Environment

World Water Day 2014 to Focus on Water-Energy Link

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The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) will bring together the country’s water and power sectors to raise public awareness on the close link between water and energy consumption as the nation joins the rest of the world in celebrating World Water Day (WWD) on March 22.DENR Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje said this year’s celebration, which has a local theme “Water is Power,” will focus on the growing awareness that saving water may be one of the most effective ways to save energy – and vice versa. “We wish to highlight the important link between water and power, and how they are highly dependent on each other,” Paje said, noting that producing energy uses water, and providing freshwater uses energy. He said both processes face growing limits and problems.

He added: “In fact, much of our generated power relies on water, while many Filipinos rely on electrical power for domestic water supply.”Paje said that aside from providing Filipinos access to clean water and electricity, “the efficient use of both water and power is also an urgent issue the government is trying to address.”According to statistics, about 17 million people in the Philippines have no access to safe drinking water and over 15 million still have no access to electricity.To mark WWD 2014, the DENR, its attached agencies and partners have prepared a week-long program from March 17-22.

On March 17, a kick-off event will be held at the Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant in Norzagaray, Bulacan. Expected to attend are Paje, Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson and National Power Corp. (NPC) president Ma. Gladys Cruz-Sta. Rita.These officials, along with other representatives from NPC, National Irrigation Authority, Metropolitan Manila Water Sewerage System, and water concessionaires Maynilad and Manila Water, will be treated to a “Water Energy Tour Nexus” of the Angat, Ipo and La Mesa dams.

On March 18, the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) will hold a day-long World Water Day Exhibit at the Activity Center of the Glorietta 2 in Makati City. At 5 p.m. on that day, there will be a free four-hour concert that will feature pop and alternative rock artists to draw attention to current efforts to revive Manila Bay, and major rivers and creeks in Metro Manila.On March 19, the EMB will hold an on-the-spot poster-making contest for elementary and high school students at the SM North EDSA, while their teachers undergo a Water Education workshop at the Air Quality Training Center inside the DENR compound in Quezon City.

On the same day, employees of the Laguna Lake Development Authority will lead tree-planting activities in Antipolo City and Taytay, Rizal. They will also hold a river clean-up in the nearby towns of San Mateo and Rodriguez the following day.The Pasig River Rehabilitation Commission, led by its chairperson Gina Lopez, will conduct an “estero tour” featuring the rehabilitated Estero de Aviles in San Miguel, Manila on March 20.

Employees of the DENR and Maynilad will hold a “Plant for Life” mangrove tree-planting activity along Cavite shores on March 18 in Bacoor and March 20 in Kawit.The DENR will also host “Water is Power” lecture series in selected schools in Pateros and the cities of Quezon, Marikina, Pasig, San Juan, and Taguig from March 18 to 20.All activities will culminate on March 21 at the Music Hall of the SM Mall of Asia, where a two-kilometer walk will be held outside to raise awareness on various water-related issues.The celebration of March 22 as “World Day for Water” was declared in 1993 by the United Nations General Assembly. This year’s international theme is “Water and Energy.”

Smuggling as a Supply Game

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By VL Domingo

(Conclusion)

BEFORE transplanting, the farmer must have to buy at least 10 bags of mix-grade fertilizers for basal application to have a good crop. Because he has very little capital which he also borrowed from the usurer he buys only 1/3 of the plant requirement.

Furthermore, the price of fertilizer as an input initially went up by 136% (and it continues to increase), since only a few Chinese traders are  importing it, thus again limiting the supply of fertilizers which provides the plant energy for productivity.

This is specially so when planting during the dry season.  During the rainy season, somehow the farmers get free nitrogen from the air every time there is a thunderstorm that initiates nitrification. Meanwhile, his soil has gotten acidic after more than 50 years of chemical farming which was first introduced in the l960’s by ESSO (Standard Oil).

Not a few government employees lost their lives and jobs in the fertilizer subsidy scam for lack of supply.

