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Rising fuel prices? Brands share sustainability practices to save money, energy

Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo, Kristofer Purnell, Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com
Rising fuel prices? Brands share sustainability practices to save money, energy
Some of the recipients of the 100 recycled tarpaulin bags that make up the Conti’s Brings Hope, One Bag at a Time undertaking, one of the main projects celebrating the 25th year anniversary of the homegrown brand founded by the Conti sisters of Batangas. 
Photo release

MANILA, Philippines — Gasoline prices are at an all-time high, and this has a domino effect on the cost of electricity and commodities, so budget-savvy companies are turning to cheaper (and greener) forms of resources.

Here are some best practices from these companies that individuals can adopt in their daily life — as a means of saving the planet while saving money.

Donating recycled tarpaulins

Working student Lyka Bohol likes her new bag a lot. 

“Malaking tulong po,” she said. “Lalagyan ng damit, payong, at iba pang essential na bagay para pag naabutan ng ulan, hindi po nababasa yung gamit ko sa study at work.”

The 19-year-old college freshman got the bag for free as a donation from popular food chain Conti’s Bakeshop and Restaurant. It is one of 100 bags that make up the Conti’s Brings Hope, One Bag at a Time undertaking, one of the main projects celebrating the 25th year anniversary of the homegrown brand founded by the Conti sisters of Batangas. 

The bags were personally handed over to Lyka and other students in ceremonies to mark the start of the 100-day countdown for Conti’s silver anniversary. The reason they’re unusually sturdy and water-proof is they’re made from Conti’s used tarpaulins. 

Another recipient, Milagros Remillete, is likewise very grateful for the donation, “Malaking tulong sa amin po ‘yung bag para ‘di na din po kami gagastos lalo na sa pagbabalik ng face-to-face classes.” 

Like Lyka, the 14-year-old former street child is a Conti’s scholar at the Tulong sa Kapwa Kapatid (2KK) Foundation. They received the 100 Conti’s tarp bags along with other children from 2KK and ChildHope Asia Philippines, two non-profits that Conti’s has been supporting since 2019.

Apart from funding scholarships, the company has been delighting ChildHope and 2KK children by providing them with the brand’s famous cakes on special occasions including the recent school year-ender event.

“Mostly po ng mga batang tinutulungan namin, walang bahay, so nakatira sila under the bridge, sa pushcarts, o sa mga abandoned buildings,” notes ChildHope Resource Mobilization and Communication Manager Mylene Lagman. “Malaking tulong ‘yung backpack na bigay ng Conti’s kasi waterproof, so sobrang safe ang mga gamit nila sa school.”

2KK Executive Director Miguel Lapid calls the bags a tool for the children. “The goal of the organization is to provide as many tools, to give as many opportunities so that their education would be supported further.”

A green initiative of the brand, the Conti’s Brings Hope, One Bag at a Time project was undertaken together with Filipino startup SIDE B Upcycling whose community of artisans handcrafted the 100 Conti’s tarp bags. 

“Gusto lang namin magpasalmat sa aming partner, of course yung Side B upcycling kasi sila yung gumawa ng unique bags na ito. Kaya sinabing unique kasi iisa lang sya per bag, ‘yung design iba iba,” notes Conti’s CEO and President Joey Garcia.

Side B Upcycling is grateful for letting them promote the Filipino creativity and ingenuity in this initiative of Conti’s. SIDE B Chief Imagineer Stu Balmaceda says, “Unang una, yung livelihood for our partner artisans. Tuloy tuloy ang gawa, so they get to earn, and they get to elevate their craft more. As a brand and personally, big entities, big organizations that partner with us actually help us spread the word about sustainability.”

Conti’s Brings Hope, One Bag at a Time covers two of the values closest to the heart of Conti’s as a brand – education and sustainability. In his remarks at the turnover ceremony for the bags, Conti’s CEO and President Joey Garcia said, “We wanted to see how brands like us not only grow in terms of numbers but also grow in terms of how we impact the community and help the environment as well.”

