SMC drops plastic water bottle business
Conglomerate San Miguel Corp. is exiting the plastic bottled water business under the “Purewater” brand as part of an initiative to reduce its environmental footprint and support a more sustainable business model.
“The plastic bottled water business has given us good returns, but we are choosing to forego it in favor of our long-term sustainability goals,” SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said in a statement on Saturday.
“As we’ve transformed to a diversified business with interests in critical industries like power, infrastructure, public utilities and fuels, we realize we have a much bigger role to play in tackling the most pressing social and environmental issues,” Ang added.
Purewater is among the non-alcoholic beverages produced by SMC subsidiary San Miguel Brewery Inc. along with Cali Shandy and a line of juice and health tea drinks under the Magnolia brand that are packaged in returnable glass bottles.
Ang said the “Purewater” brand would live on, not as a bottled water business but through SMC’s investment in filtration technology that would be deployed during calamities to make safe drinking water available to displaced and affected families in lieu of “environmentally unsustainable” bottled water.
“A critical part of our strategic future are major infrastructure projects like the Bulacan Bulk Water project and its objective to provide safe, potable, and affordable water for a greater number of Filipino families,” Ang said.
“Leaving a business like the plastic water bottle business while at the same time helping build the basic right of all Filipinos to safe and affordable fresh water is a big step to a sustainable future.”
Last March, SMC announced “Water for All,” its most ambitious sustainability program to date which seeks to cut its domestic and utility use of water by 50 percent by 2025. The conglomerate committed to eliminate wastage of water across its operations, reuse and recycle more water, reduce its use of ground and surface water, protect vital water sources and harvest rainwater.
The discontinuation of the plastic bottled water business, however, will not be counted as part of SMC’s overall reduction in water use, Ang clarified.
In recent months, SMC has also announced that it plans to invest in various sustainable businesses, particularly in the energy sector.