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Seeing the pictures of the families together really warmed our hearts

Last April, Jacobi Carbons Philippines commemorated the annual Earth Day celebration with a family tree planting activity and a photography contest. With the theme of Restoring Planet Earth, each employee was given a coconut seedling to take home to their family and plant together. We met with Maria Nina Banares, who works at our factory in the Philippines to find out more.

Nina, you organised this tree planting activity. What is your role at Jacobi?

I am the General Manager for Administration at our factory in the Philippines (JCX) and I have been here from the start. We built the factory back in 2015. I was heading up the environment section and handling quality and environment at that time. From the environment side we always have these annual activities that focus on the planet.

Usually, every first or second quarter of the year, we have the tree planting activity, but this time around it was not just tree planting. We call it the tree growing activity because every employee gets to plant a tree and they have the responsibility to grow it and monitor its health along with their family.

How many trees have you planted?

One per participant (employee or community worker) since 2016. So, it’s around 650 coconut trees. In 2020, we were not able to plant any due to the pandemic. 650 trees won’t save the planet of course, but we see this as a nice way of engaging people and reminding our employees of Jacobi’s ambition to be a sustainable company. Planting a tree that will live for many years makes people think of that.

In the Philippines, we call the coconut tree the tree of life, since all parts of the tree have their own use. Our message to all the employees is that this tree is a symbol of life throughout the pandemic.

Maria Nina Banares, General Manager for Administration.

Voted as Best Picture. Romel S. Yamit with his family.

First Runner Up. Efraim L. Almonical with his family.

Second Runner Up. Dann Justine D. Sinogaya and Angeli L. Sinogaya with their daughter.

And you decided to document this with a photo contest.

Yes, the families took pictures while planting the tree and the family photos were sent to us. Then we all voted for the winners. The prize was nothing expensive, some groceries that we bought at the local store, but the employees were very happy. This wasn’t about the prize; the most important thing was that we did it together during the hard times of the pandemic. Seeing the pictures of the families doing this really warmed our hearts.

How did the employees react?

In the Philippines, due to the pandemic, people cannot usually go out. But if they go out as a family it is okay, as long as they’re not with anybody else. So, I think it was a nice opportunity for the families to bond together. It’s a very good programme, not only for our employees, but also for the Philippine Environmental Management Bureau. We report the number of trees that we plant every year and they have been very appreciative of this initiative.

Will you continue planting trees for the coming years?

Yes, we will definitely do that, because it has given us so much here at our factory. The idea is to do it twice a year, with a photo contest. The contest makes it visible for everyone and the ceremony when we nominate the winners is also a good activity. We recommend other companies do something similar. It’s good for the company culture, and for the environment of course.

Special prize for Innovation and Creativity. Jeffrey Alia with his wife and their son, wearing their Higaonon tribal dress planting the coconut tree at their ancestral domain in Malasag.

Thank you for all your wonderful contributions.

If you would like to find out more about this activity or even start your own, you can get some tips from Nina. You can reach her at

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