The weavers in Sitio Campandan, in the island of Hinatuan, have been contracted by Hinatuan Mining Corp. (HMC), a subsidiary of Nickel Asia Corp. (NAC), to produce 5000 seedling pots made of ‘pandan dagat’ (pandanus tectorius) which they call “jobo pots” in a per-contract arrangement worth P25,000.
HMC engages the weavers as part of the mining company’s ESG initiatives.
Rigena Perales is a 58-year old resident of Sitio Campandan and she understands the value add they contribute to HMC’s goal of getting rid of plastics used for seedling pots and helping augment the income of the people in the island.
“Nakakatulong sa amin ang ganitong pinagkakakitaan nakakatulong pa kami sa
gusto ng HMC na hindi na sana gumamit ng plastic para sa mga seedling pots dahil mabuti sa kalikasan,” Perales confirmed.
HMC is seriously adhering to the global clamor of employing ESG criteria in evaluating, measuring, and reporting about the company’s impacts to the aspects of Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG).
“With all the deliberations about climate change and business sustainability it has become critical that our business moves are intertwined with ESG concerns and engaging the communities is a necessary aspect” said Engr. Francis J. Arañes, Resident Mine Manager.
Arañes explains that it’s the whole process of sustainability that HMC is aiming for.
Right now, 40% of their seedling pots are “jobo pots” the big goal is at least 80% before the end of next year.
Jomer D. Tiamson, HMC Environment Manager, said it entails cost because a plastic seedling bag is twenty-five centavos apiece (P0.25) while a ‘jobo pot’ which they buy from the weavers costs the company five pesos each (P5.00).
“It is costly but whoever said that caring for the environment is cheap. Besides, we are covering all the letters of ESG in this proposition – protecting the environment in adherence to the ‘no single use of plastic’ campaign; aim to uplift the lives of the people in the communities where we operate; and adherence to the mandate of the government as a responsible mining company.”
Tiamson explains however that in the long run, the use of jobo as seedling pots is economically practical, other than the pots are biodegradable, because seedlings on jobo pots have a higher chance of survival.
Tiamson added that HMC is also looking at the matter of having enough materials for
the hundreds of jobo pots they will need in the future and part of future plans is to augment the growing of pandan dagat, which is also another opportunity for “green jobs” for the people in Hinatuan island, in Tagana-an, Surigao del Norte.
The ‘jobo pot’ may be a small detail in the operations of HMC as a company, but it is indicative that ESG and Sustainability propositions are not just buzzwords or simply data reporting across the NAC organization but suggestive of a mindset of a responsible mining company.