MARGOT header


Aboitiz hosts innovation workshop on ecosystem-based adaptation

Aboitiz Eyes Team | July 13, 2018

The Aboitiz Group hosted the “Private Sector Workshop on Business & Ecosystem-based Adaptation” last July 6, gathering key stakeholders from Philippine industry, the insurance and finance sectors, and key policymakers for dialogue to identify and discuss collaboration to support ecosystem-based climate adaptation.

The workshop is part of Earth Security Group’s two-year project to facilitate private sector innovations and cross-sector collaboration. Locally, it has partnered with Philippine Business for Environment (PBE), of which Aboitiz is a member, and Asian Institute of Management (AIM) and aligns with the strategic priorities of the National Climate Change Action Plan and the Climate Change Commission of the Philippines.

An ecosystem-based adaptation (EBA) is simply an approach that uses natural ecosystems, natural systems and the services that they provide to adapt to climate change — protective services, regulatory services, water and air filtration, flood and storm protection — key things for business continuity.

Dave Devilles, AEV AVP Corporate Communication and Sustainability, welcomed the participants, sharing key insights on the Aboitiz Group’s initiatives towards carbon emissions reduction. Particularly, what A-Park, the Group’s contribution to the government’s National Greening Program, has been able to achieve so far – 119,500 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent sequestered from 6 million trees planted (with 9 million targeted by 2020), greatly surpassing our 52,000 tons CO2e business consumption as of year-end 2017.




As part of the preliminary topic discussions,Weather Solutions General Manager Jojo Marasigan talked about how the first weather-centric social enterprise in the Philippines can benefit communities through historical and real-time weather data, forecasting, and partnering with organizations across various industries.

Companies and investors in the Philippine have an important role to play in conserving ecosystems to strengthen their resilience to climate change. This is good for the Philippines and good for business. Earth Security Group is delighted to be partnering with local sustainability leader, Aboitiz Group, and our local partners, the Asian Institute of Management, and Philippines Business for Environment, to raise awareness in the business community and mobilize new business opportunities.
– Alejandro Litovsky
Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Earth Security Group



Alejandro Litovsky
Earth Security Group

  • There is a unanimous feel in this country of wanting to do more, of wanting to have greater business value and investments, and wanting to leverage what policymakers are doing, and change the minds and efforts of the public on a greater national scale. We’re already seeing companies like Aboitiz that are new in this space that are stepping in and trying to lead some of the emerging efforts here.



Comm. Noel Gaerlan
Climate Change Commission

  • With climate change, there is a difference in the sense that we have a set of minimums to observe and execute as a collective body to effectively cope with and survive this phenomenon.It would appear that ecosystems are vulnerable as their individual elements. Ecosystems management per se cannot be the solution. It is the incremental actions additional to the business-as-usual measures that we have to cope with that will truly save humanity.
  • Depending on the GHG mitigation path we take, we are looking at the best, the optimum, and the worst case scenario. It is in this context that I am personally advocating a multi-scenario climate risk management approach to the way we analyze and develop our climate change adaptation strategies. We need to see and know what’s going to happen [to you].


MARGOT audience

Margot Clarvis
Earth Security Group

  • The processes that are taking places, whether you’re about conserving, restoring, or sustainably managing these ecosystems — whether we’re talking about protecting coral reefs, rebuilding coral reefs, mangroves, forests, planting green rooms, etc.
  • Very often, businesses can find that these are actually far more cost-effective than replanting a mangrove system, rebuilding the coral reef can actually be far more cost effective than rebuilding a seawall. They can also create additional social and economic value that enhances reputation and value for business.


Developing natural infrastructure solutions for climate resilience in the Philippines is a cost-effective and innovative area of opportunities for Philippine companies, banks and insurers. Restoring degraded or lost coastal mangroves alone could provide more than USD 450 million in flood protection benefits to the Philippines annually. We are exploring opportunities that enable companies combine commercial innovation opportunities with their philanthropic objectives to better protect vulnerable populations and assets against climate extremes.

– Margot Clarvis
Senior Manager
Earth Security Group

For the breakout sessions, participants discussed models to maximize business value from ecosystem-based adaptation and increase the private sector’s participation in developing new business models. Following are ideas that emerged from the group discussions.

  • Exploring opportunities for innovation in natural infrastructure finance:
    • Identify what types of concrete projects the banks will give loans to, or how “bankable” is green infrastructure; develop risk-return frameworks in assessing the bankability of these projects
    • Review and cascade information on laws related to climate change adaptation that private sector can maximize; the Philippines is one of the first in Asia to have a good line-up of legislation concerning climate change, e.g. People’s Survival Fund, Green Jobs Law, etc.
    • Develop capacity building initiatives focused on making agricultural resources bankable
  • Exploring opportunities for innovation in insurance:
    • Find out the benefits of an identified ecosystem in mitigating damage and see if these benefits are usable information to the insurance industry; identify the customer and the products that each possible customer would need
    • Identify areas of priority e.g. coastlines, river delta areas, tsunami zones, etc.
  • Exploring opportunities for innovation in business innovation incubators:
    • An agri-based innovation would entail developing local farms and urban farming
    • For solid waste management, there is a need for investment in infrastructure and research (e.g. a machine that collects ocean trash, a trash-eating enzyme)
    • A weather-based innovation for livelihood protection and resilience
  • Exploring opportunities for innovation in land conservation:
    • Create a national implementation plan covering ridge-to-reef and submitted to the Green Climate Fund
    • Create a standardized methodology as a way to create a currency of selling ecosystem services
    • Work with multiple stakeholders to create regulation policies

(Photos courtesy of  PBE)


In closing the program, Ms. Clarvis shared that the next step is to take the proposals and for Earth Security Group to help them move forward. A workshop will then be held in January that will focus on the regulatory and government-facing aspects of realizing the projects.

Following the day-long event, participants took a tour of a.Lab where they learned about weather technology from WeatherPhilippines, social media monitoring tools, and, overall, what an agile work environment is like in the Aboitiz setting.




The PBE spearheads sustainability management initiatives in the country through consulting various organizations and implementing projects. The group collaborates with businesses to help them achieve beyond the triple bottom line — people, planet, and profit — to be part of the key contributors to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.