ACEN is committed to protecting communities, including both indigenous and vulnerable populations that are affected by its operations. We seek to build in areas with little or no population and will avoid involuntary resettlement (physical and economic) wherever possible. We will engage with affected communities and local government units when acquiring land for our projects and throughout the lifecycle of these projects. We also adhere to high standards on a broader range of material issues that impact power companies. These include business ethics, labor practices, employee health and safety, water and waste management, as well as materials sourcing and efficiency, and product design and lifecycle management.
For more information on ACEN’s approach to managing social risks at the project level, see ESMS.
ACEN believes that the socio-economic progress of our host communities is a key metric of our business success. Supporting our communities’ self-reliance and economic security enables us to create shared value. ACEN has invested over ₱89 million towards our partner host communities. In 2021, ACEN has uplifted close to 32,500 individuals, 28 hospitals, 137 schools, and 41 communities through our community initiatives by engaging in a range of social development initiatives and creating sustainable green jobs as well as promoting eco-preneurship to ensure the health and livelihood of the local communities.
We also prioritize job creation in all our project sites for the benefit of our host communities. Today, over 70 percent of our plant employees are locally hired.
In addition, ACEN’s assets in International invested a total of P22.7M in various CSR activities for its host communities. Through our partner UPC Renewables, Sidrap Wind has implemented community development projects such as road improvements and water pipeline expansion activities. These programs have enhanced agricultural activities and provided clean water access to Lawowoi, Lainungan, and Mattirotasi villages within the Watang Pulu district. In Vietnam, the Mui Ne Windproject, through our partner The Blue Circle, delivered 10 water tanks to aid the water scarcity of poor households in Thien Nghiep Commune, benefitting over 6,000 people. These water tanks would allow for the storage of water during the rainy season to be used during the dry season.
Under New England Solar Farm’s Community Benefit Sharing Initiative, our partner UPC\AC Renewables set up the Uralla Grants program to benefit local community projects. A total of AUD 100,000 in grants was allocated to support projects within the Uralla Shire, Dangarsleigh, and Kellys Plains communities. Through two funding rounds, the Uralla Grants were able to support individuals and local organizations to implement 26 projects covering local community events, renovation of community facilities, healthcare initiatives, and support towards education, sporting, and aged-care efforts.
1 9.4M of International spending on CSR activities are attributable to ACEN
As part of our strategy for resource enhancement and the integration of a stronger sense of environmental awareness, accountability, and stewardship in places of operation, we produced 13 different livelihood programs in 2021. The livelihood programs focused on skills enhancement, women empowerment, creation of green jobs and the promotion of sustainable ecopreneurship.
We recognize that the women’s sector is among those most impacted by the pandemic. In partnership with Ensha Wellness, a unique skills training in hilot-hilom was conducted for 30 women from the local communities in Ilocos Norte. The hilot-hilom is a traditional massage locally known as “ablon” which has a healing effect on the body. The trainees were provided with massage kits during the training.
In the same vein, we collaborated with Ayala Foundation and TESDA to train 100 mothers in different municipalities of Cagayan Valley to equip them with various skills in vending, cooking, nail care, and sewing, with the goal to enhance their skills and provide additional knowledge to jumpstart new sources of income.
ACEN ensures that aside from protecting the environment, we also create an impact on the lives of the communities we work with through our environmental livelihood programs. In collaboration with local and indigenous people’s organizations, we invested ₱7 million in the promotion of green jobs which consist of reforestation efforts (seedling production, wildling rescue, tree planting and tree nourishing, terrestrial and mangrove forest management, and protection and rehabilitation) and terrestrial and marine wildlife protection.
Inside the 700-hectare Conservation Estate in Ilocos Norte is a 4.5-hectare agroforestry model farm anchored on excellent environmental management and social programs. These social programs aim to improve the lives of host communities through the integration of agricultural innovation and practices, and additional income through green jobs.
