By James A. Loyola
Diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corporation (SMC) reported that the group has spent a total of P5.6 billion for social and environmental initiatives and vows to further step these efforts.
“It has always been our mission to do good. It’s in our DNA. Through our efforts, big and small, we hope to lead the charge in terms of how we give back to society and the environment,” said San Miguel Foundation chairman Ferdinand Constantino.
For 2018, much of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts were focused on developing meaningful partnerships and socio-economic opportunities with various disadvantaged communities nationwide.
“We are gradually reworking our CSR strategy in ways that transcend the traditional thinking on corporate giving, expanding the reach of our programs and engaging our employees and other stakeholders so that more people can have a vessel to make a difference and participate in causes that are close to our hearts,” Constantino said.
He added that SMC’s CSR projects has been catalysts in helping solve both societal and environmental challenges, such as crime, unemployment, poverty, natural disasters, lack of infrastructure and basic services, water security, waste disposal, among others.
Through San Miguel Foundation, SMC has spent P332 million to provide livelihood opportunities to over 160 families of soldiers and policemen killed in action during the Marawi siege.
Assistance for disaster response and rebuilding as of 2018 has reached P1.3 billion while housing programs for the underprivileged totaled P1.1 billion to date.
Other initiatives of the foundation include granting of scholarships, providing for medical needs of people in conflict areas through the construction of hospitals and donation of medical equipment.
To help government curb smuggling and boost its capacity to preserve peace and order in various communities, the foundation donated P126 million worth of Rapiscan mobile X-ray units to the Bureau of Customs (BoC) and 50 units of BMW motorcycles to the Philippine National Police (PNP).
“These are just some of the programs we implemented to help enable different sectors of our society to contribute to our country’s growth and development,” Constantino said.
He noted that, “by focusing our corporate giving efforts to lifting people out poverty, raising their standards of living, making lives better, we hope to further make a huge impact on Philippine society.”
He said San Miguel’s CSR programs are aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), reflecting the company continuing commitment to sustainability, which has long been embedded into SMC’s operations and corporate culture.
In adherence to the sixth SDG that pushes for clean water and sanitation, San Miguel has significantly started to reduce its water footprint through its “Water For All” sustainability project.
As of the end of 2018, SMC and its subsidiaries saved 7.7 billion liters on “non-product water” that represented a 23 percent reduction, surpassing its goal to cut water use by 20 percent by 2020.
SMC also discontinued its plastic bottled water business to reduce its environment impact and will utilize the Purewater brand in filtration technology to provide clean and safe drinking water to people in flooded areas during calamities.
Since Typhoon Ondoy wrought havoc in 2009 in Metro Manila, San Miguel allocated significant amounts to build new homes, schools and libraries, and programs improving the capacities of people to help themselves.
In 2012, it also donated P500 million for the housing of Typhoon Sendong victims in Mindanao, particularly the cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan.
A year later, San Miguel donated P15.4 million and P332 million for relief distribution and housing, respectively, following the destruction brought about by Super Typhoon Yolanda in Western Visayas.
SMC and its affiliated businesses also regularly conduct medical missions, environment programs like tree-planting, coastal cleanups and mangrove reforestation activities, and livelihood training as part of its CSR initiatives.
Recently, SMC pledged P1 billion to undertake, together with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), an extensive cleanup of the Tullahan River system—a crucial step to rehabilitating the Manila Bay.
SMC also raised its number of scholars to 102 as 68 beneficiaries graduated with various degrees from accountancy to engineering the previous year.
SMC officers and employees also set aside a part of their salaries for the “Helping People Help People” project that funded the education of underprivileged youths in Montalban, Rizal.
SMC’s community clinics in Valenzuela, Pampanga, Batangas, Cebu, Bacolod, and Davao del Sur, continue to provide consultation, diagnostic services and medicines to indigent patients.
San Miguel, through its foundation, will be setting up at least two Better World communities in Manila within the year.
“We hope to create an environment for the poor to amplify and grow their own impact, first by addressing the issue of hunger, but not stopping there,” said Constantino.
He added that, “we hope to capacitate them and connect them more strongly and positively to their own communities and, in the process, effect lasting transformative change and, as a company, learn how to create a more cohesive, supportive ecosystem to lift families out of poverty.”