Working together to serve more communities for a sustainable future
One of the most serious and defining global challenges today is climate change. It is now more important than ever for the public and private sectors to work together to protect people’s welfare and improve the nation’s resilience.
When it comes to climate change vulnerability, the Philippines currently ranks third in the world. It is more vulnerable to changing intensities of climate change displayed through irregular weather systems and natural calamities due to its geographical location.
More than ever, the commercial sector must align with sustainable development concepts and adopt the same hard stance on environmentally sound practices in its activities.
“I constantly encourage the private sector to work closely with the government. This way, we can be more cohesive in our efforts to make more meaningful progress towards a better and sustainable future. As a private enterprise, SM Prime will continue to do its share in addressing climate change for the benefit of communities,” said Hans T. Sy, SM Prime Holdings Chairman of the Executive Committee.
SM Prime’s corporate brand revolves around sustainability. SM Prime has pioneered sustainable practices and set records in pioneering programs to intentionally conserve the environment while putting a significant emphasis on resilience in its developments.
For one thing, the property conglomerate launched a program to drastically reduce its water usage. It was a pioneer in the installation of sewage treatment plants even before the Clean Water Act of 2004 made it mandatory.
Its sewage treatment plants now recycle 8.7 million cubic meters of water, reducing the country’s reliance on fresh water for air conditioning, gardening, toilet flushing, and other non-potable purposes. When it rains, SM Prime’s water catchment basins throughout 20 SM malls can catch and store about 79 million liters of water, which is equivalent to 32 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
By limiting the flow of flood water, adjacent towns have been better protected from the destructive effects of floods, reducing the anxiety that people have when it rains.
SM Prime is continuing to look for ways to incorporate environmental awareness into its operations and innovations in order to reduce its environmental effect.
With SM City North EDSA being the world’s largest solar-powered mall in 2014, SM Prime made history in the Philippines. SM Prime is expanding its solar roof decks to eleven new malls today.
The corporation has pledged to boost the usage of renewable energy by 50 percent throughout its various business areas by 2022, well ahead of the national objective of 35 percent renewable energy by 2030.
SM Prime is committed to provide inexpensive and clean energy to its tenant-partners through these activities, while reducing its carbon footprint.
Collaboration toward resilience
Mr. Sy’s commitment to environmental protection as a significant figure in the private sector continues to serve as an example of how Philippine enterprises can help the country achieve catastrophe resilience and risk reduction management.
Mr. Sy became a member of the UN Private Sector Advisory Group (PSAG) on Disaster Reduction in 2012. In 2015, he was also inducted into the UNDRR ARISE (Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies) International Board as the first and only Filipino member. He currently represents the business sector as co-chair of the ARISE-Philippines network and the National Resilience Council (NRC) of the Philippines. He continues to assist in the development of multi-sectoral partnerships in the country in order to increase the ability of organizations, including MSMEs, to plan for and respond to natural disasters such as earthquakes.
“Climate change is looming over our Mother Earth. If we can contribute no matter how little and if I can get everybody to be aware of it, I think we will make an impact. It’s never too late,” said Mr. Sy in a video interview for the 50 Sustainability & Climate Leaders initiative.