San Miguel Corporation (SMC) said it has already saved 4 billion liters of water equivalent to the daily use of about 137,000 households a year after it announced its flagship sustainability project to measure its water footprint and reduce consumption by 50% by 2025.
Following the official launch of its integrated water sustainability initiative dubbed “Project 50x2025”on World Water Day last year, SMC has cut water use by 14% across its food, beverage, packaging, power, fuels and petrochemicals, and infrastructure businesses.
“This is more than half of our mid-point goal of 20% reduction by year 2020, and we’re only just beginning. We’re pleased with these results and we’re eager to reduce it further,” said SMC President Ramon S. Ang.
Most of the reduction came from the substitution of water sourced from the ground, from surface sources, and water district supply, to sea water--reducing the company’s use of scarce water supply.
“The first year has been about instilling a culture of conservation among our employees, and improving water systems and processes, where possible. From now through 2020, our goal is to cut as much as we can by improving water management, utilizing rainwater harvesting, and increasing the amount of water we recycle and re-use,”Ang added.
“We will be retrofitting older facilities with more efficient water systems. All new facilities being built under our current capacity expansion program will already adopt features that make them water and energy efficient,” he said.
Ang said that the company is also studying new water technologies that it could invest in, after 2020, in order to fully realize its ambitious 2025 goal.
“We can expect even better results in the coming months and years, as our subsidiaries continue to implement the various programs they’ve identified to support this group-wide goal,” Ang added.
Other water-related initiatives
Also part of the company’s long-term sustainability goals is its decision to discontinue its plastic bottled water business to help reduce plastic waste. This initiative will have no bearing on its target water savings.
While production of bottled water has already stopped, SMC expects to complete its exit from this business sometime after the middle of this year, when excess inventory in the market would have been completely depleted.
Just last month, the company also reported that construction for its Bulacan Bulk Water Supply Project is ahead of schedule. Once complete, Bulacan Bulk Water will provide safe and reliable water supply to some 541,000 households in 24 water districts or 569 barangays in Bulacan—at the lowest cost per cubic meter anywhere in the country.
Aside from addressing the water shortage in the province, this project will also address environmental concerns arising from the use of deep wells, which results to high salinity and rapid degradation of groundwater supply.