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Newsmakers

A gold standard in water conservation

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star
A gold standard in water conservation
Menarco Development Corp. founder Carmen Jimenez-Ong.

Buildings and building construction have reached an all-time high in carbon emissions. To achieve a net-zero carbon building stock by 2050, the International Energy Agency recommends that building sector emissions fall by around 6% annually from 2020 to 2030. This can be achieved by shifting to renewable energy sources and increasing resource efficiency.

For Menarco Development Corporation’s Carmen Jimenez-Ong and Nova Group’s Chut Cuerva, this means making a single drop of water go through their buildings multiple times! Nova’s Nex Tower in Ayala Avenue is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum-certified and is the sole Philippine project to ever bag Urban Land Institute’s Asia Pacific Award for Excellence.

Menarco Tower in Bonifacio Global City is the first to pursue WELL certification (WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and well-being in buildings globally) in the country, and the only building in Asia to be both LEED Gold- and WELL Gold-certified.

Menarco Tower and Nex tower use the same principles and method of storing water by filtering it from the condensate drains and the water used for washing, plowing them back into the system to water the plants, helping the sewerage systems. If more buildings like Nex and Menarco capture rain during these downpours, they would help ease flooding in our cities.

Founder of Menarco Development Corp. Carmen Jimenez-Ong says, “It comes from a philosophy of treating water like gold, saving it when and where you can.”

Nova Group founder Chut Cuerva says, “You wouldn’t think there’d be water shortages when it rains like crazy here. When there is plenty of water, you can store that so when there is no water, you use that. It’s a similar predicament to solar panels.”

Nex uses a sensor so the people using the faucet, toilets, or urinals do not have to worry about forgetting to shut the faucet, saving the tower 46% more water than standard buildings. Menarco educates tenants on how to properly use the building amenities prior to issuing them an RFID.

Nova Group founder Chut Cuerva.

Both buildings use pioneering water products manufacturer LIXIL, whose portfolio includes INAX, GROHE and American Standard, and has been rallying its R&D around environmental sustainability.

LIXIL’s Corporate Responsibility lead Priyanka Tanwar says, “I think that’s the biggest investment LIXIL has made to get people fully committed to the cause.”

GROHE’s Sense and Sense Guard water-monitoring systems alert homeowners of pipe leaks, and the app monitors and reports consumption so people can adjust their water use. All of GROHE’s products are produced in carbon-neutral plants and a series of fixtures have recently been certified Cradle-to-Cradle Gold. Products like American Standard’s Genie can save up to 35% of water with every single use. Aqua Ceramic ensures that their product stays clean, lessening the water used in its maintenance.

With climate change and fast-paced urbanization, it is time for the design community and construction industry to implement water-efficient technologies into their green building designs.

Gcash brings new investment opportunities

Now basically anyone can avail of retail investment offers in smaller amounts for as low as P50 through GInvest, the investment marketplace feature on GCash, the leading mobile wallet company in the country.  Currently, GCash has an existing partnership with ATR Asset Management Group, which manages mutual funds, trust assets, insurance portfolios, and real estate for proprietary and third-party clients.

GCash also teamed up with Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), one of the biggest banks in the country, to bring more opportunities for users to grow their funds.

President and CEO of GCash Martha Sazon said, “We are grateful for this partnership with BPI and excited for more partnerships to come between ‘fintech’ and financial institutions. We are hoping this can help us broaden investment opportunities for Filipinos. By democratizing our products and making it more affordable and easier to understand, we can change the mindset that financial services such as investment funds and products are only for the wealthy.”

GCash offers investments for as low as P50 through GInvest.

Through this partnership with BPI, GCash gives its users the opportunity to invest in BPI Investment Management Inc.’s US dollar-denominated feeder fund ALFM Global Multi-Asset Income Fund (GMAIF) and the Philippine Stock Index Fund under GInvest. Users of GInvest can start investing for as low as P1,000 in ALFM GMAIF.

The funds are in turn managed by BlackRock, Inc., one of the leading asset managers globally. GInvest users can place a buy order for as low as P50 in the Philippine Stock Index Fund, which tracks the performance of the Philippine Stock Exchange index. Its top holdings include SM, Ayala, and BDO.

Sazon added, “The value of fintech is being realized in retail finance; GCash is here to support financial institutions in expanding their offerings digitally through the 51 million Filipinos that use our app.”

These latest funds bring GInvest’s fund offerings to seven investment offerings, along with Money Market Fund, the Philippine Total Return Bond Fund, the Philippine Smart Equity Index Fund, the Global Technology Feeder Fund, and the Global Consumer Trends Fund. These expanded investment opportunities gives Filipinos access to previously unavailable financial opportunities and brings GCash closer to achieving financial inclusion for all Filipinos.

* * *

Visit www.gcash.com.

Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.

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