The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is partnering with Steel Asia Manufacturing Corp. to implement a community-based program whose goal is to protect the environment and support local communities.

The partnership was formalized with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu and Steel Asia chairman and CEO Ben Yao.

The MOU commits the DENR and Steel Asia to collaborate on creating “mini ecological economic zones” in areas where plants of the country’s largest steel producer are located, and using a framework called sustainable integrated area development (SIAD).

SIAD is a strategy that weaves environmental considerations with social justice and human development—where local communities are provided with sustainable livelihood and trained to conserve the environment.

“The MOU with Steel Asia aims to harness human and physical resources, promote the best practices, and implement programs for the environment, as well as strengthen the DENR’s partnership with the private sector,” Cimatu said.

Cimatu said that even before partnering with the DENR, Steel Asia has become “a model in responsible enterprise pursuing the principles of sustainable development” being one of the early proponents of “green” manufacturing in the country.

For his part, Yao shared his vision of the Philippines as the world’s most modern steel industry “without having to harm the environment.”

“Guided by the DENR’s directions, we have done this [partnership] in order to achieve this goal of an environmentally friendly future,” he pointed out.

Under the MOU, the DENR and Steel Asia agreed to work together in implementing programs seeking to “reduce carbon footprints in the environment, alleviate solid waste management and generally help improve the ecological condition of the country.”

These programs will be carried out within a period of three to six years in barangays or municipalities where Steel Asia’s plants are located.

Each covered site should range from 5 to 10 hectares, or an aggregate of no less than 100 hectares for all the sites combined.

Each specific project or site shall be covered by a memorandum of agreement to be executed by the DENR and Steel Asia.

Steel Asia agreed to provide technical assistance and support to the DENR, as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility program. #