Philippine News

People: WWF-PH appoints Katherine Custodio as new Executive Director

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines has named Katherine ‘Trin’ Custodio as its new Executive Director effective January 2021, succeeding Jose Angelito Palma.

Custodio has been with WWF for a decade. Prior to her appointment as WWF-PH Executive Director, she served as the Director of the WWF Asia Pacific Growth Strategy, a regional growth and investment program covering twenty-three Asia Pacific countries. Under her watch, WWF entered new markets in the Asia Pacific, grew its partnerships and supporter base, and more than doubled the level of funds going into conservation programs. 

Custodio shared her excitement to return to WWF-PH, which she first joined in 2008.

Katherine Custodio, new Executive Director of WWF-PH

“This is a homecoming of sorts and an extraordinary opportunity to bring to WWF-Philippines what I have learned from other WWF offices in the Asia Pacific region. Ultimately, it is the chance to make a bigger contribution to the country and to be of greater service to the organization’s objectives that convinced me to take the role. We have a wonderful team, a supportive board, great partners, and wins to build on. When one’s advocacy lines up with what one does for a living, the work is just so much more fulfilling. I do count myself lucky to have this chance. And I will be happy to talk for days with anyone about our work because it isn’t just ‘work’.” she said.   

“As a new Executive Director, my challenge is to scale up the organization’s impact and drive the kind of change we need, to put nature in the Philippines on the path to recovery. We need to engage millions more Filipinos to be voices for nature, and to work with all sectors to make the way we produce and consume more sustainable. I am inspired by nature, especially the ocean and everything undersea. But beyond love for nature, our work is really about making all people benefit from the natural environment now and into the future, and most especially by those in poverty who are disproportionately impacted by climate change and environmental degradation. There is a hashtag I like and which expresses how I feel about this: #SanaAll.” 

“I see our team at WWF as enablers, making a more sustainable lifestyle possible for all Filipinos. I urge people who can drive change to join us in facing the challenge because we have no time to lose. As a science-based organization, WWF provides the ecological perspective, and can bring together various players who need to be part of the solution. There is a lot of innovation in the environmental space, which is super exciting, and which needs help to scale. We have some really good work on fisheries that are helping communities in Lagonoy, Mindoro, and Palawan become globally-competitive whilst keeping fisheries sustainable. And momentum has been built on the work on water, food, energy and plastics. Donsol is a success story of eco-tourism, but the pandemic has been a setback to the industry. For the entrepreneurs out there, I want you to know that now is the time to do what you do best, which is to seize opportunities and answer a need in the market – to benefit people and environment alike. The policy environment is shifting in the right direction in some areas such as energy efficiency and plastics, and market forces can really help bring to life the benefits from those. I would love for us to work in partnership.”

“What underpins all our work are not new-fangled ideas, but values consistent with those we grew up with, like courage, respect, cooperation and very Pinoy values too, like malasakit and bayanihan. Young kids know that it is good to care for the home, to keep things clean, and that it is wrong to be wasteful and greedy. We teach our kids to share with those who have less and to speak up when something isn’t right. Our work on environment is an expression of these.” 

No single sector or organization or country can succeed in reversing the decline of our natural capital on which we all depend. For us to have a shot, we need to move together and with urgency to #ChangeTheEnding to a better normal.

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