Sid Consunji eyeing ‘game-changing' entry into palm oil, carbon credits

Warren de Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 28 2022 05:11 PM

Isidro "Sid" Consunji, the Management Man of the Year 2022 of the Management Association of the Philippines, is looking for a "game-changing" new venture in agriculture. 

On the sidelines of his awarding ceremony Monday, Consunji talked about a new chapter in his career in farming.

"I really want to have a life, a better life for more Filipinos. We are trying initiatives in agriculture, so I hope we succeed in that,” he said.

"Family has agricultural investments in Mindanao. We think we that can probably leverage that and provide more employment in the countryside where there is no employment opportunities now, and probably doesn’t require a lot of cash, but requires a lot of effort and management skills and a different way of looking at things.”

Asked to elaborate further, Consunji listed some of their investment options: “African palm oil, carbon credits, rubber. Something that would be a mix of industrial and environmental activities. But it is not yet well defined yet at this point. But I think palm oil and carbon credits.”

Consunji mentioned that economist Dr. Bernardo “Bernie” Villegas is advising them on this venture, alongside UP Los Banos, and the Department of Energy and Natural Resources under current Secretary Ma. Antonia “Toni” Yulo-Loyzaga.

"We just talked to Secretary Loyzaga, and we have identified some areas. But it has to be checked with parang a certification team, kung aacceptin kung pwede sa carbon credits o hindi. So I cannot tell exactly how big it is,” he said.

Carbon credits and the carbon credit market make up a system designed to help businesses offset carbon dioxide emissions. Through this system, businesses like DMCI Holdings, which counts coal mining as one of its main revenue generators, can engage in efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Tree planting, for example, can help reduce carbon emissions. 

After passing a stringent certification program, tree planting projects can generate carbon credits which can be sold in the carbon credit market to companies seeking to offset their emissions.

As to what they will be planting, Consunji is convinced they will be in the palm oil space as Filipinos have been made to endure high cooking oil inflation due to supply and logistics problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Definitely palm oil, because we import a lot of palm oil.”

He expects this farming foray to be significant, somewhere in Southern Visayas or Mindanao. 

“Malalaki yan, thousands of hectares yan. It doesn’t make sense otherwise. Palagay ko game changer in Philippine economy, Philippine agriculture,” he said.

For now it is unclear if this new venture will be part of Consunji’s listed DMCI Holdings, Incorporated. 

“I don’t know which part, but it is something the family is committed to, and I think Shell is there, Marubeni is there. We are very encouraged by the initiative of Secretary Loyzaga of DENR. She is very much into it. They are forming a technical working group, so hopefully it will be formed next month,” he said.