Shaped like a bird’s foot and bordering 29 towns, Laguna de Bay is the Philippines’ largest lake, situated southeast of capital Manila. As the focal point of development for the agricultural, fishery and energy sectors, the sprawling lake should be an oasis, teeming with wildlife and recreation.
Yet a potent mix of industrial and household waste has, in recent years, thrown off the ecological balance of this freshwater resource. For millions of people across the Philippines, a critical source of water is now in scarce supply.
“Every region in the Philippines is affected by the lack of potable water, especially as demand increases. But the water quality of Laguna de Bay has significantly worsened as time goes by, and the technology and treatment that we have now cannot cope,” says Elinor Mendez, President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Marketing Officer at water solutions company RENDCO.
To address this mounting challenge, RENDCO develops water treatment solutions that make potable water – a scarce and expensive resource in the Philippines – accessible and affordable nation-wide.
“We incorporated three global technologies into one localized design that produces zero liquid discharge, which means every drop of water is used and conserved,” Mendez says. “It’s a first for the Philippines, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) was the first bank who trusted us and gave us a break.”
As the longest-standing bank in Southeast Asia and one of the largest banks in the Philippines, BPI has a long history of building partnerships with institutions that share its commitment to sustainability and global ESG standards.
The support of BPI will enable RENDCO to launch its advanced wastewater treatment technologies in 2023, transforming 20 million liters of polluted water from Laguna de Bay into clean drinking water every day. This innovation will not only fundamentally reshape water access in communities across the Philippines, but also mark a victory for United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, which aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all.
Even though clean water and sanitation is one of the central tenets of the SDGs, global investment in water infrastructure is three times lower than needed. Part of the reason is that initial costs are high, pay-back periods are long, and the benefits are difficult to monetize.1
Long-term support from major institutions like BPI helps bridge the development gap, and is vital in reaching this critical goal.
BPI also recognizes that success and profitability are critical to the viability and sustainability of ESG projects. To this end, the bank supported RENDCO’s efforts to improve its technical training workshops, in turn boosting the efficiency and capacity of its water treatment systems. RENDCO was further able to tap into BPI’s expertise to enhance its payment capabilities to international partners and hire high-caliber employees – crucial steps toward its vision of bringing clean and safe water to every Filipino.
“We found the perfect partner in BPI because they share our vision of sustainability. BPI helps Philippine businesses – not just those in water – create sustainable solutions that preserve our environment, and drive the prosperity of the entire country,” says Mendez.