Sustainable Land Development: WWF-Ayala Land Partnership | WWF

Sustainable Land Development: WWF-Ayala Land Partnership

Geographical location:

Asia/Pacific > Southeast Asia > Philippines

Renewable energy. Philippines.
© WWF Philippines / Lory Tan


Land development and construction have significant impacts on the environment. The conversion of agricultural lands to urban and residential areas reduces biocapacity – the ability of the land to produce food and other resources needed by society.

The building and construction industry consumes around half the resources taken from nature worldwide, including 25% of the wood harvest (United Nations Environment Programme). This project is a partnership with Ayala Land Inc, a major Phillipine development company, to work towards a sustainable land development programme, which will provide a baseline for future developments with the aim of reducing negative environmental impacts.


The negative impacts of unsustainable development are numerous. For example, mining, quarrying, drilling and harvesting depletes natural resources and pollutes the air and water, generates waste and accounts for biological diversity losses. Transporting raw materials to production facilities, then transforming them into building and construction products, generates further pollution and requires considerable energy consumption with its associated greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

In addition, many products generate waste at installation and others have relatively short useful lives, leading to frequent disposal and manufacture of replacement products. Worldwide, energy consumption by the built environment is responsible for 40% of GHGs.

Calculations by the Global Footprint Network show that except for a brief blip in 1972-73, the biocapacity of Philippines natural resources has persistently declined from the equivalent of 1 global ha per capita to a 2003 level of just about half a global ha per capita.
At the same time the country’s ecological footprint has shown a continuous rise so that by 2003, it reached 1.05 global ha per capita. Expressed in per capita terms, the results demonstrate a deterioration in the average biomass yields of natural resources and an average increase in consumption.

The parallel trends in the urbanization of the country point to the principal factor responsible for these trends: the ecological non-sustainability of urban development in the Philippines. Over the same period, urban population has grown at a very rapid rate.

For human settlement formation to be sustainable, urban development must be accompanied by an increase in the biocapacity of the rural hinterland which must produce surpluses to supply the urbanized communities with grain, fruits, vegetables, meat, and dairy products for their food, fibre for clothing, and forest and other construction materials for houses and buildings. It must also produce sufficient to provide exports to pay for the consumer and capital goods that are imported.

Sustainability requires that single property development projects be assessed in terms of their impact on the biocapacity of the hinterland which supports the whole urbanized sectors, and on the ecological footprint that will depend on that capacity.


WWF and Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) will collaboratively develop an ALI Sustainability Framework to chart, monitor and report its progress in sustainable land development.

The principal areas of partnership include:
- Formulation of the ALI sustainability vision and metrics in all stages of the property life cycle.
- Establishment of ALI baselines on land use, social, and environmental impacts.
- Development of monitoring and evaluation systems, sustainability reporting, communications and capacity building for ALI staff and development of pilot projects in sustainable land development.


WWF and ALI will work together to develop the following:

1. ALI sustainability framework development
- Set targets in water, energy, carbon and waste reduction for existing and future offices, malls and residential developments.
- ‘Green’ its supply chain through life cycle assessments and establish sustainable procurement standards.
- ‘Green’ its customer and tenant base.
- Provide technical assistance to ALI projects through access to experts, and the conduct of sustainability workshops/seminars.

2. Establishment of ALI baselines on environment and social impacts
- Establish baseline information on the environmental and social performance of existing and future developments for each building category.
- Provide benchmark information as basis for setting footprint reduction targets.
- Provide empirical basis for modelling future building performance for purposes of certification (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)).
- Understand cradle-to-grave impacts using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), modelling and input-output analysis.
- Assess social impacts of land developments through social accounting matrix, footprint calculation and recommend strategies for community development using participatory approaches.

3. Pilot projects on sustainable land development
- Implement sustainable land development through specific projects including but not limited to Anvaya Morong and Nuvalli.
- Formulate a sustainability framework, metrics and targets for these ALI projects.
- Pilot the use of tools (e.g. LCA, footprint, social accountability matrix).
- Provide technical assistance through access to experts for water, waste, renewable energies.
- Coastal zone and watershed management, geographic information system (GIS) mapping, carbon credits and other themes.
- Develop monitoring plans and mechanisms.
- Report progress.

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