Forget the fizz. San Miguel’s latest product isn’t a hoppy summer brew.
It’s dirty, overpriced electricity.
Let’s Toast to What’s at Stake
Let’s raise a glass to the Verde Island Passage in the Philippines! Cheers to the “Amazon of the Ocean.”
The strait is home to over 1,700 species of fish, 338 types of corals and 60% of all known shore fish species in the world, making it the most biodiverse marine habitat on Earth and the global “center of the center” for marine shore fish diversity.
But did you know San Miguel Corporation is endangering this ecosystem?
San Miguel is adding more fossil gas power plants.
San Miguel is helping increase the likelihood of oil spills in the region.
Forget the flat fizz San Miguel is serving us. Let’s make San Miguel face the facts, and make sure our colleagues and loved ones know the truth.
5 Essential Facts:
The Mindoro Oil Spill
In February 2023, a tanker carrying 900,000 liters of industrial fuel capsized in the strait. Communities are still reeling from the impacts of the oil spill, with local fisherfolks and coastal communities’ livelihoods yet to return to normal. Though reports have linked San Miguel to the oil spill, the 2.5-billion-US-dollar company has yet to take appropriate responsibility.
Given the extensive damage to lives, livelihoods and the environment, local activists and residents’ protests of San Miguel fossil gas development were not misplaced. The increase in LNG (fossil gas) facilities results in more LNG and oil being shipped, further worsening the likelihood of environmentally destructive oil spills.
Amount of industrial fuel oil in the capsized Reield Marine Services ship. The ship was chartered through a San Miguel subsidiary called SL Harbor Bulk Terminal Corporation.
Symptoms experienced by nearby residents affected by the oil spill.
Communities negatively impacted by the spill.
We can make a difference. In the past, over 12,000 people called on the Philippines government to protect the Verde Island Passage.
Let’s do the same today. We need more voices to call for the protection of the Verde Island Passage and the lives that depend on it. Show San Miguel that their dirty, costly fossil gas projects are not welcome in the VIP. Stand with the people and our paradise by sharing this page.
San Miguel, you taste good. Now do better.
Construction of San Miguel's 1,700-MW gas power plant in Batangas, alongside a new gas terminal, which recently received its first LNG shipment in April 2023 (Photo by Basilio Sepe / CEED)
San Miguel: Drunk on Power
San Miguel Corporation, the conglomerate behind the popular beer brand, is the biggest fossil gas developer in Southeast Asia. Now it has proposed an additional 14.1 gigawatts of power plants, enough to power nearly three New York Cities every year.
This plan includes a 1,700-MW gas power plant in Batangas (one of the five provinces surrounding the Verde Island Passage), which is scheduled to go online by 2024. That’s despite a cease-and-desist order issued by the Philippine Department of Agrarian Reform for the lack of land conversion permit.
San Miguel’s 1,200-MW gas plant, also in Batangas, threatens to drive higher electricity prices for Filipino households. A study has also shown the presence of key pollutants and heavy metals such as chromium, copper, lead, and mercury have reached alarming levels from exposure to industrial activities.
The study also found that gas expansion projects will further disturb the already dwindling coral cover in the area while sea-water intake and discharge from gas plants and terminals may affect the water temperature. This could endanger the survival of fish and coral in the area.
The Taste of
San Miguel’s Dirty Brew
0% ABV with heavy metals like chromium, copper, lead and others, and excess phosphates.
Head to Batangas Bay to taste San Miguel’s new brew: polluted water contaminated with heavy metals from power plants and various heavy industries.
The water quality of the Verde Island Passage, where the water near San Miguel’s power plants and projects are sited, no longer meets the limits specific for propagation and growth of fish and other marine resources.
In addition, the construction of LNG plants near vulnerable coastal areas causes changes in the underwater topography. Changes in sedimentation and currents could kill invaluable coral ecosystems, which have existed in the area for thousands of years.
dirty, costly brew is available throughout
Despite all sustainability commitments, guided by its credo to “make the world better,” San Miguel Corporation is poised to build 14.1-GW gas plants–nearly half of the gas capacity in the country’s pipeline.
Even now, San Miguel’s LNG-powered plants litter the Philippine landscape from Manila to Leyte. Hover over the map to uncover the location and details of San Miguel’s polluting fossil gas-powered plants.
What Others Think
about San Miguel
San Miguel has a greater duty and responsibility to the Philippines, the region and our climate due to being a major player in the Philippines’ gas capacity under development.
“We are in a race against time...”
“More plans for LNG terminals means more shipping vessels passing through the marine corridor. This increases the possibility of a similar situation happening in the future…. We are in a race against time to stop even worse destruction in the lives of local communities and critical marine and coastal life.”
Father Edu Gariguez,
Convenor, Protect Verde Island Passage (Protect VIP) Network:
San Miguel's Dirty Brew Crew
(Hong Kong) Limited
Latham & Watkins
DBS Bank Ltd
Deutsche Bank AG
Mizuho Securities Asia Limited
Deutsche Bank AG, Hong Kong Branch
Bank of America
Standard Chartered Bank
DB Trustees (Hong Kong) Ltd
Bank of China
JPMorgan & Chase
Behind San Miguel Corporation’s gas expansion are international backers with net-zero and sustainability commitments. Together, they made San Miguel’s Dirty Brew an unfortunate reality.
