21 July 2008

‘Ecoprofit’ practices save millions for Subic’s ‘green’ companies

Greenhouse effect. Global warming. High fuel cost. Expensive power. While world leaders are busy finding ways to minimize these problems, some investors in this free port have found simple, practical and inexpensive solutions.

“We applied the ‘Ecoprofit’ approach and techniques that we’ve learned from joining the Green Philippines program, and we’ve found that they really work!” said Lyn Amor Doble, deputy manager of Hitachi (Leadus) Terminals Mechatronics Phils. Corp., Subic’s second biggest exporters last year.

Hitachi’s “ecoprofit” measures included the conservation and monitoring of water consumption, the scheduling of aircon maintenance, monthly energy audit patrol, re-use of packaging materials like cartons, and the strict implementation of waste segregation.

The results, said Hitachi’s comptroller Kazuhiro Yasuda, were “really surprising.”

The firm was able to reduce 226,700 kilowatts of its energy consumption, resulting to annual savings of P1.18 million, and to decrease its water consumption by 4,600,000 liters, thus saving another P193,500 per year.

The firm, however, only invested a total of P300,000 for these measures, and realized the payback after only 2.6 months.

The Ecoprofit approach, Doble said, was taught under the Green Philippines program, which was backed by the European Union to promote the integration of sustainable development principles with fast paced-industrialization programs.

“It is actually the process of reducing the environmental impacts of industrial activities within urban regions, while strengthening the environment and promoting sustainable economic development,” Doble explained further.

“You may not know it, but the solutions are already there, just waiting to be utilized,” added Yasuda, who helped form the company’s waste management committee composed of workers and management-level personnel.

He said the company now plans to implement more “ecoprofit” measures like the installation of additional plastic curtains, improvement of thermal heat chamber, replacement of fluorescent and hi-bay lamps to compact fluorescent lamps, further education on water conservation, and revision of the company’s waste disposal process.

Hitachi’s waste management committee has also started the mandatory switch-off of lights and air-conditioning systems in offices and halls during break time, and the promotion of a paperless, pencil-less office set-up where communications were routed through in-house computer networks, or intranet.

Yasuda added that as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, Hitachi has asked all its personnel and executives to participate in annual tree planting activities initiated by the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA).

Meanwhile, Tailin Abrasives Corp., another leading manufacturer and exporter based at the Subic Bay Industrial Park, has been benefiting hugely from similar ecoprofit techniques.

“When we first introduced the program in our company, there was strong resistance from among the workers who thought the management was simply being a miser by putting up the auto shut-off faucets,” said Daniel Escusa, the firm’s pollution control officer (PCO).

“But as they began seeing the benefits for them, they started to cooperate,” he said.

Escusa revealed that Tailin spent some P500,000 to implement Ecoprofit systems at its abrasives factory here, and in return generated savings that were almost double the installation costs.

Aside from converting conventional faucets to auto-shutoff types to minimize wastage of water, Tailin also implemented garbage segregation and recycling, replacement of oven-door gaskets to minimize temperature loss during product curing, and reducing layers of packaging wrapping from five layers to just two layers.

Because of these measures, the company realized annual savings of P158,500 in electricity consumption, P134,100 in water consumption, P84,000 in reduction of mixed wastes, and P109,000 by a 60 percent reduction of plastic foil consumption.

“We also realized that by simply adopting environment-friendly measures, like improving natural ventilation in our work areas, we could substantially reduce man-hours lost due to sickness and thereby improve our production output, too,” he said.

The Green Philippines program was introduced here recently by the SBMA’s Ecology Center as part of the agency’s initiatives to promote environmental protection and sustainable growth.(SBMA Corporate Communications)