Unilever - Leading the Business Community in Waste Management

"Waste. We know that solid waste management is a big issue," said Mr. Chito Macapagal, Vice President for Corporate Affairs in Unilever Philippines, during an interview. Seeing this serious environmental issue, Unilever Philippines remains their strong advocacy on solid waste management, a mission that is "weaved into the fabric of the way we (Unilever) do business," as "concern for the environment has always been in the forefront of the company's mission particularly here in this country," as explained by Mr. Macapagal. And through Earth Day Network Philippines, Inc., the company was able to gain deeper understanding on the issue and its impact on their business; and respond proactively to this advocacy through the two organizations' partnership in implementing Zero Basura Olympics (ZBO), a program that encourages the participation of the business community not only to practice proper waste segregation, but also embed in themselves the proper practice in their daily operations.

And it all started with the day representatives of Unilever Philippines had the opportunity to engage with representatives of EDNPI, including founder "Tita" Odette Alcantara. As Mr. Macapagal shared, their relationship with EDNPI emanated from their discovery of their "common goal" concerning solid waste management. EDNPI helped Unilever open their eyes to the reality of the real cause of the waste management issues, and fulfill the company's environmental mission and sustainability program through ZBO.

"That's the beauty of your being a member or partner of the Earth Day Network Philippines. You exactly have feel on how people receive particular problem, what other solutions are there, and you don't have to guess. And they will also tell what they believe you still can do. So they also help us channel our efforts correctly," said Mr. Macapagal. "They have said so that we can do more by doing where we are good at, and that is for example, communication. They want us to lead the ZBO because we are at the heart of the issue." Seeing that they are within the sphere of expertise, Unilever took the leadership.

What makes Unilever Philippines continue this fruitful partnership with EDNPI? First, it is their strong belief on their business' sustainability. "For us to be able to exist as a business, we should ensure that in the way we run our business, we are part of finding solutions to social ecological and environmental concerns," Mr. Macapagal said. Unilever believes that doing business in a green way is the only way to make a business truly sustainable. And second is their claim that in our country, there are so many well-intentioned advocacies, such as those of EDNPI. "There are a lot of good ones that are already running. All you need to do is to come out and support them. Same as what we were talking about, the advocacies of Earth Day Network are worthwhile supporting."