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SMC gains headway in cutting water use

San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said it has made significant headway on its goal to cut water use across all its operations and has started investing and putting in place programs as part of its ambitious push to integrate sustainability into the conglomerate’s business strategy.

The company, which celebrated its 127th anniversary last Sept. 29, 2017, said that its businesses have mapped out a plan to reach an interim goal of 20% reduction by 2020. Investments in technologies have also been committed early this year to ensure it meets its 50% reduction goal by target year 2025.

The ambitious goal, enshrined in its “Water for All” initiative, was first announced in March this year. It involves reducing domestic and utility use of water across SMC’s beverage, food, packaging, power, infrastructure, and fuels businesses.

Since then, SMC’s businesses have already determined baseline water consumption against which the 2020 target of 20% reduction and 2025 target of 50% reduction will be measured.

Early this month, SMC announced it was exiting the plastic bottled water business to lessen its environmental footprint. It is the first time a business was discontinued to support the company’s sustainability goals.

SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang said the two major initiatives are part of a larger push towards sustainability.

Ang, however, clarified that the discontinuation of the bottled water business will not count as part of the water use reduction efforts.

Ang said the establishment of baseline water consumption figures will boost water reduction measures and encourage a culture of conservation throughout the San Miguel Group.

To meet its targets, SMC directed all its facilities to implement water recycling and rainwater harvesting, to minimize scarce water consumption and use non-scarce sources (rainwater, harvested, grey and sea water) over the long term.

Monitoring of water use will also play a key part in the effort. As such, the company has asked all facilities to update its meters and install sub-meters where needed.

“Right now, we’re looking at several ideas for us to meet our 2020 and 2025 goals, and the businesses are given leeway to think of other innovative ways to reduce domestic and utility water consumption. This includes investment in water use technologies,” he added.

One of these programs includes a zero liquid waste program being considered by power subsidiary SMC Global Power for its new Limay, Bataan and Malita, Davao power plants.

“At the core of this effort is driving accountability into our corporate culture. And by that, we do not only mean to affect our businesses, but also our individual employees. We want to instill a culture of conservation among everybody,” Ang said.

Ang also emphasized the role of the company to educate its business partners and its communities regarding water stewardship.

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