By Joe Zaldarriaga

Greener future through One for Trees program of Meralco

The pressing environmental issues of global warming and climate change are no longer distant threats. Devastating consequences are already being felt around the world -- from rising temperatures and sea levels to more frequent and severe natural disasters. Therefore, the need to come up with comprehensive long-term solutions anchored on sustainability has never been more urgent.

Sustainability plays a very vital role in combating environmental issues. The simple act of embracing sustainable practices such as promoting eco-friendly practices and reducing carbon emissions can help reduce and slow down the impact of global warming and climate change. Aside from benefiting the planet, implementing sustainable solutions also improves our quality of life by fostering economic growth and ensuring a secure future for the next generation.

Meralco, the country’s largest electric distribution utility, has long been an advocate of sustainability. The company is mindful of the importance of bringing in sustainable solutions that aim to address the issue of climate change. In fact, one of the key programs under its overarching sustainability agenda, aptly called Powering the Good Life, is One for Trees.

One for Trees is One Meralco’s environmental advocacy program led by its social development arm, One Meralco Foundation. The program is centered on contributing to the preservation and protection of Philippine forests through reforestation and agroforestry across the country. Since its rollout in 2019, the program has so far reached the provinces of Bohol, Bukidnon, Aklan, Agusan del Norte, Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna, Panay and Cebu.

This year’s celebration of Earth Day is extra meaningful for One Meralco as it recently announced that One for Trees has reached a remarkable milestone by planting and nurturing 2 million trees across the Philippines. This achievement accurately demonstrates the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

Aside from actively helping in the growth of forests in the country, One for Trees has also provided livelihood opportunities for its host communities. Engaging local communities to take part in the program has created tangible benefits for them, helping improve their quality of life through access to a sustainable source of income.

Meralco President and CEO and OMF Vice Chairman Atty. Ray C. Espinosa said: “Our reforestation efforts are in line with One Meralco’s holistic approach to embed sustainability not just in our business operations, but also in the development of the communities we serve. As we continue to engage more stakeholders in environmental protection and conservation, we remain committed to helping ensure that the responsibility and benefits of investing in our planet is shared by all.”

Evidently, One for Trees denotes that environmental sustainability and social responsibility can go hand in hand to create a lasting benefit for the people and the planet. Its recent achievement highlights how important it is for members of the private sector to take a leadership role in helping mitigate climate change through promotion of sustainable development.

If we all make a conscious choice to embrace and make sustainability a way of life, we can all help fight climate change even in our own simple ways. In the words of OMF President and Meralco Corporate Social Responsibility Officer, “protecting and nurturing the environment is everyone’s responsibility. As stewards of nature, it is our shared responsibility to ensure that the benefits we now enjoy can be passed on to the next generation.” Simply put, the future of the succeeding generations highly depends on the actions that we take today.


Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Presidential Communications Office.


About the Columnist

Image of Joe Zaldarriaga

Joe Zaldarriaga is a veteran, award-winning communicator immersed in public service within and beyond the energy sector. He has more than 30 years of experience serving the country’s biggest electric distribution utility and is involved in a number of public service functions, as member of various committees on public safety, power supply security and electrification. Concurrently, he is a prominent figure in the Philippine communications industry, as Chairman and Past President of the US-based International Association of Business Communicators Philippines (IABC PH). He is also an awardee of the University of Manila’s Medallion of Honor (Dr. Mariano V. delos Santos Memorial) and a Scroll of Commendation, a testament to his celebrated years in public service exemplified by outstanding communications.

Joe also shares his opinion and outlook on relevant national and consumer issues as a columnist in several prominent publications and is now venturing into new media via hosting a new vlog called Cup of Joe. Previously, Joe was a reporter and desk editor of a Broadcasting Company and the former auditor of the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines. A true green Lasalian, he finished with a degree in Asian Studies specializing in the Japan Studies program at De La Salle University, Manila, where he also spent his entire education.