OFFICIAL STATEMENT: San Miguel Corporation’s coal exit is key to achieving national climate commitments, but holistic action is urgently needed

Aksyon Klima Pilipinas (AKP) applauds the San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for taking crucial steps towards a just transition from dirty fossil fuels to clean renewable energy.

The recent announcement of SMC President Ramon Ang that the company will “move away from building new coal facilities” and to accelerate its “move into cleaner and renewable power” is welcomed during the era of the climate emergency, especially as the world aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures by 2030.

As a key contributor to the Philippine economy, the shift of SMC into low-carbon solutions is key to the country achieving its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75% within this decade, under its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).

While this is a significant step that other Philippine companies should follow, there remains room for a much higher ambition for the plans of SMC. Despite its announcement, the company remains one of the major proponents of coal-fired power plants still in the pipeline.

Furthermore, the company is also the main proponent of the Bulacan Aerotropolis project, which threatens current rehabilitation efforts of the Manila Bay. This project has already resulted in the clearing of mangrove forests, which lowers the adaptive resilience of communities and the climate change mitigation potential of the area.

Aksyon Klima calls for SMC to commit to the following: (i) a concrete roadmap and timeline of divesting from coal projects and closing existing coal-fired power plants; (ii) a just transition, especially for its labor force affected, and the development of more green jobs; (iii) enhanced support to peoples-centered renewable energy production, leading to cleaner and more affordable electricity; and (iv) other projects that do not increase vulnerabilities of communities and ecosystems to climate-related hazards.