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Smart holds online workshop for Digital Farmers Program trainors

DFP links technology-savvy youths with small-holder farmers so that the latter could tap the digital space, and consequently, establish a channel for exchanging ideas—from using modern agricultural technologies, to discovering time-tested farming traditions.

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Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Unsplash.com

The pandemic has stopped general farming in its tracks, with 15% of crop-raising and fishing activities in the countryside suspended in March. The movement of produce from the provinces was thus affected, curtailing food supply in Metro Manila.

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Information officers and media production specialists from the Information Services Section of 15 Regional DA-ATI Training Centers nationwide joined the web event. 

While the government granted subsidies to farmers, the private sector teamed up with farmers’ groups to alleviate the problem by bringing produce to the cities during the enhanced community quarantine. Facebook and Instagram served as the marketplace.

The farmers’ knowledge of technology and digital tools served them in good stead. To help boost productivity and marketability, the Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) last year launched the Digital Farmers Program (DFP) in partnership with Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart).

The program teaches small-scale farmers to use digital tools through courses like the use of smartphones, e-commerce and online payment systems.

While the Department of Agriculture already developed many online resources, including mobile apps, farmers weren’t using the new technology. Now, more than ever, farmers can benefit from learning how to be more tech-savvy. The average age of a farmer in the Philippines is 57 years.

“With uncertainties brought on by COVID-19, we all have to adapt. The Digital Farmers Program is a training ground for the new style of doing things. It is digital and inclusive and geared toward the growth of the agriculture sector,” said Smart Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

DFP links technology-savvy youths with small-holder farmers so that the latter could tap the digital space, and consequently, establish a channel for exchanging ideas—from using modern agricultural technologies, to discovering time-tested farming traditions.

To continue the roll-out of DFP lessons, the DA-ATI and Smart recently completed the DFP 101 Master Trainers’ Bootcamp, the first virtual interactive “Training for Trainors” workshop for DFP. Information officers and media production specialists from the Information Services Section of 15 Regional ATI Training Centers nationwide joined the web event. 

The program teaches small-scale farmers to use digital tools through courses like the use of smartphones, e-commerce and online payment systems.

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Bethel John Sinon, a media production specialist from DA-ATI Regional Training Center VIII, said the virtual workshop made him ready to conduct his own web trainings to help farmers.

Advance phases will include lessons on mobile agriculture and financial services such as third-party farming apps, mobile e-money, and microcredit, entrepreneurship, smart farming, and financial literacy. 

“We are expanding our training capabilities as we do things online more and more,” said DA-ATI Director Alfredo Aton. He thanked Smart for its continued support. Also present at the workshop were DA-ATI Information Services Division Chief Antonieta Arceo and Smart VP for Community Partnerships Darwin Flores.

The workshop was facilitated by trainers from Limitless Lab, a strategic design and innovation company. StartupPH Training also gave pointers on effective online training to sustain participants’ interest. 

The DFP is an advocacy of Smart Communities, which taps Technology for Development to narrow down the digital divide. The program is also aligned with the commitment of Smart’s parent company, PLDT, to support the 17 Sustainable Goals of the United Nations.

For the second half 2020, 28 batches of the DFP 101 trainings will be rolled out starting on August.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/SmartCommunities.

Ethical Biz

Blackbough founder Jemina Ty leads environmental awareness campaign with locals

The Blackbough team, composed of young, creative, and passionate individuals who champion various causes such as marine life conservation and environmental preservation, includes team members based on Siargao Island.

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In the picturesque paradise of Siargao Island, Jemina Ty, the creative force behind the globally celebrated swimwear brand Blackbough, takes the helm as the leader spearheading a sustainability campaign, hand in hand with the local community.

With its pristine islands, stunning white sand beaches, and sprawling coconut fields, Siargao Island has captivated beach-lovers and adventure-seekers from all over the world. However, this idyllic destination in the southeastern region of the Philippines is facing threats due to plastic pollution and environmental degradation. In response, Blackbough recently organized a beach cleanup campaign to protect Siargao Island and raise awareness among locals and tourists alike.

Ty pointed out, “By 2050, there’s a good chance that we’ll see more plastic in the ocean than fish. That’s why through this initiative, we hope to create a chain reaction and encourage people to be more mindful of their actions and to make choices that nurture the environment.”

