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10 Insights From Federico R. Lopez About Caring For The Environment

First Philippine Holdings Corporation Chairman and CEO Federico R. Lopez foresees a decarbonized future in the decades to come and calls for a regenerative solution in response to climate change

Federico "Piki" R. Lopez
Federico "Piki" R. Lopez

As Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corporation, Federico R. Lopez seeks to surmount the climate crisis by steering clear of the coal sector and shifting their energy strategies beyond sustainable business practices to promote not only the alleviation of climate change but also action toward the agonizing effects of climate change to our environment.

Here are highlights from his various environment-related speeches:

1. Environmental degradation escalates poverty and social prejudice.

“Climate change is also a poverty multiplier and it’s expected that inequality will widen as the poor find it even more difficult to avoid all the ravaging effects of the climate crisis.”

2. The linear production economy poses a long-term threat to our consumption culture. 

“It’s this economic model of ‘Take, Make, and Waste’ and ‘Extract Value’ that’s killing us. Someone once used the analogy of a bacterial culture multiplying in a petri dish till all the nutrients are used up. What happens next, of course, is all the microbes then die in a sea of their own waste.”

3. It is imperative that business entities exceed bottom-line growth and GDP increase by partaking in the betterment of the planet.

“I believe enlightened shareholders, in due time, will also realize that there are no jobs, profits, or even remnants of shareholder value on a dead planet.”

4. The pandemic is only a sneak peak of the ripple effects or reverberations of the ongoing climate crisis.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is just a mere ‘fire drill’ for what’s coming and demonstrates the scale at which things need to change. We are living in a time that calls for great paradigm shifts, and businesses that seek to thrive in this era must be able to reimagine and redesign themselves for this new world.”

5. Companies play a crucial role in community reboot.

“CSR or philanthropy may ease our consciences but the sad fact is they may never scale up enough to heal our hurting world in time. There is an urgency for all of us to go beyond incremental sustainability and transform into regenerative forces that align our profit engines with the need for a better, more just world and a safer planet.”

Malitbog Geothermal Power Station in Kananga, Leyte
Malitbog Geothermal Power Station in Kananga, Leyte

6. The rehabilitation of the environment and its resources should transcend sustainability and seek a lasting solution. 

“We didn’t feel it was appropriate anymore to use the word ‘sustainable’ in a world that’s so badly in need of healing and renewal, so we took on the challenge of using the word ‘regenerative’ instead, with all the responsibility it carries.”

7. A shift in energy strategy is a significant step to curbing climate change.

“We are not a full-on regenerative company today; no one is yet. But we chose it deliberately to signal to our people that they have a license to adopt this new mindset as our inherent way of doing business and that it’s okay for them to ‘bring their values to work’ every day. Being regenerative doesn’t scale if it only comes from the top; it has to permeate the organization and how it does business day to day.”

8. Rebuilding the environment equates to reshaping communities to the core.

“Being regenerative, however, isn’t just about renewing the environment. It’s even more about healing the wounds inflicted on our communities and our societies from decades of economic thinking and the resulting policies that have widened inequalities and made the dream of prosperity for billions of people even more out of reach.”

9. Consumerism and capitalism has long before left many people behind in misery.

“Even as we breach much of our planet’s safe environmental limits, billions of people still do not have decent access to energy, clean drinking water, toilets, food, healthcare, education, housing, income and work, political voice, social and gender equity, or even peace and justice.”

10. A decarbonized infrastructure development is a strategic start to creating smart cities.

“Beyond designing for a decarbonized world, just as important would be planning for resilience amidst a harsher climate. Here we could reimagine how we design our cities with resilient infrastructure like underground power lines and distributed generation and microgrids as well as circularity in the use of water, rainwater and waste—a valuable resource we’re literally throwing away.”

Federico R. Lopez calls on other conglomerates to embrace the regenerative economy and champion its cause. He stressed that the movement should be a collaborative undertaking and not a competition. He said, “I keep stressing to our people that if we find ourselves ahead and alone at the finish line, we will have failed in our mission.”

First Philippine Holdings (FPH)  is a pioneering holding company with principal interests in clean and renewable energy, real estate, manufacturing, construction, healthcare, and education. FPH is a member of the Lopez Group of Companies.