As kids, we were taught that water is everyone's responsibility. We were told to turn off the tap while brushing our teeth. As adults in the workplace, there are reminders everywhere to be more mindful of how we use water, but we barely give it a thought, even as our hotter summers and overstretched communities are resulting in water rationing. But at San Miguel Corporation, leading the company's water conservation effort is one man's entire job description and primary responsibility.
Domingo “Domeng” Perez is the lead project manager of Water for All, San Miguel’s water stewardship program that aims to reduce the company’s overall consumption of water by 50% by 2025.
An engineer by training, Domeng worked in San Miguel’s corporate technical services group for 23 years as an environmental management associate. The unit was dissolved in 2008 after the function was spun off to the different subsidiaries, and Domeng opted to retire, signing on instead as a consultant for technical audits.
When in late-2016, San Miguel was preparing to launch a water conservation project as part of its push to integrate sustainability into the company's broader business strategy, he was singled out to lead it full-time. Effectively no such job existed before the articulation of San Miguel's water program. While certainly, it was someone's job to monitor water usage (or energy usage for that matter), it wasn't a job necessarily associated with environmental responsibility. Over the last two years that he's effectively been put in charge, Domeng has managed to integrate sustainable practices into everyday routine functions.
When he first joined San Miguel in the 1980s, there was no such thing as a green job, and he’s happy that the type of work he did then, coming up with solutions to problems related to air pollution or water contamination, have since entered the mainstream. That his current job allows him to contribute to solving an important issue—water scarcity—is a source of great pride for Domeng. Over the last 20 months or so, Domeng has audited 81 SMC facilities throughout the country, validating submitted reports with on-the-ground inspections and visits.
One full year after Water for All was launched, the San Miguel Group managed to cut water use by 14%. For 2019, the compounded results amounted to over 25%, well ahead of the group’s interim target of a 20% reduction by 2020.
The savings have come from low hanging fruit such as fixing leaks, adjusting water pressure, and controlling valves to reduce water flow.