Data from Urgewald shows that San Miguel has received USD$8.401 billion through loans and underwritings from 2020 to 2022. Over 60% of which came from international institutions, including banks that are part of the net-zero banking alliance. SMC also raised USD$410 million through bonds and shares from international investors, including Athene Holding (USD$69 million), BlackRock (USD$61 million), Allianz (USD$45 million), UBS (USD$30 million), Dimensional Fund Advisors (USD$21 million), JPMorganChase (USD$19 million), Vanguard (USD$18 million), Temasek (USD$18 million), Goldman Sachs (USD$15 million) and Pictet (USD$11 million).
See more at Financing a Fossil Future, Banking on Climate Chaos.
Can the Dirty Brew Crew stay true to their word?
It's time for the world's biggest financial institutions to uphold their climate commitments.
Financiers must withdraw and prohibit financing for fossil gas projects that violate human rights, endanger critically important and biologically diverse ecosystems and habitats, and pose grave reputational risks.
Divesting from San Miguel and other fossil fuel businesses is a moral imperative.
The Dirty Brew Crew: San Miguel Corporation’s international financiers through loans and underwritings (2020-2022)
Source: Urgewald, as of September 2023
Distilling Wisdom from DWS
In its Annual General Meeting, DWS, a German asset management company, publicly announced that they had divested from San Miguel Corporation as of April 30, 2023, taking into account San Miguel’s latest environmental, social, and governance data, among other reasons. DWS held USD$5 million in San Miguel bonds.
This sends a strong signal to institutions that investors are wary about their ESG impact.
The San Miguel’s Dirty Brew Crew must reevaluate their investment’s footprint.
A Storm in a Pint Glass
San Miguel’s LNG power investments are a dangerous cocktail of complications, ranging from attempted greenwashing to looming financial uncertainties to health risks to children. This dicey combination shows that San Miguel's dirty and costly investments are hurting both their business and the communities. It's time to pour this dirty brew down the drain.
Contracting debacles and continued financial risks
San Miguel has had to swallow a USD$265 million loss.
The global energy crisis is harming San Miguel’s business. San Miguel suffered a brutal wake up call when it recorded PHP15 billion (USD$264 million) in losses from two power plants, including its LNG plant in Ilijan. San Miguel and Meralco (the Philippines’ largest distribution utility) even filed a petition for a rate hike to make up for the losses, but the Energy Regulatory Commission denied the application. The Court of Appeals eventually nullified the ERC decision–but it has nonetheless caused long term damage to San Miguel’s financial profile.
It may be wiser for San Miguel and its financial backers to invest in renewable energy, which is rising in the Philippines.
There are signs of a movement away from fossil fuels in the Philippines, from both the public and the private sectors.
Solar generation is helping the Philippines save on fossil fuel spending.
The Philippines saved USD$78 million in fossil fuel spending through solar generation in the first half of 2022 even though the country has yet to maximize its solar potential. Solar only accounted for only 1.7% of power generation in the first six months of 2022, but it avoided around PhP 4.5 billion in fossil fuel costs.
Science says if San Miguel doesn’t reduce its fossil fuel projects, it cannot meet its own net-zero promises.
San Miguel has made rosy climate action promises, but the reality shows that its own development plans stand in the way.
San Miguel has a pattern of putting community and the environment last, including risking a river ecosystem, a potential World Heritage Site and communities in Manila Bay.
The Verde Island Passage is uniquely rich in marine biodiversity, but it is endangered by San Miguel’s investments.
The Verde Island Passage has been called the "Center of the Center of Marine Shore Fish Biodiversity," and a “hope spot”. Conservation groups, activists and local government units are pushing for its nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
San Miguel claims it is green–but this is questionable.
During the Annual Shareholders Meeting, the company announced that it has “set an ambitious sustainability goal to become better socially, environmentally, and as a business.” The company outlined its targets, which includes attaining net-zero emissions by 2050 and a fully sustainable and ethical supply chain by 2040.
Experts Weigh in.
See what financial and environmental experts are saying about the Verde Island Passage and LNG's impacts to climate goals, Filipino lives and livelihoods, the local environment, and even consumer wallets.
“SMC is making a name for itself as a fossil fuel-obsessed corporation blind to both climate and environmental imperatives starkly confronted by the Philippines. Its energy directions of promoting coal and now gas are costly not only to our planet and environment but also to the pockets of Filipino consumers. By building our dependence on imported LNG, SMC is cementing our exposure to volatile global gas prices for decades to come.”
Executive Director, Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development
You taste good. Do better.
San Miguel’s massive gas expansion plans are happening against the backdrop of the climate crisis and it is putting the Philippines’ biodiversity, climate goals, and well-being at risk.
This is not a wise path for our planet’s future. In 2021, the International Energy Agency said exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop and no new coal-fired power stations can be built if the world is to stay within safe limits of global heating and meet the goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
It’s time for San Miguel to do better:
It’s time to abandon massive plans for fossil gas and LNG.
San Miguel cannot peddle the “bridge fuel” narrative while proposing the biggest capacity for fossil gas and LNG projects not only in the Philippines but the entire Southeast Asia region. It cannot espouse its core value of malasakit if it will profit off of another fossil fuel that serves as a detour to the country’s energy transition and further aggravates the climate crisis that burdens millions of Filipinos.
The Dirty Brew News
See what reporters, experts and analysts are saying about San Miguel’s dirty brew.
San Miguel’s Latest Brew: Dirty Energy
is a campaign supported by