Today, living an eco-friendlier life has become much more manageable. With many simple yet effective ways to make our everyday lives more sustainable, and with many groups ready to help us take that first step toward a greener future, there is every reason to start today. Living a personal sustainable lifestyle can be impactful only if we do it together to preserve our planet for generations to come.
One of the best things to live sustainably is to reduce your carbon footprint. Many seemingly harmless daily activities can contribute to a higher carbon footprint or other greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere, leading to dramatic climate changes. An increased carbon footprint includes high electric consumption, driving our cars over short distances, and the excessive use of aerosols and air conditioners, to name a few. Try to identify and minimize these activities if you can, or look for more eco-friendly alternatives, if available.
You can also lower your carbon footprint by using energy efficiently. Use energy-efficient appliances, replace your old lighting fixtures with LED lights, and turn off energy-consuming items when not in use. Doing these eliminates energy waste in your home and helps you save more on utility expenses.
The 2020 Climate Transparency Report disclosed that the Philippines generated 1.18 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent per capita in 2017. The country will need to reduce its emissions to below 132 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030 and below -198 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050. It is to meet the 1.5°C-compliant climate change mitigation goals of the Paris Agreement, of which the country is a signatory.
Another way to make your lifestyle more sustainable is to correctly manage and segregate your garbage. Sort and separate your waste by type (e.g., paper/carton, plastic, glass, metal, electronics, etc.). It helps to find out more about your community’s waste collection and management policies. You can even make extra cash if you dispose of your non-organic waste through the proper channels.
You can also minimize the waste you generate at home. There are many simple ways to do this. It includes reusing plastic bags, opting for eco-bags when shopping, and avoiding single-use items. By being mindful of our food consumption, we can also significantly reduce food waste and packaging.
The 2020 Ocean Conservancy and McKinsey Center for Business and Environment report that the Philippines ranked third among the world contributors to plastic pollution, with 2.7 million metric tons of plastic waste each year.
As a responsible member of the community, SM has consistently implemented programs to inspire Filipinos to be more sustainable, educating them on the importance of sustainability and how to help protect the environment. It includes the long-running Green Film Festival, which features the free screening of environmental documentaries for students and other program partnerships that promote alternative options to plastic.
SM also has projects that directly engage its mall-goers, focusing on solid waste management. These are the monthly Trash to Cash recycling market and the collection of used lead-acid batteries (ULABs), the Electronic Waste Collection program, and the Plastic Waste Collection program held in partnership with the Plastic Credit Exchange. To date, SM Supermalls have collected more than 11,600 kg. of plastic waste, 2,000 kg. of electronic waste and 908,000 kg. of assorted recyclable waste.
In addition, SM has been exploring renewable alternatives as its malls’ energy source. For instance, in 2020, the company generated 9,620 MWh of energy from solar roof panels installed in ten different malls nationwide. The company has also completed solar panel retrofits in other malls. SM hopes to achieve its goal of having 50% of the energy it consumes being sourced from renewable sources by the end of this year.
“We have always been an advocate of sustainable living. Proof of this is the numerous environmental initiatives that the company has implemented. We build our malls with the environment and community in mind, and we make sure that our developments contribute to environmental protection,” said Engr. Liza B. Silerio, SM Supermalls’ Corporate Compliance Head. “More importantly, we know that personal sustainability is key to achieving the green future that we want. We will continue to implement programs that encourage positive change within our community partners.”
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, with programs to support communities, promote social inclusion and care for the environment. Its CSR advocacies include the Environment, Persons with Disabilities, Women & Breastfeeding Mothers, Children & Youth, Senior Citizens, and the Bike-Friendly SM Program.