Seeing the smiles on the children, he added, was a big reward in itself. “Pinakamasarap sa pakiramdam para sa akin ‘yung makita ang inyong mga ngiti at kahit sa maliit na paraan nakatulong kami sa inyo bilang mga scholars. Hangad namin na makapagtapos kayo sa pag-aaral at sana makatulong kayo sa mga pamilya niyo.”

Reduced plastic use

To reduce its plastic use and the harm plastic poses on people and environment, Starbucks Philippines champions sustainability and digital innovation as they unveil their initiatives for 2022 and beyond.
Photo release

Plastics are everywhere and you might not know this but you might have inhaled them. With the World Environment Day held on June 5 this year, it is more important to be aware of the presence of plastics in the body.

These are microplastics. The United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the European Chemicals Agency define microplastics as fragments of any type of plastic that measures less than 5 millimeter (0.20 inches) in length. These are invisible to the naked eye and come from a variety of sources such as cosmetics, microfibers from clothing, food packaging, and the fragments of larger plastic products that degraded over time. 

Several studies have found these presence particularly in organs such as the lungs, spleen, kidneys, and even the placenta.

"We did not imagine 10 years ago that there could be so many small microplastics, invisible to the naked eye, and that they were everywhere around us," Jean-Francois Ghiglione, a researcher at the Laboratory of Microbial Oceanography in France, told AFP.

Laura Sadofsky from the Hull York Medical School in the United Kingdom and her team found polypropylene and PET (polyethylene terephthalate) in lung tissue. These were fibers from synthetic fabrics. 

The World Wildlife Fund released a report in 2019 that said people are ingesting or inhaling 5 grams of plastic per week, which is enough to make a credit card. The study was done by the University of Newcastle, Australia. 

Climate change and pollution activists and stakeholders have been staunchly campaigning for several measures to reduce plastic waste over the years. These include reusing and opting for alternatives to plastics, carrying and patronizing environment-friendly products, and pushing for stricter laws and measures that punish polluters and climate offenders. 

Related: 'They're everywhere': microplastics in oceans, air, human body

To reduce its plastic use and the harm plastic poses on people and environment, Starbucks Philippines champions sustainability and digital innovation as they unveil their initiatives for 2022 and beyond. At a recent media roundtable, the company went in-depth on new digital services and sustainability efforts that help give back to the planet, while enhancing its customer experience.
“We are very excited to be introducing these new initiatives for sustainability and digital innovation. Through these efforts, we can connect with our customers better, and focus on the well-being of our planet to create a better shared future,” said Jamie Silva, Senior Manager for Marketing, Digital Customer Experience & Loyalty at Starbucks Philippines.

Apart from introducing a new line of beverage containers made from recycled plastic, the company also scrapped the use of plastic in membership cards and instead, went digital in offering rewards. A seamless integration with Starbucks Rewards now allows customers to earn 1 Star for every P40 spent on Starbucks orders on Grab and Lazada. Every 100 Stars collected converts to a free Starbucks beverage or food reward, redeemable in stores. The company's integration with GLife and GrabGifts is a key next step as Starbucks Philippines innovates in social digital gifting, providing a greater connection and convenience for all its customers. eGifting is now available through GrabGift and GLife, allowing customers to digitally send Starbucks favorites to their loved ones. Starbucks eGifts can be purchased starting at P100 on GrabGifts and P300 on GLife. eGifts from GLife can be used to pay in Starbucks stores while eGifts from GrabGifts can be used to purchase orders from Starbucks on GrabFood.
Last March, Starbucks FoodShare launched in the Philippines starting with 40 stores in Metro Manila. Through Starbucks’ ongoing partnership with Grab, participating stores can connect with Grab drivers to pick up and deliver food donations daily. The donations are donated to Philippine Food Bank Foundation, a local non-profit organization, to be distributed to select beneficiaries within Metro Manila daily. To date, the program has served over 50,000 meals from more than 200 stores. The company’s goal is to continuously expand the program to more stores outside Metro Manila and serve more communities. 
The Starbucks Foundation commits a $30 million investment in the Global Community Impact Grants by 2030. These grants aim to support programs that create meaningful impact, both locally and regionally. For Starbucks Philippines, a total of $70,000 in grants have been awarded to Gawad Kalinga, HOUSE Foundation, and Teach for the Philippines. These grants will be directed to hunger relief and youth development programs from 2nd half of 2022 to 1st half of 2023. 
“We’re very grateful for the continued support our customers and media partners have given Starbucks Philippines. As we introduce more initiatives to enhance the Starbucks Experience, I look forward to collaboratively creating a better future for all,” said Noey Lopez, President & CEO of Starbucks.

