Europe-PH News

Swine and Sustainability

April 13, 2012

Gianna B. Villavicencio

Europe-PH News

Hog Production involves various energy-consuming tools like grass cutters, feeding mills and delivery trucks, among others. To address environmental issues linked with their operations, hog-raising company Foremost Farms, Inc. has devised various initiatives.

Foremost Fams environmental officer Rogelio dela Paz said in an interview that the firm gradually works toward stewardship. For instance, a paper recycling program was developed to lessen the use of paper in Foremost Farms’ headquarters. For that project, annual potential savings were estimated at around P100,000.

The firm also urges its employees to segregate solid waste in color coded trash bins around their facilities, and to collect materials like glass bottles, plastic containers and cardboard boxes for recycling. Programs that directly benefit the farms have also been implemented. Mr. dela Paz said that old tarpaulins and other canvas fabrics, instead of being discarded or sold, have been reused as weed suppressors for the grasslands. This also helps eliminate the need for gasoline-powered grass cutters or lawn mowers, extra manpower, and other labor costs of setting up and maintaining farming areas. The canvas materials are placed over the fields and removed after 15 days for regrowth of the grass and the soil. “This allows us to balance the variables of the ecosystem,” said Mr. dela Paz.

For better waste management, wetlands were established on the farms to purify wastewater through natural processes. This year, Mr. dela Paz said vetivers will be used in the treatment of water systems and soil conservation. Vetivers are perennial, grasslike plants with long roots and are capable of absorbing pollutants.

Outside of its farms and facilities, the company also contributes to the surrounding environment.

“Our farm [in Tanay, Rizal] is near the mountains and because of illegal logging, birds flock to the areas with many trees said Kirsten Ybiernas, Foremost Farms training manager and special assistant to the COO, in an interview. According to her the migratory birds that inhabit the trees on their farm are a business threat, as they can carry diseases to which the hogs are susceptible.

However, Foremost Farms Chairman Lucio C. Tan requested that the trees remain or else get transplanted to another location. To observe the founder’s wishes while also protecting their hogs the company conducts tree-planting activities on a yearly basis.

Just last September, at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in Makati, Green Philippines Islands of Sustainability (GPIoS) presented Foremost Farms with the EcoSwitch Award.

GPIoS, a project under the European Union’s SWITCH Asia Program 2009-2013, aims to promote environmental sustainability within corporate settings in Metro Manila, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas Rizal and Quezon. Affiliates of GPIoS include the Technical University of Ostrava in Czech Republic, Center for Appropriate Technology in Austria, Austria Recycling (AREC), Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST), European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), and Philippine Business for Environment (PBE) —Gianna B. Villavicencio

 

Source: Business World; Special Feature; 13 April 2012

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