A Regional Director in Lasam and a DA employee who knew too much about the scam were murdered.  The DA employee with his wife, and his only daughter who just graduated from college and a niece working with him as his assistant in their house in Bulacan were murdered in the middle of the night, wiping out the whole family.

Harvesting Headaches

When palay is harvested haphazardly, you again lose 15-20% of what you should harvest from your backbreaking efforts in farming. This is after the farmers spend a lot of money on chemicals to protect their fields from pests and diseases.

Again they need to contract at least 20 harvesters. The practice then is they get 10% of your harvest. This is after shaking off easily 5% of the rice particles to the ground and stepping on them.  They could save this if they could only hire harvesting machines. But there is none.

Worse, even the harvesters like the transplanters are gone.

In the barangays, there are two kinds of farm workers. There are those who want to harvest only while the others want to transplant only.

The practice of harvest sharing is gone; hence you could no longer be assured of harvesters on time. You have to wait for harvesters from the other barangay that may still have some harvesters. Meanwhile, the field rats are slowly harvesting your palay if you did not put a rat trap before harvest.  There is then a need to rent a combined harvester.

But for the moment only a few towns have it because it is very expensive.  It is too costly for an investor. Only a federation or a cooperative could afford to buy it and  rent it out to its members if they could raise the funds which is usually not available from banks and the government is not also investing on it.

Availability of Warehouses

Again the supply chain of the grains industry is broken by the lack of investments in warehouses. Only traders are investing and making windfall profits at the expense of the farmer-producers. This is where the trader starts making his profits. This is where the cartels come in.

Only a few own rice warehouses in Metro Manila and they connive to dictate the price in the market.

Recently, they even hired persons and provided them money to queue for rice just to dramatize that there is no rice supply anymore from the NFA warehouses. The NFA then had to release their buffer stocks which some unscrupulous NFA employees usually keep and allow it to rot and sell to traders for a clean profit and recorded as losses in the books of the agency.

Farmer cooperatives have been given funds to build their own warehouses, but their trading funds were mismanaged leaving them bankrupt. So in effect there is no supply of warehouse space even as they stood in the middle of the fields like “white elephants” in the middle of brown and barren rice land for lack of irrigation.

This happens because of subsistence farming as the norm that now needs to be transformed  into commercial farming with highly professionalized farmers federation to do the business of planting and trading palay and rice to supply the needs of the country and be truly self sufficient (not by statistical manipulations) .

Supply of Post-Harvest Facilities

Easily, 5-10% is lost in rice milling using dilapidated rice mills that are very inefficient. Part of the rice supply to the consumers is being given to feed mills for livestock instead of human consumption.

Drying in the highways shows the Jurassic way of drying palay which leads again to additional losses that could easily compensate for the 10% shortage that is reported every year.

Drying  and Milling are not integrated because of the absence of investors. The government could easily invest on this through farmer federations but is not being done. If the government shifts its policy to invest instead of subsidizing, it will be easier for them to  monitor the funds instead of using government money in anomalous subsidies and programs.

The millions of funds allocated by DA Regional offices for training monitoring, evaluation and support services can be realigned with the Government Social Investment Funds (GSIF) to finance the construction of post-harvest facilities, provide trading funds for the importation of inputs and buying palay from their members with incentives and selling to the government those that they could not sell for Quedan, stockpiling and buffer stocking.

GSIF is what is needed in completing the infrastructure in commercial rice production instead of just the farm to market road which others call as “road to my farm” among Congressmen and Senators.

Politics of Rice

The absence of rice supply in the market will topple down a President or he will lose his bid for re-election. This is the politics of rice. Thus a sitting President  (with or without him knowing it actually puts a  tacit approval  to his/her henchmen to DALPO (Do All Possible) and allow even smugglers to bring in rice just to make sure that there is no shortage.  Most often also this will be tolerated by his henchmen to keep them in power and in their high positions in government.

Thus, the previous President tolerated this sad reality through her  Secretaries of Agriculture. The standing order then was to produce or tolerate smuggled rice (to insure supply in the hands of the retailers). Along the way, sometimes things go wrong in this “modus operandi”.