Under Ty’s leadership, Blackbough became a widely followed international swimwear brand with a heart for sustainability. The company is committed to reducing its environmental footprint by using recycled nylon, investing in ethical factories, repurposing scrap fabrics to accessories, and incorporating recyclable and reusable packaging options. By offering stylish and eco-friendly swimwear, Blackbough encourages customers to make more sustainable choices.

“At Blackbough, we believe that every journey towards sustainability begins with a single step. Leveraging Blackbough’s global presence, we aim to showcase the beauty of our Philippine islands and the importance of taking care of them.” 

The Blackbough Swim Team led by Chief Executive Officer and Founder Jemina Ty accumulated a total of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris during their coastal clean-up activity at Malinao Beach, General Luna, Siargao.

The beach cleanup event took place at Malinao Beach, General Luna drawing over a hundred volunteers from diverse backgrounds, including tourists, locals, and stakeholders. Their collective effort resulted in the removal of 100 sacks of plastic waste and debris, offering participants a firsthand perspective on the detrimental effects of pollution on the island.

The Blackbough team, composed of young, creative, and passionate individuals who champion various causes such as marine life conservation and environmental preservation, includes team members based on Siargao Island. Ty acknowledged their commitment, saying, “Siargao is not just a location for us; it’s also home to many of our amazing team members. I recognize that it’s my responsibility to contribute positively to the communities and societies where we operate.”

Beyond cleaning up the beach, Blackbough’s campaign is a call to arms for travelers, environmental enthusiasts, and conscious consumers to begin their sustainability journey. Siargao Island is just the starting point for Blackbough’s beach cleanup initiatives, marking the launch of their Clean Beach Campaign, a series of beach cleanup activities in collaboration with various local communities across the Philippine islands as part of Blackbough’s advocacy for sustainability and environmental protection.

Ty believes in being proactive when it comes to addressing environmental issues. Ty emphasized, “I think that we should not wait for our beaches to reach a critical level of degradation before we act. We hope for everyone’s support as we pursue our mission to protect the country’s beaches. Together, we can make a lasting impact and inspire others to join us on this journey.”

As part of its journey towards sustainability, Blackbough has launched a fundraising drive dubbed “Donate to Clean our Coasts” on its website’s checkout page, running until mid-October. One hundred percent of the proceeds raised through this campaign will be dedicated to supporting the International Coastal Cleanup Philippines, a non-profit volunteer organization dedicated to cleaning up marine debris and promoting ocean conservation. Blackbough has also pledged to match the cumulative donations made during the month of September.

To learn more about Blackbough’s fundraising initiative, please visit https://blackboughswim.com/pages/our-commitment.

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Ethical Biz

Epson, WWF-Philippines utilize urban gardening to help address food crisis, waste management

Epson partnered with WWF-Philippines to conduct an urban gardening workshop for the global technology leader’s employees. Facilitated by WWF-Philippines Sustainable Food Systems Project Manager Monci Hinay, the workshop aimed to educate attendees on the practice, and showcase how people in urban spaces can benefit from urban gardening and sustainable food systems.

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Urbanization continues to profoundly shift the face of Philippine towns and cities. With the lack of ample crop production areas and more people migrating from rural to urban zones, primary availability and access to food are      severely impacted. In fact, over 3.9 million Filipino families continue to experience involuntary hunger due to food inaccessibility.

Epson has always held a strong commitment to sustainability and protecting the environment, not only in its products but also in its initiatives that enrich communities. More recently, the company has shifted more focus to enabling the circular economy through upcycling and breathing second life to used materials. To spur its commitment into action, Epson continually partners with like-minded organizations such as World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines to further its eco-initiatives and contributions to a greener future.

Strengthening Epson’s sustainability initiatives through urban gardening

Earlier this year, Epson partnered with WWF-Philippines to conduct an urban gardening workshop for the global technology leader’s employees. Facilitated by WWF-Philippines Sustainable Food Systems Project Manager Monci Hinay, the workshop aimed to educate attendees on the practice, and showcase how people in urban spaces can benefit from urban gardening and sustainable food systems.

Throughout the workshop, Epson employees learned about what urban gardening entails, such as what kind of crops work best depending on the time of the year. Participants learned in-depth tips and the basic steps of urban gardening: starting from site selection, seed sowing and seedling care, container selection, transplanting, water fertilizer, and pest control. Participants also learned how to kickstart their gardening journey: from concocting their own natural pest control to utilizing companion planting.

