Going Green

More Than Malls: How SM Prime is Leading in Sustainable Development

Mall culture in the Philippines has become more than just about shopping, dining, and entertainment. The eco-conscious age pivots its focus toward sustainability and mindful urban development – a story exemplified by the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Complex of SM Prime, one of Southeast Asia’s leading integrated property developers.

Spanning 67 hectares, SM MOA Complex is currently the largest shopping mall nationwide and sixth worldwide. It’s a vibrant integrated city development where lifestyle and leisure intersect with sustainability. Behind the bustling retail haven, gastronomic delights, and entertainment attractions lies a dedication to environmental stewardship and community resilience that set a precedent for malls in the country on sustainable urban planning.

READ: This ‘green-minded’ company is changing our shopping malls forever

Pioneering environmental stewardship

SM Prime, through its subsidiary SM Supermalls, has undertaken groundbreaking initiatives in SM MOA complex and its other SM malls across the country to reduce the ecological footprint and promote a greener future. From pioneering activities and integrating advanced technologies such as solar rooftops, water recycling systems, adoption of air conditioning inverters, and installation of standard Light-Emitting Diode (LED)-lighting and motion detectors on its escalators to robust solid waste management, advanced water conservation practices, and green building developments, SM Prime is regarded as the most energy efficient mall group in the country. Currently, the company sources more than 50% of its electricity from renewable energy across all its properties and facilities nationwide.

Apart from renewable power generation, SM Supermalls is also part of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP), a power supply mitigation program wherein companies with their own stand-by generation capacities can be compensated by the government by using their own generation facilities when power reserves are low. To date, SM can reduce around 110 megawatts (MW) of power from the grid when 56 of its malls will use their own generator sets. SM has the largest offset with the SM MOA providing a committed capacity of 15.92MW. 

SM Prime further intensified its sustainability journey and recently embarked on an #SMWasteFreeFuture program, encouraging its stakeholders and employees across the group to reduce waste generation through effective segregation practices and adopt sustainable consumption by recycling, reusing, or composting.

Sustainable water usage is one of the long-standing practices of SM Prime. The group has been recycling water since the 1990s, treating an average of 1 billion gallons annually in past years to repurpose for mall operations including toilet cleaning and landscaping use. It has integrated rainwater harvesting systems in over 30 malls, particularly in flood-prone areas. Recently, it made another breakthrough in water usage by successfully treating rainwater into potable water in SM City Baguio, which the company aims to replicate in other malls.

Strengthening disaster resilience

Apart from its environmental approaches and innovations, SM Prime takes sustainable mall design and developments seriously across its projects. Led by SM Prime’s subsidiary, SM Engineering, Design and Development Corporation (SMEDD), the company has revolutionized its design approaches to green building minimizing vulnerability and increasing the infrastructure resiliency of its developments. Among its developments are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-Gold certified SM Aura and green office buildings in SM MOA Complex that deliver healthier work-life spaces to optimize business operations while minimizing its environmental impact.

At the core of SM MOA Complex’s continued expansion is the community’s safety and well-being through disaster resiliency features. SM Prime worked with a team of local and international experts, including Jan de Nul, Belgium’s renowned coastal development construction company, to ensure the stability of the terrain and infrastructures against earthquakes and erosion. The complex’s climate adaptation features include a seawall design to protect the development and surrounding communities from potential storm surges or rising sea levels, as well as specialized foundation systems against liquefaction and seismic events. This commitment establishes a benchmark within the SM Prime portfolio, demonstrating best practices used across other SM malls nationwide.

Shaping the landscape of Philippine integrated property developments

As the world navigates environmental and urbanization challenges, SM Prime continues to advance sustainability, innovation, community stewardship, and resiliency. With its multifaceted approaches and pioneering efforts in the SM MOA Complex and across all its developments, SM Prime is a key Philippine industry partner through its revolutionary and responsible mixed-use developments with premier destinations integrating leisure, lifestyle, and business with sustainability and disaster resilience at work.

SM Prime remains committed to its role as a catalyst for economic growth, delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life of millions of people. SM Prime is pursuing the next horizon on integrated property development and onward to building sustainable cities of the future.

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