W Group Inc. champions sustainability beyond BGC, inks renewable energy deal for its carrageenan business in Laguna

Laguna, PHILIPPINES — Leading property firm W Group Inc. reaffirms its commitment to environmental sustainability with W Hydrocolloids, Inc.’s (WHI) recent partnership with First Gen Corporation. WHI, the group’s seaweed and carrageenan subsidiary, inked a deal with the power generation company for supply of renewable energy to its manufacturing facility in Laguna.

The aforementioned deal–done under WHI’s carrageenan exporter arm Philippine Bio-Industries, Inc. (PBI)–is expected to enhance the company’s operations and contribute to the firm’s thrust for sustainability and environmental efficiency. This move further aligns WHI and W Group’s efforts with the sustainability efforts of its multinational customers overseas, and makes PBI the first carrageenan factory in the Philippines to run on 100% clean energy.

“We are very excited to embark on this new journey to diversify and broaden our efforts to champion sustainability across our subsidiaries. It is high time that we explore other initiatives beyond the operation and development of our iconic green properties in Bonifacio Global City as we push further towards achieving our environmental goals in the company,” said W Group’s chief executive officer Francis Wee.

Under the year-long contract, First Gen’s licensed retail electricity supplier Bac-Man Geothermal, Inc. (BGI) will supply 650 kilowatts of electricity from a geothermal power plant in the Bicol Region to fulfill the monthly requirement of WHI’s Laguna facility. About 20% of WHI’s carrageenan business comes from its plant in Calamba, which plays a big role in the company’s supply accessibility in the Luzon region.

WHI is also in the process of securing renewable energy supply for its Cavite plant in Carmona, which is expected to be completed by December 2021. This ongoing initiative aligns with the national government’s Green Energy Option Program under the energy department.

“This partnership is a big step towards the company’s conscious effort to lower our carbon footprint and minimize the impact of carbon pollution in our environment. We support the global efforts of our partners abroad, particularly in the EU, who are ramping up their sustainability initiatives in line with the Sustainable Development Goals of 2030,” added WHI President John Wee.

Apart from sourcing clean energy, PBI also improved its manpower operations and machineries, and expanded its warehouse capacity to sustain operations amid the strict implementation of the lockdown in the region. Additionally, the company strengthened its technical and financial assistance to its seaweed farmers, along with the improvement of adequate wastewater or effluent controls to protect the surrounding environment and local communities.

PBI is one of the country’s leading manufacturers of carrageenan, a product widely used in the food & beverage industry worldwide. The plant has been in operation since 1992 and is the first fully- automated facility in Asia using patented European technology to produce refined carrageenan from local seaweed raw materials. PBI operates under W Hydrocolloids Inc., a subsidiary of W Group Inc.

Earlier this year, W Group was awarded the ISO 9001:2015 certification for its exemplary implementation of their quality management system and operations across its properties. It has also achieved a LEED Gold certification for its W CityCenter in BGC, reinforcing its core principle on integrating and implementing sustainable practices in all its businesses.