Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mechanisms in brewing life the SMB way

San Miguel Brewery, Inc (SMB), being the largest and premiere beer manufacturer of the Philippines, is also one of the firms which is taking larger-than-life initiatives for environmental conservation and rehabilitation. While the company is savouring titanic success, it has laid out comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) aimed at helping their host communities by caring for the environment and contributing to countryside development.

For two consecutive years, I have witnessed how serious SMB is in its Buhayin ang Kalikasan, an annual tree planting project that underscores its commitment towards responsible stewardship of the environment. To some interrelated magnitude, they christened the program TREES BREW LIFE which to me a manifestation of levelling up their tree growing efforts in order to infuse respect and care for life, not just human life but the rest of biodiversity.

Last August 13 I was commissioned by Meggy, a very good friend from SMB, to photo document their tree growing in Matina Pangi, Davao City. This has been their project area over the last four years. As usual, the enthusiasm of the employees to plant trees was very evident. They planted a total of 2,000 assorted seedlings in the extended portion of the Pangi river. As I roamed around I saw the trees planted a year ago which now started to develop greener and huge canopy.

I am sure there are so many attempts to do the same but SMB’s mechanisms spell a difference in sustaining the initiative. In 2013, the survival rate of the trees planted was at a whopping 94 percent. In 2014, the outcome is almost the same, generating an 89 percent survival count. The 2015 version has yet to be identified but when I joined Meggy in a site monitoring visit, majority of the trees grew well despite the El Niño phenomenon in summer this year.

WE'VE DONE OUR PART. Some friends in the media here in a souvenir shot
With representative from San Miguel Foundation Mr. Don Guerrero
It was just plain and simple why SMB is successful in brewing life, and for me the system has to be all-inclusive. First, they tapped the barangay government of Matina Pangi as their partner who is committed to monitor and take care of the trees planted. A site caretaker was assigned to practically perform cultural management practices while the seedlings are in their infant stage, which is definitely the most critical stage of the seedlings' lives. SMB also knocked the assistance of the City Environment Office and the community residing in the planting sites, recognizing their respective roles in sustaining the initiative. Indeed, multi-stakeholdership approach is categorically the name of the game.

With Matina Pangi Barangay Captain Carmelo Arana
Second, with CENRO’s guidance, appropriate tree species should be planted so as to attain higher growth proportion. In a riverbank stabilization for example, SMB planted Malibago trees, an ideal specie which is also known for its survival instinct despite instances of long dry spell and drought. It is also propagated asexually, which means that it has diffuse root system suitable for creating river to soil equilibrium.          

With SMB’s name associated to beverage brewing excellence, there is a fresh component that is integrated into its label and that is the care and esteem to life and it is manifested by growing more trees every year. 

P.S. My salute to the Barangay Captain of Matina Pangi Hon. Carmelo Arana for the all-out support to the Buhayin ang Kalikasan Project. I seldom encounter such attitude as admirable as Kapitan Arana in supporting environmental conservation and rehabilitation program.