One popular businessman lost his life when he told the President about a smuggled rice and the President without knowing the implication since it is a complex reality in food security, had the goods confiscated.   The businessman was then shot (as a double crosser) in his house probably even in front of his wife by telling on the smugglers.

The “Hunger Game” which starts with  government lies that there is sufficient supply, has now  graduated into a “Supply Game” which the government has failed to address by subsidizing creating anomalous transactions has now graduated into a “Killing Game”.

Paradigm Shift

Like history, these anomalies in the P300 billion grains industry will keep on repeating itself from administration to administration until Kingdom  Come unless there is a paradigm shift in dealing with this killing issue.

The first is to listen to what the farmers say (through their credible leaders) as a solution to this recurring problem of rice supply which starts from lack of palay supply, lack of seeds, lack of water, lack of inputs, lack of farm credit, which continues because of inefficient transplanting, harvesting, milling and warehousing thus making their unit costs higher than the world price which now results to unbridled smuggling of rice in all ports of the country.

The second is for the government to invest (not subsidize) in the commercial ventures of farmer federations and similar associations to now operate their own agribusiness.

The third is to allow the price of palay and rice to seek its own levels. When the farmers earn more because of free enterprise (not with government control) but with government investments, the farmers will produce more and better quality palay because they will now have regular incomes from the commercial venture in which they participated. They can then buy more manufacture goods and invigorate the manufacturing industry to be able to pay higher wages and can now afford to buy a more expensive rice directly sold to them by the farmers through cluster farming.

This will then enable the farmers to produce rice at lower unit cost, provide the supply needed by the traders and generate the local and national economy. With more incomes from palay farming then they don’t have to sell their seeds, keep some stocks for their use and will not become a consumer of rice themselves as claimed by many technocrats who are not even “walking the fields” just to justify their claim of certifying importation.

 

Legarda Calls for Enforcement of LGUs’ Land Use Plans

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Senator Loren Legarda called on concerned government agencies to ensure that the comprehensive land use plans (CLUPs) of local government units (LGUs) are being enforced.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, issued the statement during the committee hearing for the proposed National Land Use Act (NaLUA) and the Final Forest Limits Act.

She said, it is not enough that 1,500 LGUs have their respective CLUPs. “We have to make sure that these approved CLUPs are carried out effectively, which means that hazard-prone areas, forestlands, and protected areas remain uninhabited and are preserved as no building zones.”

The Senator added that national government agencies, particularly the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB), must ensure that CLUPs are faithfully implemented.

Legarda also highlighted the need to approve the proposed National Land Use Act because the government is currently using an antiquated land classification method formed in the 1920s.

“We have been experiencing stronger storms, earthquakes and other natural hazards. A national land use measure is crucial in the government’s current disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts,” she stressed.

“Furthermore, LGUs play a critical role in the crafting of risk-sensitive and participatory land use planning and management. LGUs are considered to be the first line of defense against disasters so there is an urgent need for them to be capacitated, enabling them to prepare, update and implement their respective CLUPs based on policy guidelines to be set under the proposed NaLUA,” she added.

Meanwhile, Legarda also said that through the Final Forest Limits Act, “we aim to conserve, protect, and develop our forest resources to attain ecological balance and promote sustainable development.”

“With demarcated and properly identified forestlands, the national government can better plan the utilization of the natural resources of the country, and LGUs would be better equipped to initiate and implement development projects and programs with due regard to the preservation and protection of the integrity of the demarcated forest lands,” Legarda concluded.***

Japan Commits PHP215 Million ODA Providing “Next-Generation Vehicle Package”

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Japanese Ambassador Toshinao Urabe and Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert F. Del Rosario exchanged notes for the “Non-Project Grant Aid (Next-Generation Vehicle Package)” amounting to 500 million yen (approximately 215 million pesos) on March12, 2014.