Through analogue forestry, the community based reforestation initiatives have planted a total of 453,710 endemic and fruit-bearing seedlings to create an ecologically diverse landscape. To sustain green programs at the model farm, strengthened partnerships with local and business organizations are being forged to create a community-based agricultural enterprise among farmer–participants and their families.
We prioritized the rehabilitation of damaged schools affected by Typhoon Odette (Rai) within our host communities in Bais City, Negros Oriental. We also helped in the rehabilitation of 32 damaged classrooms to the benefit of 2,451.
ACEN’s International assets invested over ₱1.4 million in educational programs and assistance to support various local communities in Vietnam and Indonesia. These programs include provisions for school supplies, scholarships, and the improvement of educational facilities. Through our partner STAR Energy, Salak Geothermal has contributed to the improvement of rural literacy by supporting the development of the Taman Pamekar Library into a digital library. This would benefit approximately 5,600 individuals in the local community.
To further expand our education projects, with Mano Amiga, a non-profit organization that uplifts low-income communities by providing access to high quality education, skills training, and sustainable livelihood. The partnership seeks to provide scholarships to school-age children from marginalized families, integrate sustainability in Mano Amiga’s academic curriculum, and create opportunities for meaningful employee engagement.
With the increase in force and frequency of natural disasters, along with recovery costs, we have always ensured the quick implementation of measures to mitigate these events and leverage on the Ayala Group’s strengths. ACEN, in collaboration with the Ayala Foundation, supported the typhoon-affected communities of Cagayan, La Union and Negros Oriental through relief operations and rehabilitation efforts. Despite troubling economic times amidst the pandemic, in response to the areas devasted by Typhoon Maring (Kompasu) and Typhoon Odette (Rai), ACEN together with the Ayala Group, has distributed a total of 7,368 food packs to affected families. The food packs contain necessities such as rice, canned goods, noodles, face masks, eco-bags, and water. ACEN has spent a total of ₱12.96 million for the disaster response initiatives including the donation of a fire truck to Iloilo city.
ACEN also remains committed to support businesses on their path to carbon neutrality by entering into energy supply contracts with our customers to provide renewable energy from our portfolio to ensure that the energy they will use in operating their businesses will come from sustainable power sources. Our customers also get to support the growth of the emerging renewables sector and take part in the energy transition from fossil fuels to green energy sources.
Our suppliers and contractors are valuable stakeholders as well in our thrust toward sustainability. We carefully assess and select prospective vendors on their ability to adhere to the standards and principles of a circular economy that we espouse. For instance, since 2020, we began integrating the use of eco-products in our construction sites across the Philippines.
We also partner with engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors that are certified members of the PV Cycle Association—a global industry-based organization that provides businesses with sustainable waste management solutions aligned with the European Waste Shipment Regulation and the Basel Convention. ACEN adopts this framework to ensure proper disposal or recycling of e-waste such as photovoltaic (PV) modules that have reached end-of-life or that have been otherwise damaged during transport on installation.
Additionally, over 90 percent of our regular contractors in the Philippines are hired locally. In Australia, our development platform UPC\AC Renewables has signed a modern slavery pledge developed by the Clean Energy Council to strengthen efforts in managing the risks of modern slavery in the supply chain.
ACEN is cognizant of the challenge of ensuring that the benefits of a renewable energy future redound to all sectors of society. With the impending shift from traditional energy sources such as fossil fuels, the risk of disenfranchising certain stakeholders and disempowering economies is imminent.
We are primarily addressing this challenge together with global multi-sectoral partners and the Council for Inclusive Capitalism in developing the Just Energy Transition framework, which is seen as a definitive guide for enterprises across various industries to ensure inclusive, long-term positive impact of pivoting to cleaner energy. By promoting best practices, convening in roundtable discussions, organizing learning sessions from expert groups, as well as seeking feedback from the public, we believe that a just energy transition could be within view sooner than anticipated.
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