Sunday, September 23, 2018

Renewable energy powers Del Monte facility: an ideal model of sustainability


While most manufacturing companies, including food companies, are carbon positive, meaning they emit more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they sequester or absorb, the carbon footprint of Del Monte Philippines Inc. (DMPI) is negative.

DMPI is the largest producer of pineapples in the country and its vast 25,000-hectare pineapple plantation and forest areas reduce the amount of carbon dioxide, offsetting any emissions in the atmosphere. There are not many companies that are carbon negative or even carbon neutral. Less carbon emissions are better for the environment. DMPI, a leading manufacturer of food and beverages, is uniquely positioned among food companies to help mitigate climate change.

Integrating renewable solutions in the food supply chain

As the company assesses opportunities to further improve its carbon footprint, Del Monte Philippines pursues renewable energy solutions that are good from an environmental, economic, community and governance perspective.

Del Monte embarked on a renewable energy project and installed a waste-to-energy plant that produces methane gas from the wastewater of its cannery in Bugo, Cagayan de Oro, which is converted to steam that generates 2.8MW of electricity. Power generated from biomass, such as waste, contributed only 1.09% of Philippine electricity supply in 2016, a largely untapped resource for renewable energy.

The waste-to-energy plant highlights DMPI’s commitment to environmental stewardship – nurturing nature. The cleansed effluent discharged at the coastal waters of Macajalar Bay, adjacent to the cannery, has BOD (biological oxygen demand) levels that are compliant with government regulation, in fact below government mandated levels. This is good for the environment and the fishermen that rely on the sea for their livelihood.

Moreover, the plant reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in compliance with the Clean Air Act of the government. Cleaner air emissions are good for the neighboring local communities around the cannery.

This waste-to-energy facility takes over the job done by an equally eco-friendly but power-intensive aerobic treatment plant, hence reducing overall energy consumption.

This plant reduces the energy cost of the company by approximately P40 million per year, over 20% cheaper than the grid which is mostly reliant on coal-fired plants since it is less costly to generate energy from bio-gas. Lower operating costs improve the competitiveness of DMPI and its ability to sustain its profitability.

Finally, the power plant serves as a buffer against unstable power supply, in times of power shortages, and as a shield against power cost increases.

The waste-to-energy facility is indeed an excellent model of sustainability from an environmental, economic, community and governance perspective, benefiting multiple stakeholders simultaneously.  Quality, which is part of Del Monte’s logo, is at the center of DMPI’s brand promise, which also encompasses the environment and community where it operates. The core values of DMPI include a commitment to society and environment, healthy families, and excellence in everything we do, sustaining our growth into the future.

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