The “Non-Project Grant Aid (Next-Generation Vehicle Package)” aims to contribute to the reduction of environmental pollution in the Philippines caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The products to be provided under this project will be decided in accordance with the Philippine Government’s requests. Specifically, the project is intended to provide eco-friendly products that will promote the development of the Philippines through making use of Japanese technology such as hybrid vehicle (HV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV), electric vehicle (EV) and clean diesel vehicle (CD).

Projects under the Non-Project Grant Aid (NPGA) seek to assist developing countries in responding to different economic and social needs. The NPGA offers foreign currency funding for importation of goods such as industrial materials that will address a specific concern of a developing country. The objectives of these projects are in line with the concept of “Inclusive Growth” stated in the Philippine Development Plan 2011-2016, as well as the concept of “Human Security” being advocated by the Japanese Government. Projects such as this serve as a continuing testimony of strategic partnership between Japan and the Philippines.

A Global Mining Ethics Code: Why It Matters

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by Erick A. Fabian

There is no international law governing mining projects, according to environmental ethics expert Shefa Siegel. The Philippine Society of Mining Engineers (PSEM) has a Code of Ethics, but a quick look at their website copy of the code reveals that it needs improvement in the environmental aspect.  At the moment, there are only individual ethical codes and behavioral standards, but these are mostly voluntary and no government strictly enforces them. Included in this long list of ethical codes are the International Cyanide Management Code, the Equator Principles, the Global Reporting Initiative, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, the Natural Resource Charter, and the United Nations’ “Ruggie Principles”. These are seen more as guidelines rather than authoritative.

On a recent visit to Japan, geologist and researcher Dr. Victor Maglambayan found out that there is a growing demand for “ethical jewelry.” He noticed that discussions about fair trade and related ethics in the jewelry business have been gaining ground in other countries. “In one of my early visits to Japan, I realized that the green trend has already taken hold even for gold, especially for gold produced by small-scale miners,” says Maglambayan in an interview with mainstream broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer some years back. The respected geologist also works as division manager for exploration at Philex Mining Exploration.

“The traditionally wealthier countries in the world have shown concern for problems associated with small-scale mining by preferring jewelry that is untainted by issues normally associated with small-scale miners like child labor, use of toxic substances and other environmentally hazardous practices,” he remarked. According to Maglambayan, this trend is not much different from the phenomenon of ‘blood diamonds’ in some African countries in the past. ‘Blood diamonds’ are those mined using slave labor, often done using kidnappings and other illegal methods. He mentions examples of jewelry companies that are exemplary when it comes to ethical business practices, such as Cartier and Fifi Bijoux in France, and Hasuna jewelry in Japan.

A sane mining code of ethics, Siegel believes, is one that would limit prolonged extraction once it reaches an unsustainable level in an area, instead of expanding as if the resource is unlimited. The enforcement of mining ethics will require interfering with existing mining policies. Such interference, says Siegel, was unheard of in the past decades but is very much necessary in the time of climate change and ecologically-sustainable business practices. Failure of enforcing an international mining ethics code will result to the stubborn persistence of extraction practices, which will prove to be fatal to communities around the world, not to mention the environment.

The country of Mongolia has the Sustainable Artisanal Mining (SAM) project, done in partnership with the Swiss government. It has produced a mercury-free gold processing plant in Bornuur province after its small-scale miners formed a cooperative. The advocacy for ethically-produced mining products is now being jump-started in Latin American countries as well. In Colombia, there is an organization of small-scale miners called Asociacion por la Mineria Responsable (ARM). ARM advocates for a ‘standard zero’,a process to certify gold, silver and platinum that conforms with the following ethical requirements: Gold and gemstones should be from socially and environmentally responsible mines. These should be fairly traded, ensuring that miners get a fair price for the goods, and the employees are paid more than the local minimum wage.

ARM emphasizes that no child and forced labor or exploitative practices will be used in the mining, refining or trading of gold and gemstones. Another remarkable thing about this movement is that the gold mines follow an eco-sustainability program, meaning no chemicals were used (for example, cyanide, mercury or arsenic). As a way to make up for the extraction, ARM members make sure that the topsoil dug off during mining is replaced.