Less packaging, less waste

Jean-Francois Jean-Francois Ghiglione, a researcher at the Laboratory of Microbial Oceanography in France. a researcher at the Laboratory of Microbial Oceanography in France, told AFP that the array of chemicals found in plastic -- including dyes, stabilizers, flame retardants -- can affect growth, metabolism, blood sugar, blood pressure and even reproduction. The researcher said there should be a "precautionary" approach, urging consumers to reduce the number of plastic-packaged products they buy, particularly bottles.

In reaction to studies like that of Ghiglione, international skincare label Bioten recently revealed that its product packaging is 100% recyclable.

"All our face cream boxes are certified by FSC, the Forest Stewardship Council. FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that protects forests for future generations. Having the FSC certification means that the paper of our boxes comes from responsible sources. We are committed to do what it takes so that our planet’s forests are not harmed," the brand assured in its website.

"We use glass in the jars of our face creams. Glass is a sustainable, fully recyclable material which provides great environmental benefits such as contributing to mitigating climate change and saving precious natural resources. But in Bioten, we decided to go a bit further. Our jars contain 30% of recycled glass which also helps in saving energy, as in recycling procedure materials melt at a lower temperature than when producing glass from raw materials. Consequently, less energy is required for the creation of our jars."

Also part of the brand's sustainability commitment is saving energy: "Our factory is certified by TUV Hellas since it applies an energy management system ISO 50001. This means that we follow a systematic approach in achieving continual improvement of energy performance, with a goal to reduce energy use, and therefore greenhouse gas emissions."

Likewise, it ensured customers that all its products are cruelty free. "But we also want to be certain our vegan friends know which products are vegan friendly as well.... You will be able to find the specific sign on the packaging of Bioten products, making it easier to chose the ones that answer to your needs and beliefs."

Its key natural actives and extracts come from sustainable sources as well. "We commit in increasing more and more the number of natural ingredients that come from sustainable development in our portfolio, so that you experience the best of nature but also leave nature at its best."

Bioten Skin Glow and Vitamin C lines was recently launched in Whitespace Manila, the brand's first live event in the Philippines. iFace, which distributes the label in the country, had its partners from Sarantis join the launch all the way from Greece. They spoke about the technology of the products and how the natural skincare brand continues to create products that are sustainable and nature-powered.

Switch to solar panels

Mall of Asia was the first Philippine mall to use rooftop solar decks.
Photo release

Traditional electricity production uses thousands of liters of water each year for cooling generators, and fossil fuels release harmful gases that pollute the air and contribute to global warming.

That’s why SM Supermalls is using solar energy as part of its commitment to sustainability. Mall of Asia (MOA) was the first Philippine mall to use rooftop solar decks. Now, these are used in 10 of its malls, with plans to install 50 more over the next few years. MOA has around 10,000 solar panels. These generate around 269 megawatts of power which is enough to energize 1, 800 households. In MOA, this powers 48,000 lighting fixtures, 81 escalators and 35 elevators

Currently, the mall chain is sourcing around 68% of its energy from renewable sources, which has helped reduce energy consumption by 28%, and carbon emissions by 31%.

Home solar panels are now becoming more affordable, and with the money you save on electricity bills, these eventually pay for themselves. You can also start with small changes, like switching to outdoor solar lights or solar water heaters.

