of UPLB, For. Lorida said: “We thank you for spending your Saturday with us to restore a critical watershed that supplies urban areas in and around Metro Manila with our freshwater; protects our families from severe Eastern winds and typhoons (such as the latest #Tisoy); and nurtures all of us and the forests’ living creatures with the food security that is becoming scarce due to climate change. Congratulations to Bank of China honorary forest guards!”     

Ms. Bakker, FEED’s Director of Partnerships reiterated that Bank of China in the Philippines, being the “first commercial bank to plant their own forest with FEED” is therefore a pioneer in its field, industry and the country. We are very moved that you have openly shown your authentic spirit throughout the planting to help our planet. May other banks and companies be as inspired and driven to act on climate change, and to demonstrate their service to society by giving back to Nature, supporting a needy scholar and showing compassion to communities in need of sustainable support.”

She also joked that perhaps Forester Rey might be tempted to “donate a whole mountain of the Sierra Madres to BOC”, in part referring to LQLG’s ensuing plans to convert a significant part of the forest into a Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified sustainably managed forest, through for example, industrial bamboo and other high-value, intercropped plantations managed by community cooperatives under LQLG forest guards and UPLB’s College of Forestry & Natural Resources. As of this writing, there is a PhD application from FEED to UPLB to conduct exactly this type of practical research  challenge into an opportunity for livelihood at the LQLG and for the local communities; it helps that Bakker is also a member of the FSC, with direct access to best practices from around the world in sustainable forestry management. (More news on this in 2020)

FEED-LL-CSR-BOC-1-LQLG-1-30NOV2019114.jpgBOC’s apropos tagline for the planting (and for us all!) was “Plant for the Planet” – it was conceived by BOC’s very own Deanna Lansangan from the Resource Management team, who also helped FEED fine-tune BOC’s entire CSR tree-planting program, with finishing touches such as including natively sources buko juice (coconut water) from one of the forest guards families, who are also involved in LQLG’s nursery development, site preparations and maintenance of the seedlings planted by FEED and partners.

Ms. Lansangan had also conducted an ocular inspection of BOC’s planting site back in October prior to the planting, to ensure the safety and security of all their Earth Warriors, and to carry out her own planting with colleague Ms. Grace. They also visited the nearest nursery closest to their planting site, which was then confirmed to be included in the program. 

After the welcome and climate change talks by For. Lorida and Ms. Bakker, participants warmed up before proceeding to the nursery to appreciate where the seedlings originated and how to propagate. 8 BOC volunteers proceeded to add another 10 native Malaruhat wildlings to nursery bags with compost, which were then added to the current 100,000 plus stock.

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“Being the first commercial bank to plant with FEED is an honor and a privilege, we are aspiring to do more for the environment and community as it is an integral part of BOC’s heritage.” When we asked Ms. Deanna more about the Bank’s service to society, she mentioned that BOC’s over 100-year history always embraced its mission of “promoting social welfare and putting people first as its guiding principle. Within the industry, BOC has built up and maintained its ‘Serving Society, Delivering  Excellence‘ mission, which is widely recognized by our long-standing customers.”  

Led and facilitated by 15 LQLG forest guards who help protect the over 9,000 hectares, BOC participants reached the planting site on a moderately paced walk into a naturally bamboo wooded forest with a clearing, where 1,010 holes had been prepared the day prior with equidistant spacing, depth and width; with 4 species of native Philippine flowering and fruit bearing forest trees: Bani, Malaruhat, Bignay and Lipote. The extra 10 seedlings are a contingency against the average 10% mortality, so they can be replaced as needed.

FEED-LL-CSR-BOC-1-LQLG-1-30NOV201945FEED-LL-CSR-BOC-1-LQLG-1-30NOV201946After a technical demonstration on debagging and properly planting at root collar level by For. Rey Lorida, the 31 Earth Warriors proceeded to plant seriously and steadfastly, until they had completed an average of 12 per person, while others reached 20. Quality control was carried out to ensure correct debagging and packing of the soil, and the group pictures showed how healthy everyone looked after touching the Earth – the red and clayish soil was full of earthworms, a clear indication that it is nutrient rich.

Excited to head back to enjoy their buko juice, the trek to the Training Center was accomplished within 20 minutes – some opting to take the amusing and challenging roller coaster tractor – everyone was famished and ready to eat their morning snacks. After the meaningful activity, the BOC Earth Warriors went home feeling fulfilled for being able to plant more trees for the planet.

GPS Coordinates

Use any GPS (Global Positioning System) software / applications to input the latitude and longitude coordinates to be able to remotely see the location of your trees planted. Some examples include:

What can you do that will have the biggest impact? Here are some guides  that can help you “take your climate action to the next level”(Earth Day Network)

In a new report published in September 2018, the world’s leading climate scientists made their starkest warning so far: our current actions are not enough for us to meet our target of 1.5C of warming. We need to do more….

