Ang sets major environmental drive after a decade of SMC expansion
After a decade of expanding into new industries, San Miguel Corporation said on Friday that it will mark its 128th anniversary by reinforcing its traditional food and beverage roots and pushing to improve environmental sustainability across all its business lines.
In a statement, the country’s largest conglomerate said it will now augment its goal of reducing group-wide water use by half in seven years with an aggressive move to reduce solid waste pollution.
“Like water scarcity, solid waste pollution is an issue that is relevant to all of us, and demands more action from everyone—especially companies,” San Miguel president Ramon Ang said. “Today, we’re looking to give back by way of committing to much larger sustainability goals.”
To kick off its campaign, the firm announced that subsidiary San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corp., is looking to partner with a local technology provider and social enterprise, to build a materials recovery, recycling center and collection hub.
The facility will be able to turn garbage like “flexibles” and single-use plastics collected from partner local governments into eco-bricks and pavers. These will then be used in the construction of homes for low-income families and for small-scale projects like public toilets or more materials recovery facilities.
“This is the first project of its kind that we are doing,” Ang said. “We want to make small-scale plastic recycling accessible to communities. We’re going to replicate this in other areas. It’s a small effort, but it will have an exponential effect on the amount of plastic recycled and educate consumer on plastic recycling.”
Last year, San Miguel discontinued its plastic bottled water business, as part of its sustainability push.
Ang said he also recently mandated the banning of single-use plastics at the company’s main offices. This involves some 6,000 employees, initially.
“We’ve already banned plastic straws, stirrers, cups, and the like. Now, for all corporate events, we want to do away with tarpaulins, plastic signs, and all plastic collaterals designed for one-time use,” he added.
San Miguel’s eventual goal is to develop cost-effective biodegradable plastic packaging for its food and beverage business.
“This is in the development stage, and it will meet the country’s standards for biodegradability,” Ang said.
Meanwhile, SMC Global Power Holdings Inc. is also looking to reduce its impact on the environment by sequestering and storing carbon dioxide emissions by planting four thousand hectares of trees and mangroves.
“We’re planning to utilize carbon sequestration, or carbon capture,” Ang said. “What we will do is to protect some 70,000 hectares of both upland and mangrove forests across different provinces. We’re also looking at another 4,000 hectares for upland and mangrove rehabilitation.”
San Miguel Food and Beverage Inc., for its part, counts as among its major environmental programs San Miguel Brewery’s “Trees Brew Life” initiative. For the past nine years, employee volunteers have planted some 600,000 new trees in various locations nationwide.
The conglomerate has also partnered with the World Wide Fund for a massive cleanup activity at the Las Pinas City portion of the Manila Bay.
The company and its roughly 800-strong network of employee volunteers, are also holding simultaneous coastal cleanups and mangrove planting activities in various locations nationwide. /jpv
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