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The La Mesa Watershed Reservation is a protected area that includes the La Mesa Dam and Reservoir, the primary source of potable water for the 12 million residents in the Manila metropolitan area.

SGS employees at the SGS TreeAthlon activity

It is considered a carbon sink as it absorbs 3% of the total carbon emissions of the National Capital Region. The reservation sustains a variety of ecosystems involving multiple indigenous and endemic species of flora and fauna across 1,800 hectares of forest and 300 hectares of open pastures and areas under cultivation. Because of the societal and environmental significance of the reservation, the area is controlled by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) as well as other authorities.

Since 2013, SGS Philippines has supported an annual ”TreeAthlon” in partnership with DENR and the environmental charity Bantay Kalikasan. The TreeAthlon was conceptualized by the SGS Governments and Institutions Services (GIS) team and has since been adopted by SGS Gulf Limited Regional Headquarters (SGS ROHQ), SGS Philippines, Inc. (SGS PH) and SGS Subic Bay, Inc. The aim of the project is to plant, grow and sustain saplings in the La Mesa Watershed Reservation, in support of the important work being done to protect the vital supply of water for the millions who depend on it, and help with carbon absorption in one of the most polluted areas in the country.

Five years on, the TreeAthlon continues to thrive within SGS. In October 2018, 167 employee and family member volunteers invested 192 hours in planting 1,700 saplings, and each volunteer planter was awarded with a certificate of participation. A survey of employees participating in the event indicated high satisfaction from the project, with many participants being proud of SGS’s efforts to operate as a socially responsible company while working with partners to mitigate the impact of climate change on our business and our neighboring communities.