Monday, February 16, 2015

Unilever, Smart, & Cebuana Lhuillier Strengthen Partnership to Champion Environmental Sustainability

How conscious are you about those small plastic wrappers we discard everyday? Wouldn't it be nice to know that they don't end up in some landfill only to stay there for decades? 

I am personally glad to find out that a campaign to champion environmental sustainability has already made a lot of progress in the past two years. This 2015, three industry leaders -- Unilever, through its laundry brand Surf, Smart Communications, and Cebuana Lhuiller -- have renewed their commitment to improve Filipino lives through their Sachet Recovery Program.  Through their joint efforts, they have created a process that is easy, convenient, and rewarding while involving and educating more consumers about sustainability and waste recycling.  

During a program held at the Mandaluyong Elementary School the other day, Unilever Philippines Chairman and CEO Rohit Jawa thanked their partners for the continued support in the endeavor to reduce the environmental impact of sachets. He said this is in line with the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan that aims to double their business while cutting their environmental footprint in half and, in the process, bringing a brighter future to one billion people worldwide.

Jawa acknowledged that they owe the Sachet Recovery Program's success these past two years to the valuable contributions of Smart Communications and Cebuana Lhuiller. "This year, their bigger participation will definitely produce greater results for the benefit of the environment and Filipino communities," he announced.

Since 2013, the Sachet Recovery Program has been teaching proper waste segregation and recycling by encouraging millions of Filipinos to collect empty Surf sachets in exchange for free Smart texts at any of the close to 2,000 Cebuana Lhuiller branches nationwide.

Benjie Yap, Unilever Philippines Vice President for Home Care, revealed that they have collected 4.5 million sachets during the first year, which they converted into 45,000 pavers. "In 2014, we collected an additional 7.5 million empty sachets nationwide," he reported, adding that some of the pavers were donated to Barangay Union Coastal of Mayorga, Leyte and served as foundation to the environmentally-friendly laundry facility, Surf Labahan.

In 2015, the three giant companies plan to make the program bigger by increasing the incentive to 10 free Smart texts for every sachet surrendered so that more consumers will be involved and educated about recycling Surf packaging materials.  

"Starting this year, Talk 'N Text and Sun subscribers will also be able to exchange their Surf sachets for free SMS," announced Napoleon Nazareno, Smart Communications President and CEO. Now that's more good news because more Filipinos will be engaged to join this endeavor!

Cebuana Lhuiller President and CEO, Jean Henri Lhuiller, said they will be adding their newly-opened outlets to facilitate the redemption of Surf sachets. He assured, "Our growing branch network will provide a convenient way for millions of consumers nationwide to participate in the Sachet Recovery Program."

Duing the event, the partners also donated 7,000 cement pavers to the Mandaluyong Elementary School. These construction materials, made from hundreds of thousands of shredded empty sachets, will form pathways to improve school grounds and make walking around the school more convenient for the students.

Now that's a good step to minimizing non-biodegradable materials in landfills. I hope more companies will follow suit and also form initiatives like this!

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