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Hyundai ICONs for Biodiversity: Influencers for Sustainability

Malaysia

 

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HFI Chairman Richard L. Lee and President Ma. Fe Perez Agudo presented the Hyundai Icon for Biodiversity to (top photo) Tan Sri Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid of Malaysia; (second photo) Dr. Nonn Panitvong of Thailand; and (bottom photo) Nitsavanh Loungkhot Pravongviengkham of Lao PDR.

 

Striking the balance between profitability and inclusive sustainability is no easy task. This is why Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc. (HARI), through its corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm, HARI Foundation, Inc. (HFI), honored three exemplary individuals from the 2017 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes for their accomplishments in biodiversity conservation at the level of business and policy making.

 

Nitsavanh Loungkhot Pravongviengkham of Lao PDR, Tan Sri Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid of Malaysia, and Dr. Nonn Panitvong of Thailand each received the first-ever Hyundai ICON for Biodiversity award during the proclamation ceremony of the 10 ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes held August 7, 2017 at the New World Hotel Manila. The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is a recognition program for outstanding work in biodiversity conservation and advocacy in the 10 ASEAN member states. This program was among the highlights of the ASEAN’s 50th foundation day celebration in this year’s host country, the Philippines.

 

Nitsavanh Loungkhot Pravongviengkham, President of the Union Development Agricole Import-Export Public Company (UDA Farm), was lauded for popularizing environment-friendly agricultural production methods in livestock farms across a 2,000-hectare land near the Nam Suang River. The farm’s enriched food chain has drawn numerous bird and animal species that are sustained through well-placed natural habitats and breeding zones. “I believe my small actions will inspire many to increase interest and participation in biodiversity conservation,” said Nitsavanh.

 

Tan Sri Prof. Zakri Abdul Hamid, eminent scientist, diplomat and science advisor to the prime minister of Malaysia, was cited for his role in building a strong foundation for biodiversity governance in Malaysia and promoting biodiversity conservation internationally. Citing his years of involvement in policy making, Zakri noted, ”In the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, too often we see the role of scientists, NGOs, and Government, but one of the critical stakeholders has to be the private sector…. Having multinationals, like Hyundai, to be interested in this effort can make a lot of difference towards having a better world.”

 

Businessman Dr. Nonn Panitvong was lauded as a visionary who has raised public awareness of business and biodiversity via the web-based platform, Thailand Biodiversity Conservation Group, or siamensis.org. As co-founder and web master of this pioneering database, he has it made it possible to bring biodiversity concerns to the mainstream, influencing public opinion, business operations, and policy making. “A lot of people in the cities don’t know much about biodiversity species--only a few domestic ones that we keep as pets or that we eat,” he noted. “So, by identifying and naming each specie, we got to know that it exists, and learn to love and conserve it… We appreciate that a big corporation, like Hyundai, is working for biodiversity.”

 

“We partnered with the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) in this landmark search for the ‘defenders of the web of life’ because we take responsible corporate investment to heart,” declared HFI President Ma. Fe Perez-Agudo. “Together with the ACB, we kick off a new leg in our journey of the heart as the Philippine automotive industry’s champion for biodiversity in the ASEAN region.”

Early this year, HFI and ACB signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) to strengthen regional efforts at biodiversity conservation.

 

The ASEAN Biodiversity Heroes is also supported by the ASEAN Secretariat, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and the European Union (EU). ACB serves as the awards secretariat.