Telco continues pioneering earth-friendly advocacies

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Wednesday, April 24, 2013


WIRELESS services leader Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) walks the talk when it comes to integrating and sustaining eco-friendly initiatives in its operations.

The telco put up the country's first "green" cell site using wind and solar power in the island of Malapascua in Sitio Guimbalayan in Cebu in 2006.

Some 134 of its cell sites (from 125 in 2012) nationwide run on this hybrid power technology, including the one in Kalayaan Island. For its green initiatives, Smart bagged the “Green Mobile Award” at the GSMA Global Mobile Awards in Barcelona, Spain in 2009.

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It continues to explore renewable energy solutions to power up its modernized network infrastructure, like a hybrid wind-solar power system that uses vertical-axis wind turbines currently installed at the rooftop of the Makati Medical Center.

The telco is significantly lowering its consumption of electricity and fuel in maintaining its various cell sites and base stations all over the country in a bid to further lower the carbon footprint of its operations.

It embarked on a modernization plan that converted Smart's cell sites to the multi-technology Single Radio Access Network (RAN) system. This requires the total replacement of base station equipment with smaller, cost-efficient structures that consume less power and subsequently reduce carbon emission.

"Smart has taken on initiatives that not only make excellent business sense but also allows it to take a lead role in addressing one of the most pressing problems that we are facing today, climate change," said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Group head.

"With facilities strategically located nationwide, Smart recognizes that it plays a key role in contributing efforts to institutionalize sound environmental practice in the telco industry," he added.

It is the only telco that has made use of eco-friendly merchandising materials. It has pioneered early this year the use of stone paper for its promotional store awnings. Through its partnerships, it has also instituted recycling of used tarpaulins into bags that communities can make use to improve their livelihood.

It has also adopted sites all over the country for tree-planting and reforestation, including the Marikina Watershed. Smart, with the help of employees and volunteers from partner organizations have been planting trees and mangroves since 2005.

To make its earth-friendly campaign more inclusive, Smart has been instilling in its employees the “green” lifestyle to save on resources and be less harmful to the environment. Its Smart Acts campaign also aims to include its 54 million subscribers into doing small good deeds for the environment that altogether make a big difference for the planet.

It has also made alliances with movements and groups that also push environmental advocacies like the Earth Day Network Philippines Inc. (EDNP), which is the lead proponent for the Earth Day celebration in the country.

"As we celebrate Earth Day, the need to protect and conserve the planet is once more brought to the fore.

Smart believes that how business responds to the climate change issue will have lasting impact on how the present and future generations will live their lives," said Darwin Flores, department head for Smart's Community Partnerships.

"At Smart, it is not all about having the biggest network and the most number of subscribers and how we are able to serve our customers’ requirements, it is also about doing business in an earth-friendly way," added Flores.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 24, 2013.

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