…So we don’t need to ask whether climate change is happening – or whether humans are causing it. Instead, we need to ask: “what can we do?” What can you do that will have the biggest impact? (Source:  https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20181102-what-can-i-do-about-climate-change)

Going Zero Waste

Going zero waste is a great step towards combating climate change. Practicing the 5 R’s of zero waste can help.

You’ve probably heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But there are two more that are equally important.

  • Refuse – Avoid single use plastics and paper products by saying no thank you, opting for reusables.
  • Reduce – Downsize what you purchase, opting to be more mindful of what you really need.
  • Reuse – Always find a way to keep an item out of the landfill by keeping it in great condition, repairing or upcycling it when it breaks.
  • Rot – Set up a compost system for your food scraps, or find a food scrap drop off center (like a farmers market, or community garden) near your house.
  • Recycle – Properly recycle any plastic, paper, glass or metal that comes into your life you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse by researching your state’s recycling laws.

Zero wasters do their best to follow these 5 R’s as closely as possible.

Source: https://www.goingzerowaste.com/blog/5-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint

What Banks Can Do for Climate Change

“My message to these banks is simple: stop funding fossil fuels. These investments are incompatible with global climate targets and will be money down the drain,” Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the UK’s Green Party said.  Reports also prove that “the global financial system is helping to fund a rise in global average temperatures of more than 4C….A 4C temperature increase is expected to cause a 9-metre rise in sea levels, devastating heatwaves and droughts, and serious food supply problems.”

Clearly, there is a need for more carbon-focused national and industrial regulations for many industries.  “This money should be funding renewable energy and energy efficiency, so that we can tackle the climate emergency with a clean, green future…It is painfully alarming to hear that our banks continue to pour money into fossil fuel activities that threaten our very existence. ..This news is a devastating blow for humanity: business as usual must stop now.” – Sarah Greenfield Clark, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion.

In 2015, the Paris Climate Agreement was adopted, committing almost all of the 200 plus  countries worldwide to working to keep increases in global average temperature to well below 2C, an ambitious global action plan to fight climate change. As part of the agreement, world leaders committed to making “finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”. (Source: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/paris-climate-agreement-everything-you-need-know)

About Bank of China

FEED-LL-CSR-BOC-1-LQLG-1-30NOV20192Bank of China is the Bank with the longest continuous operation among Chinese banks. The Bank was formally established in February 1912 following the approval of Dr. Sun Yat-sen. From 1912 to 1949, the Bank served consecutively as the country’s central bank, international exchange bank and specialised international trade bank. Fulfilling its commitment to serving the public and developing China’s financial services sector, the Bank rose to a leading position in the Chinese financial industry and developed a good standing in the international financial community, despite many hardships and setbacks.

After 1949, drawing on its long history as the state-designated specialised foreign exchange and trade bank, the Bank became responsible for managing China’s foreign exchange operations and provided vital support to the nation’s foreign trade development and economic infrastructure through its offering of international trade settlement, overseas fund transfer and other non-trade foreign exchange services.

During China’s reform and opening up period, the Bank seized the historic opportunity presented by the government’s strategy of capitalising on foreign funds and advanced technologies to boost economic development, and became the country’s key foreign financing channel by building up its competitive advantages in foreign exchange business.

After 1949, drawing on its long history as the state-designated specialised foreign exchange and trade bank, the Bank became responsible for managing China’s foreign exchange operations and provided vital support to the nation’s foreign trade development and economic infrastructure through its offering of international trade settlement, overseas fund transfer and other non-trade foreign exchange services.

During China’s reform and opening up period, the Bank seized the historic opportunity presented by the government’s strategy of capitalising on foreign funds and advanced technologies to boost economic development, and became the country’s key foreign financing channel by building up its competitive advantages in foreign exchange business.

BOC-LOGO.jpegBank of China has upheld the spirit of “pursuing excellence” throughout its history of over one century. With adoration of the nation in its soul, integrity as its backbone, reform and innovation as its path forward and “people first” as its guiding principle, the Bank has built up an excellent brand image that is widely recognised within the industry and by its customers. In face of the period of historic opportunities for great achievements, as a large state-owned commercial bank, the Bank will follow Xi Jinping’s Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, persistently enable advancement through technology, drive development through innovation, deliver performance through transformation and enhance strength through reform, in an effort to build BOC into a world-class bank in the new era. It will make a greater contribution to developing a modernised economy and to the efforts to realise the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation and the aspirations of the people to live a better life.

Read more about BOC here: https://www.boc.cn/en

Contact FEED

In 2015, the Philippine government submitted to the United Nations the country’s commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The country committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 70 percent by 2030. The carbon dioxide reductions will come from the sectors of energy, transport, waste, forestry and industry.

Join us!  Help us reverse the Earth’s “hothouse climate” tipping point.

Tree-Planting with FEED

Contact us at FEED for more details, to join our regular activities or to design your own tree-nurturing eventinfo@feed.org.ph or call/text +63 (0)917 552 4722.

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