Charge your e-vehicle while shopping


Malling has been part of the Filipino culture with the burgeoning of supermalls. SM, in particular, have grown its supermall portfolio over the years and currently has 15 malls in the National Capital Region. On its bid to lessen its carbon footprint, SM has installed e-vehicle charging stations on all its 15 malls as part of its overall thrust on sustainability and use of clean energy. 

It is convenient and easy to use which uses the plug-and-play principle. Mallgoers can leave their e-vehicle charging while shopping inside the mall. It takes about eight hours for a full charge with the currently installed machines. 


Nationwide tree-planting event for Philippine Environment Month

These activities are in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 which seeks to combat climate change and address its impacts.
Photo release

Universal Robina Corporation (URC) culminated its celebration of Philippine Environment Month with a nationwide tree-planting initiative. From Bulacan to Davao, URC employees and volunteers planted over 6,000 seedlings through simultaneous tree-planting activities across 25 areas.

Under the theme “Protect Nature, Sustain Our Future,” this activity aims to promote the relevance of environmental awareness and protection; reinforce its values of environmental stewardship and planet-friendly culture; and capitalize on people engagement to promote environmental compliance and best practices.

“This is an important step in fulfilling our ambition of becoming a sustainable global enterprise. We cannot do all of these without the support of our partners,” said URC Chief Executive Officer Irwin Lee.

“We, in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), encourage URC to continue to build on the success it has started and make more things happen”, DENR representative Jean Borromeo shared during the opening ceremony of URC’s Environment Month program.

URC held the tree-planting activity on June 25 to coincide with the celebration of Philippine Arbor Day.

Employees from URC’s business units–Branded Consumer Foods Group, Flour and Bread Division, Sugar and Renewables and Agro-Industrial Group–planted endemic tree saplings, such bamboo, mangrove, narra and balitarhan, among others.

Aside from tree planting, URC also held several activities in celebration of Philippine Environment Month including a coastal cleanup in Sariaya, Quezon, sustainability-themed webinars and sharing of best practices.

These activities are in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 which seeks to combat climate change and address its impacts.

For this program, URC partnered with various organizations, such as the Pasig City Parks & Playground Development Office, Clean and Green Pasig, DENR - Environmental Management Bureau, City Environment and Natural Resources Office, Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office, Philippine Ports Authority, and the local government units of the different sites for the tree-planting sessions. 

The month-long event was in pursuant to the Presidential Proclamation No. 237 series of 1998, declaring June as the month dedicated for the environment.

Use less fuel, go for pedal power

Foodpanda Philippines 8th anniversary celebrations in Makati City
Philstar.com/Deni Rose M. Afinidad-Bernardo

Apart from virus transmission, the higher fuel prices prompt many people to refrain from using their cars, especially when traveling to eat outside. Good thing that even as pandemic ends, food delivery has become a part of people's lifestyle, Foodpanda Philippines Marketing Director Rommel Rico told Philstar.com at the delivery service app's recent 8th anniversary launch in Makati City.

Besides saving time and energy in dining out, food and essentials delivery services such as via Foodpanda could be a more sustainable option since many of the company's riders use natural pedal power (bikes). Apart from promoting good exercise, alternative means of transportation, such as cycling and carpooling, saves money, prevents air pollution and lower carbon emissions.

In the face of challenges such as chicken shortages and increasing prices in oil and gas, service apps like Foodpanda allow businesses to reach a wider range of market to make their businesses adapt better to challenging times, said Rico.

Among the company's greatest achievements these past eight years, he said, is to have expanded from a few pocket areas in Metro Manila to over 170 cities all over the Philippines; from hosting a few hundreds to thousands of vendors, delivery riders and users; and from offering food delivery to groceries and subscriptions.

This year, the company introduced new services like Panda Pro, allowing users to still enjoy the app by offering 25% off and more discounts upon dining in partner restaurants. The app experience also improved with its new tiles feature and interface. Rico said they are now working on launching new services and are specifically eyeing to contribute to the growth of online grocery shopping.

"Competition is always good in the sense that it allows players to always understand consumers and in trying to figure out how we can serve our consumers well. It's always a good thing to have healthy competition," he said.