It is uncertain if mining companies in the country are catching on the trend to promote “green jewelry” and fairly traded mineral. Research efforts in finding ways to produce and promote “ethical gold” to benefit small-scale miners are apparently not in place. The Philippines is still in the “fact-finding” stage, while foreign researchers are now in the “problem-solving” stage. Maglambayan mentions research work by Dr. Peter Appel of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, who documented the extent of mercury use in the small-scale mine sites in Zamboanga del Norte and Camarines Norte.

“Aside from helping clean up the process of small-scale miners, this may have economic benefits. Consider how much gold can be recovered from the mercury that can be recovered from the tailings. If it becomes successful, maybe large mining companies may show more interest in small-scale miners’ activities finally,”said Maglambayan. He believes that international agencies with interest in social development should see artisanal, or small-scale mining, as a way to help rural folk rise from poverty.

In the Philippines, the Environmental Management Bureau has estimated 300,000 small-scale miners in 2011. In Benguet alone, at least around 16,000 people work in small-scale mining industries. Maglambayan says small-scale mining “should be engaged constructively as the problems in this sector impact largely on mining companies.” “Small-scale mining is a reality in the Philippines because it is driven by poverty and the lack of opportunities,” he says.

 

Forward-Loooking Business : Save The Environment

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By Erick Fabian

The Alliance of Business and Environmental Practices

THE popularity of the 2006 award-winning documentary film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ has challenged the way modern business is conducted these days. The film presented proof that so many business and industry practices since the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s have contributed to environmental degradation, mostly through factories and processing plants that contribute to pollution.

In this light, business practices have been adjusted by many practitioners so that it is in keeping with the mandate to protect the environment. Enlightened business owners have realized that neglecting the environment can have disastrous effects on their business in the long run. It only makes sense to comply to ecological measures. The environment being the source of raw materials that manufacturing industries need, depletion of natural resources only means disastrous consequences.

Social Pressure

The social pressure for businesses to engage in more ecologically-sound practices is especially aimed at big companies that derive their revenue from extraction and processing, such as petroleum companies. In the case of Chevron, a common target of environmental groups, it means evaluating oil processing practices so as to lessen their environmental impact, and exploring alternative energy sources to run their drilling equipment. The company, according to their 2012 Corporate Responsibility Report, is also expanding their pro-ecology portfolio by funding the preservation of endangered species, and contributing to community development efforts that help preserve the gifts of nature.

The emergence of corporate social responsibility ethics has further reinforced the idea that successful companies should be environmentally conscious. This is because practices that have an impact on the environment also affect the ecosystems and the communities that rely on it to survive.

To lessen the negative effects, companies are encouraged to invest in technologies and research that will be beneficial for both business and the planet. After all, it is logical to take care of the source of one’s profits, as there will be no source for raw materials if natural resources are depleted. Investing in the environment is beneficial in the bigger scheme of things, and it also builds on public goodwill. Corporations are now aware that bad publicity due to environmental negligence means losing customers and clients. Companies are now being made aware that there is a humanity perspective to doing good business.

Critics of corporate social responsibility, like Milton Friedman, argue that companies are only responsible for shareholders and in making the business as profitable as it could be. Such a view misses the point entirely. For businesses to succeed, an entrepreneur needs to improve social relations. Consumers and clients are people who belong in a society. Customers are human beings with families, friends, and loved ones. If a product or service proves to be hazardous to one’s health, and once people see how immediate its effects are, the company only serves to lose more if it doesn’t do anything to make their products or services more earth-friendly.

Green Business

Being a green business is actually good for market competition; just ask the CEOs of companies such as Body Shop and Honda. People are now more informed about their consumption choices, and are more aware that their purchasing practices can impact the environment. Green businesses can actually outpace their non-green competitors on so many fronts. No decent consumer and client wants to be associated with companies that contribute to pollution and environmental degradation. As more companies are re-evaluating and renovating to become green, the pressure from both society and the business industry to become eco-friendly is mounting, and any business that seeks to become sustainable would take action so as not to be left behind.

