BACOLOD CITY – Negros Occidental-based sugar producer Victorias Milling Company (VMC) has reported growth amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis with the implementation of sustainability programs that increased performance levels in its various business segments.
VMC chairman Wilson Young said in a statement on Friday that there has never been a more challenging period for the firm than during the pandemic.
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“Keeping the business running as we face health and economic risks – and while we put in place our sustainability programs and actions – is definitely one of the highlights of the previous year. For one thing, we have proven that it can be done and that cooperation allowed us to achieve our targets,” Young added.
Turning 102 this year, the sugar firm, which mainly operates in Victorias City in northern Negros, continues to adapt to great changes in doing business amid the worldwide health crisis with measures to keep employees and partners moving forward.
“The crisis is not yet over and the pandemic still looms above us like a dark cloud. But as we have done in the past year, we will continue to push forward this 2021 despite the challenges and I am again looking forward to a new period of cooperation to attain our goals,” Young said, citing VMC’s track record of surmounting all the challenges it has faced since 1919.
VMC president Minnie Chua said one of the programs they have implemented was the VMC Closed-Loop Production System, an integrated sugar-based business sustainability model maximizing the use of all input materials with very few waste products.
“Using this business sustainability model, we have seen rapid growth across our areas of business with increased sugar, alcohol, and power production and efficiency of our operations,” she said.
Chua explained that in this set-up, VMC not only produces granulated brown and refined sugar, but also a set of downstream products, including high-quality ethanol from molasses used to make bioethanol fuel and rubbing alcohol.
Wastewater released from sugar production is treated and recycled back to the factory, thereby reducing the reliance on external water sources, while organic by-products are returned to the field for use as fertilizer, she added.
After infusing more than PHP100 million for environmental measures last year, Chua said the VMC will continue to “prioritize investment to improve operational efficiencies and environmental protection”.
During the high demand for disinfectants last year, VMC increased its alcohol production and donated large volumes of rubbing alcohol as well as germicidal bleach to local governments, public institutions, and health facilities in Negros, Panay, and parts of Luzon.
“We are grateful and humbled that our business and financial performance have been encouraging. I thank all departments for stepping up to the plate and the support and openness of our planters,” Chua added. (PNA)