"Part of our evolution is to constantly innovate to improve our customers' experience."


Heat-free printing is possible

Printers are still used in many classrooms and offices. Over the years, many companies have put on effort to reduce their carbon footprint by creating more eco-friendly products. 

Global technology leader Epson has focused on creating an environmentally sustainable future through its efficient, compact, and precise technologies in its printers and projectors.

“Through Epson’s heat-free technology, our inkjet printers shorten the printing process by removing the stages that use heat. Not only do we reduce power consumption, but we also save time with efficient high-speed printing. At the end of the day, we are able to bank on productivity, as well as deliver value by reducing environmental impact and creating a sustainable printing ecosystem,” said Eduardo Bonoan, General Manager of Marketing Division at Epson Philippines 

“Moreover, Epson’s innovative 3LCD technology allows our laser projectors to deliver vibrant, true-to-live images with higher color brightness and wider color spectrum, but utilize fewer watts and ultimately reduce energy consumption. No mercury is used in the production, which avoids the use and disposal of five lamps throughout the product’s lifespan, significantly reducing environmental impact,” he added.

Epson’s extensive portfolio boils down to three key technologies: 1) PrecisionCore printhead technology for heat-free printing; 2) 3LCD Liquid Crystal technology for more brilliant images; 3) and Force Sensor technology for robotics. These technologies are well-integrated into upcoming products.

“Our strong stance on creating the least possible impact on the environment is rooted in our belief of ‘Better Products for a Better Future. Planning for the future demands a strong commitment toward environmental conservation and protection, and this is why we strive to create innovative, reliable, recyclable, and energy-efficient products,” Bonoan added.

More sustainable packaging

Leading packaging company Tetra Pak has reaffirmed their commitment to ensure that their clients and consumers will be aware of and invited to participate in the company's sustainability efforts.

Tetra Pak is popularly known for their aseptic carton packages which have been used to encase numerous products from liquids like water, juices, and milk to meats like meatloaf and luncheon meat.

In the Philippines, some of the most well-known products that use Tetra Pak's packaging include Coca-Cola, Del Monte, Alaska, Nestele, Magnolia, Dole, and Oishi.

Individuals would be familiar with the tetrahedron-shaped Tetra Classic that was used for Sunkist juices, which has since expanded to other packaging systems like the rectangular Tetra Brik, the aptly named Tetra Wedge, and the Tetra Recart used for packaging meats.

These packages are made of renewable materials and recyclable paperboard sourced from from "responsibly managed forests" which are not only environment-friendly but also more cost-efficient, all of which orginates from carbon neutral packaging based on a circular model.

John Jose, Marketing Director of Tetra Pak Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines & Indonesia, even said that the company has committed 100 million euros (P5.7 billion) to develop sustainable materials.

Related: Check the label: Interesting facts about Tetra Pak

Some of the sustainability efforts that Tetra Pak have done over the years include adding paper straws rather than plastic ones, using polymers in their packaging instead of plastic coating and caps, and replacing aluminum layers with fiber-based barriers.

Tetra Pak is expanding these efforts to better promote the now-sustainable origins of their packaging materials, beginning with increasing consumer awareness through school programs and trash to cashback incentives.

The company also supports infrastructures that collects and sorts the materials they will use with partner drives and the over 200 collections points found around the country.

Shifting to more sustainable materials allows for the boosting of business opportunities for recycling entrepreneurs, the two major ones Tetra Pak invests in are the Bulacan-based Rural Industrial Corp. which makes recycled paper and the Axelum Resources Corp. in Mindanao which makes chipboards.

From there Tetra Pak also helps expand market opportunities for recycled materials through objects like grocery or paper bags, roofing sheets, furniture, as well as collaborate with organizations to strengthen the local circular economy.

"We have been on this journey of educating and promoting recycling in the Philippines for decades," said Tetra Pak Sustainability Director for ASEAN Terrynz Tan. "Our chance of attaining a sustainable future will depend on how we protect our planet and people today.

Tan ended by saying, "That is why sustainability efforts will always be part of [Tetra Pak's] DNA."


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