San Miguel Corp. reduces water use in line with sustainability goals

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Despite the conglomerate's ongoing expansion and increase in production volumes, San Miguel Corporation was able to save some 7.7 billion liters of water for the year.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 24) — San Miguel Corporation (SMC) announced Sunday it significantly reduced operational water use across its businesses by 23 percent in 2018, beating its goal to reduce consumption by 20 percent in 2020.

Despite the conglomerate's ongoing expansion and increase in production volumes, SMC was able to save some 7.7 billion liters of water for the year.

The initiative is part of the conglomerate's ambitious "Water for All" sustainability project which will see San Miguel and its businesses cutting utility and domestic use of water by 50 percent by 2025.

SMC attributed the drop to the effective implementation of programs aimed at increasing use of alternative, "non-scarce" water, including rainwater, recycled water, and seawater.

"This is a significant milestone for us, and we're highly encouraged by these results," said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang.

Ang said it has only been two years since the company announced its sustainability goal.

"Already, the effort and commitment of those in our company tasked with making this goal a reality, have started to pay off," he said.

Increased use of non-scarce water

SMC explained that while its total water volumes for the year actually increased--due to higher production and the start of operations of new manufacturing plants--it was also able to increase utilization of non-scarce water sources.

From 4,738,338 cubic meters saved in 2017, representing 15.76 percent of the company's total non-product water use, SMC was able to save a total of 7,762,061 cubic meters of water in 2018.

Ang said water sustainability goes beyond corporate social responsibility.

"Water is an integral part of our operations, and a vital need of our people and communities. While we've long worked to conserve and protect water in our areas of operation, this initiative will see us drawing even less water in the future," Ang said.

The SMC President recognized that water is a finite resource and that SMC wants to take the lead in addressing water supply issues as a "responsible" business.

"Water has an impact on our business and society and we fully recognize the role we can play in water stewardship," Ang said.

In addition to its efforts to reduce water use in its operations, San Miguel also donates water systems to waterless communities throughout the Philippines. The company's goal is to increase access to water in remote barangays.

Communities in Malita, Davao; Maasim, Saranggani, and Mulanay, Quezon recently benefitted from SMC's donations.

Last January, SMC's multi-billion Bulacan Bulk Water Project, which will make potable water accessible to 24 water districts in the province at the lowest price per cubic meter, came onstream.