19 September 2017

San Miguel to cease plastic bottled water business

Asian beverage giant San Miguel Corporation announced that it will soon discontinue its bottled water business, as part of its strategy to limit plastic waste and pursue a more sustainable business model.

San Miguel’s bottled water business is called Purewater, and is intended to be rebranded towards filtration technology to be deployed during natural disasters and provide safe drinking water.

Ramon S. Ang, San Miguel’s President, said: “The plastic-bottled water business has given us good returns, but we are choosing to forego it in favour of our long-term sustainability goals”.

He added: “As we’ve transformed to a diversified business with interests in critical industries like power, infrastructure, public utilities and fuels, we realise we have a much bigger role to play in tackling the most pressing social and environmental issues”.

“A critical part of our strategic future are major infrastructure projects like the Bulacan Bulk Water project and its objective to provide safe, potable, and affordable water for a greater number of Filipino families”.

“Leaving a business like the plastic water bottle business while at the same time helping build the basic right of all Filipinos to safe and affordable fresh water is a big step to a sustainable future.”

The announcement came some months after the giant corporation launched its “Water For All Initiative”, which aims to cut water use by 50 percent across all its operations by 2025, employing measures like water recycling, conservation, rainwater harvesting et al.

When asked, the company said that the halt of the plastic bottled water business was independent from the Water For All Initiative, and water savings will not count towards its 2025 goals.

The issue of plastic pollution has been gaining ground over the public and private sector, with more initiatives being announced over time.

Last week, the UK MPs re-launched an inquiry into the environmental impact of disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles, to pressure the UK Government to pass new legislation to mitigate the problem, like tax and deposit schemes.

Scotland has already expressed its intentions to introduce a national deposit scheme for drink containers.

Evian, the famous bottled water brand owned by Danone, announced that it will team up with the bottled water division of Nestlé and a Californian start-up company to achieve commercialisation of 100 percent bio-based plastic bottles. 

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