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HomeNewsSMC on track to achieve goal to cut water use by 50%, vows to advance water stewardship on its 127th year

SMC on track to achieve goal to cut water use by 50%, vows to advance water stewardship on its 127th year

October 03, 2017

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 is celebrating its 127th anniversary today (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.

Culture of conservation

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.

Early successes

Prior to the unveiling of the water sustainability project, efficient use of water was already evident in SMC’s facilities.

Petron Corporation’s recently upgraded Petron Bataan Refinery has reduced water consumption through the maximization of a new desalination plant.

Desalination allows the refinery to use seawater for its facilities. The plant is also installing rainwater catchment systems in depots for various purposes like washing of LPG tanks and trucks.

The refinery also uses smart water technology that limits the use of freshwater and groundwater and reduces wastewater discharge its operations. Recycling is also a major part of its water management system as a significant amount of water is reverted back to operations.

San Miguel Brewery, which produces flagship San Miguel Pale Pilsen and other beer brands, was able to cut water use by increasing efficiencies in its operations, and recycling of tertiary treated wastewater in non-potable applications.

SMB’s breweries in Polo in Valenzuela City, San Fernando in Pampanga, Bacolod City, Mandaue City and Davao are fitted with on-site water treatment facilities.

For its part, Ginebra San Miguel Inc. contributed to water use reduction by fixing leaks.

“Petron, San Miguel Brewery and Ginebra have reported significant gains towards water sustainability. We’re encouraged by how our employees have responded to this new initiative,” said Ang.

Push towards sustainability

Independent of the water sustainability project, SMC has also announced the discontinuation of its bottled water business, as part of its larger push towards sustainability.

Instead, the company is looking to deploy potable water to areas affected by calamities. The discontinuation of the plastic bottled water business will not be counted as a “reduction”of water use, Ang clarified.

Another water-based venture will see the company undertake the P16 billion Bulacan Bulk Water Supply System, which aims to provide stable water supply to 21 municipalities and three cities in the Bulacan province, at the lowest rates per cubic meter anywhere in the country.