Also, being a green business makes a company’s products and services distinct, and encourages innovations that will prove to be both profitable and beneficial to society as a whole. Public goodwill is a necessity for businesses to thrive in the information age, as any ecological atrocity can be quickly picked up and publicized, and before you know it, the company starts to losing customers to competitors who are more into sustainable development.

We can say that companies are now required to be more socially responsible than in decades past. Part of being responsible for one’s actions means investing in efforts to make green living part of business practice. It is a simple principle of give and take. Nature gives the raw materials, and companies need to give back to nature. Even if a company does not directly engage in extraction, manufacturing or processing, it still relies on those that do, and still uses natural resources such as water and land. Paper and plastic products are made from trees and petroleum, respectively, and electronic parts are made from minerals and chemicals that needed to be mined in order to obtain.

To be a green company is to eventually save money and unnecessary expenses, and it is forward-looking. Even academic institutions are now doing studies in ecological business practices, to ensure that the next generation of aspiring business people are environmentally-conscious. One need not look far to see that business and ecology are allies. After all, what will all that profit do if the world is not fit place to live in anymore?

Who Cares About Climate Change?

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NO country on earth has more to fear from climate change than the Philippines—a nation of 7,100 islands and some 98 million souls. The climate has always wrought havoc here and—as shown by Typhoon Yolanda—it’s getting worse. Storms coming to our islands have the entire Pacific Ocean to draw strength from. Sitting astride shifting tectonic plates, we have experienced 13 magnitude 6.0 or stronger earthquakes since 2001—the latest of which was a magnitude 7.2 quake that hit Bohol and killed 222 people.

Since 2002, we have recorded 184 natural disasters. Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) was the 30th named storm of the 2013 Pacific season and the second Category 5 (with winds in excess of 150 miles per hour) to hit the Philippines in the last 11 months. Yolanda—which killed over 5,000 people in the Visayas—is the most powerful storm in history to hit land.
New scientific evidence simply tells that simply, climate change will mean more intense tropical storms. The energy that is stored in the waters off the Philippines will increase the intensity of typhoons and the trend we now see is that more destructive storms will be the new norm.

But who cares about climate change?

Days after Typhoon Yolanda hit the country Naderev Saño—Philippine Climate Change Commissioner—was delivering an impassioned plea during the 19th Framework Convention on Climate Change in Warsaw, Poland.

That it is the 19th convention of its kind and that it is still in its “framework” stage, means that Saño’s decision to go on a hunger strike—“until some concrete agreement on climate change is reached in Poland”—was a very bad idea.

Rich countries simply won’t pay up even if they are the biggest culprits in the destruction of the environment and largest contributors to climate change. For now, writing checks and making donations whenever a natural disaster strikes will have to suffice.

But without serious, sustained attention and the kind of sacrifices in lifestyle that few nations seem prepared to make, every coast will feel what our Visayan coasts felt.

Perhaps not as violently, but every bit as surely if nothing is done about climate change.

Manhattan Green Solutions: A Green Business Model

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by Miriam Tan-Fabian

Big is Not Always Bad

I have always had a deep-seated distrust of big businesses. Unconsciously, I often feel that big business translates to increased environmental impact just due to the sheer size of a company’s operations. When I thought about it though, I recalled that the equation would be totally different if a company’s core competencies are green and pro-environment. One such wonder is Manhattan Green Solutions. Mr. Haresh Daswani, environmental head and manager of MGS, gave me the insider’s scoop on his company.

HARESH DASWANI for web

Conscious Pro-environment Commitment

Reading through the company website, (manhattangreensolutions.com), MGS’ motto is “Welcome to a Greener World,” as a leading environmental and product solutions consultant for companies who wish to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as reduce their operational costs. Digesting this small bit of information encouraged me to delve deeper into the company. I liked the part where the MGS asserted that operational costs can be minimized, if not eliminated, with green and environmental technologies. Oftentimes, businessmen have a popular and deep-seated notion that caring for the environment, including complying with environmental laws, means an inherent trade off between the company’s bottomline and the environment. Such a mindset is wrong and MGS proves it.

