The new store awnings made out of stone paper are presented to Marikina Mayor Del de Guzman (center) by Smart’s manager for environment programs Nova Concepcion (4th from left), merchandising officer Glenna Gonzaga (2nd from left), sales and distribution area manager Rudel Benedict Ponce (leftmost), and community care supervisor Ria Luciano (rightmost).
“Smart has been shifting to environment-friendly materials from traditional plastic-based solutions as part of a group-wide initiative to reduce our carbon footprint. We have been exploring solutions that would pose the least harm to the environment. With stone paper, we finally walk the talk,” said Smart Public Affairs group head Ramon Isberto.
Smart is the first company in the country to ever make use of stone paper as a merchandising material.
Stone paper is a novel type of paper manufactured from calcium carbonate mixed with high density polyethylene bonding agent. The source of the calcium carbonate is waste material collected from limestone quarries, which is then ground and reduced to fine white paper.
Its product life-cycle is environmentally-friendly. The entire process requires absolutely no water, thus, eliminating the possibility of waste and pollution. Its production also uses just half the energy traditional paper manufacturing requires.
Stone paper will gradually photo-degrade when directly exposed to ultraviolet light for 9 to 12 months, allowing it to simply return back to nature as calcium carbonate, once again becoming stone. It is also water resistant and does not easily tear.
Stone paper manufacturing started in the late 1990s and has been patented in over 40 countries, but this is the first time that the stone paper technology will be used in the Philippines.
The telco chose Marikina as the pilot city for this technology because it is among the most progressive local government units (LGUs) in the country in terms of environment initiatives. The city is considered as one of the healthiest and livable cities within Asia Pacific and has reaped numerous awards for being the cleanest and greenest city.
Smart’s marketing services manager Frances Ching (leftmost) and merchandising officer Glenna Gonzaga discuss the merits of stone paper technology to Engr. Oliver Villamena of the Marikina City Environment Management Office while a merchandiser installs the new Smart and Talk ‘N Text store awnings made of stone paper.
Smart also has a long-standing partnership with Marikina in disaster preparedness, one of telco’s pillars in corporate social responsibility.
Brgy. Tumana, a flood-prone community in Marikina, is one of the communities adopted by Smart and the Corporate Network for Disaster Response (CNDR)for its Noah’s Ark Project, a community preparedness program that aims to increase the capacities of LGUs and high-risk communities to cope with the hazards of flooding.
The LGUs of Marikina, Antipolo, Quezon City, Cainta, Rodriguez, San Mateo and Pasig comprise the Alliance of Seven formed in 2010 to enhance the individual and collective capacities of member LGUs in dealing with typhoons and disasters.
“In installing the stone paper merchandising materials in Marikina, we hope other companies would follow suit. This is something that we could all do for the environment,” said Nova Concepcion, Smart manager for environment programs.
“Since it is a relatively new technology in the Philippines and we are the only ones using it for now, stone paper is quite expensive. More companies using it would fuel demand and consequently drive down the cost,” added Concepcion.
The company has previously used merchandising peripherals made of oxo-degradable materials.
Smart has been pursuing various initiatives for the environment as part of its Kabalikat programs. These include the use of wind energy to power a number of its cell sites, year-long tree-planting and mangrove enrichment activities in key sites nationwide, and the Marikina Watershed Initiative, which calls for the rehabilitation and reforestation of the river basin that mitigates flooding in Metro Manila.