Understanding the basics of urban gardening

According to WWF-Philippines, the practice of urban gardening addresses one of the key pillars of food security, access to food, as well as the growing issue of household waste management. The method involves growing produce in portable and modular planters, in areas where agricultural spaces are not typically available, such as cities and urban centers. Urban gardening enables the cultivation of crops in compact areas and vertical structures, akin to hydroponic technology at a more affordable cost.

Additionally, urban gardening combats another growing problem: single-use plastics and plastic pollution. The practice gives life to potential waste products such as old plastic bottles, conveniently turning them into miniature planters that can fit in any space.

“What we’re doing right now is part and parcel of the solution because as we speak, a lot of our fellow Filipinos are experiencing hunger and malnutrition,” said Hinay. “We hope more people start to practice urban gardening and pass these methods forward so that we, as a community, can begin to address these growing issues surrounding food and food security.”

The urban gardening workshop, while highly informative and engaging, is just the first step in addressing the food crisis from an individual level. Epson, together with WWF-Philippines, hopes to roll out more eco-initiatives to educate and inspire individuals to practice the method and embrace their roles as stewards of sustainability.

“Our efforts and eco-initiatives represent our simple contribution to Epson’s global environmental goal of becoming a pioneering company that employs its effective, compact, and precise technologies to achieve a sustainable future,” said Masako Kusama, President and Director of Epson Philippines. “We are glad for our growing partnership with WWF-Philippines, and all the opportunities that will help put our commitment to sustainability into practice.”

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Ethical Biz

Shift to an eco-conscious lifestyle with Globe eSIM and Eco-SIM

With its very small size, the effect of SIM cards on the environment may seem insignificant.  However, their combined weight represents an estimated 20,000 tons of plastic and other polymers consumed each year.

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Globe encourages its customers to further support sustainable living and contribute to reversing environmental damage through two eco-friendly subscriber identification module (SIM) options –  the eSIM and Eco-SIM.

With its very small size, the effect of SIM cards on the environment may seem insignificant.  However, their combined weight represents an estimated 20,000 tons of plastic and other polymers consumed each year.

The situation prompted Globe to look for alternatives that meet its ambition to cut electronic and plastic waste and reduce carbon footprint.  The company is at the forefront of environmental sustainability, enabling programs that support climate action.

The eSIM is a digital SIM embedded in certain mobile phone models. Globe was the first company to offer it in 2018 as an alternative to traditional SIM cards.

Apart from being environment-friendly, the e-SIM technology allows for additional innovative capabilities such as the ability to manage multiple profiles using different mobile numbers on just one device and effortlessly switch lines for any purpose that fits their lifestyle.

Plus, e-SIM now allows for gadgets beyond the mobile phone like smartwatches to be connected under one mobile number. This revolutionary technology was recently made available to the Apple Watch cellular. As such, Globe postpaid iPhone users are now able to go out and stay connected even without having their iPhone on-hand.

To avail of a Globe eSIM, Postpaid customers can simply request at any Globe Store nationwide.

On the other hand, the new Eco-SIM card is made from 100% recycled materials using refrigerator interiors, the first-of-its-kind to be commercially launched in Asia. Developed by Thales, a global leader in advanced technologies, the card was introduced to Globe postpaid mobile subscribers beginning the fourth quarter of 2021.

“Being eco-conscious doesn’t mean sacrificing on progress. As with the eco SIM and e-SIM technologies, Globe postpaid customers are able to enjoy the latest technological advancements in telecommunications and lessening their carbon footprint at the same time,” said Coco Domingo, Vice President for Postpaid and International Business. 

Globe became the first Philippine company listed by the Science-Based Target initiative (SBTi) committed to setting science-based targets and net-zero emissions by 2050.  This is in line with the Paris agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, as well as the UN-backed Race to Zero global campaign rallying non-state actors to help halve global emissions by 2030 and deliver a zero-carbon world by 2050.

Globe strongly supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly UN SDG No. 12, which highlights the roles of responsible consumption and production patterns as crucial steps toward building a circular economy. Globe is committed to upholding the United Nations Global Compact principles and contributing to 10 UN SDGs.

To know more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph.

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