Environment-Friendly Products

One such way is to consciously create products that are good for the environment. Manhattan does this through five major products, the Oxygenics Water Saving showerheads, Veltia hand dryers, Efergy energy monitors, EcoGreen LED lights, and Bioball waterless urinal solution. For example, the Oxygenics series of showerheads allows up to ten (10) times increased oxygen content in the water which helps stimulate and rejuvenate skin cells. Compared to other brands, these products exert 30% stronger water pressure which helps reduce anywhere from 23-70% water and energy consumption when compared to usual commercial brands. And since these showerheads are made of a patented durable resin called Delrin, these showerheads do not clog nor corrode while it resists mineral buildup. Best of all, these futuristic showerheads also have some cool-sounding model names like Vortex, Storm, X Stream, and Five Star Resort.

Starting it Green

Apparently, all of these product innovations involved a conscious choice on MGS’s part, so I had to ask how the company started. Haresh explained that while MGS was initially a trading company, he wanted it to go in a different direction so they initially delved into several comprehensive researches on the environment. This fueled a concern for the current state of our surroundings and a commitment that something had to be done to make things right. At that time, many solutions seemed ineffective and while there were ideas of creating novel green products for the local market, all of these had yet to be made. Finally, these products had to be geared towards the context of the Philippines.

Environmental Advocates

The company has already achieved much by creating and selling their products, but while it can readily just rest on their laurels, Haresh wanted more. When asked, “What is unique about your company that is different from other companies that have environment-friendly products?” He answered, “We are not mere traders. We are consultants presenting product solutions. We initiate in-depth researches and understanding of each of our products. This allows us to properly demonstrate them while being convinced that they are indeed solutions to a problem. We are solution providers more than just product importers”. In addition, MGS provides a staggered payment scheme to all companies, hotels, resorts, hospitals, and other institutions that buy the company’s showerheads by bulk. This set up allows customers to pay affordable monthly payments for a year which would ultimately come from savings from the use of the company’s showerheads. Thus, it is a win-win scenario for everyone. Users of these showerheads enjoy a refreshing shower experience, the purchasing company spends less and is able to pay MGS more conveniently, and MGS itself earns in the process while promoting a stronger tie-up with its bulk buyers. In fact, MGS has already partnered with such bigwigs as Fitness First and several hotels in Manila, Cebu, Palawan, and Boracay.

Challenges from Local Context

Despite MGS’s outstanding accomplishments, Haresh was candid about the company’s many challenges when he explained that one problem was, “Market maturity and understanding of product feasibility given that many managers in the Philippines just run on the command given to them, rather than presenting a novel idea to resolve their issues. Many are still stuck to the idea that a good suggestion is riskier than just following what your boss has ordered you to do”.

Need: A Little Boost

When I asked Haresh if the government has extended any kind of support, he said, “None at this point”. However, when I quizzed him what the government can do for Manhattan, he answered, “We would like our products to be better promoted and used in cities. We hope to be given audience to discuss how we can provide new solutions that others never thought about”. With all the good work that Manhattan has been done and is doing, it should obtain more help so that it can continually do good.
***
For feedback: miamfabian@gmail.com

Green and Profitable

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How ChemRes Runs its Business the Ethical Way
By Miriam Tan-Fabian

WATER is life and life comes from water. And while 70% of the planet is made of water, only a small percentage of it is drinkable. At the same time, since pollutants tend to easily contaminate our bodies of water and since water easily disperses, water pollution should be everyone’s concern, especially companies. Such facts seem obvious, but unfortunately, these truths are often lost in the minds of many businessmen when it comes to the environment.

chemres

Regrettably, many company owners and top managers share a static mindset that is convinced that reaping profits is inherently irreconcilable with the protection and preservation of the planet and that caring for the environment means additional costs, thus eroding competitiveness, but Engr. Jose L. de Jesus does not agree. #OpinYon #business

read cont | http://bit.ly/1bZvJsS