Holcim Philippines to help in Manila Bay rehab with Circular Explorer


Holcim Philippines, Inc. is lending a hand in the sustainable rehabilitation of the Manila Bay through a vessel that will help collect marine litter, study the pollution, and raise awareness of communities and students on caring for the seas.

The company will receive in first half of 2022 from the Holcim Group the Circular Explorer, a solar-powered catamaran that can recover four tons of plastic wastes from bodies of water for recycling. To be deployed in Manila Bay, the vessel was launched by the Holcim Group in Germany on 21 July 2021 to symbolize its commitment to driving the circular economy and preserving nature.

The Holcim Group is a world leader in building solutions and recycling. It is reusing 50 million tons of resources across its business and set to double recycling volumes by 2030. The Circular Explorer is part of the Holcim Group’s stronger focus on sustainability and innovation, which includes the launch of the world’s first green cement made with 20% recycled demolition and construction wastes. The Circular Explorer will be operated by environmental organization One Earth One Ocean and supported by Holcim Philippines.

HPI and MERF officials strike a pose after signing a partnership to advance marine science and identify solutions for the plastics polluting waters. From left are Holcim Philippines ACM & Infrastructure Performance and Business Development Christine Bellen, Geocycle Project Manager Allan Cuyno, Holcim Vice President of Communications Cara Ramirez, MERF President Vanessa Rodriguez, MERF Vice President and Treasurer Charissa Ferrera, Vice President of Geoycle Albert Leoveras, and Holcim Stakeholder Relations Manager Joneil Ano.

To further strengthen this initiative, the company signed a partnership with the Marine Environment and Resource Foundation, Inc. (MERF) at the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) on 29 July 2021 to develop innovative solutions against plastic pollution and advancing research on this field.

MERF and Holcim also agreed to develop capacity building materials to communicate the effect of marine plastic pollution and opportunities to change behavior.

Jan Jenisch, Holcim Group CEO: “Everyone has a role in preserving our oceans. We are proud supporters of the Circular Explorer to be part of the solution. I am inspired to see how young changemakers can act as catalysts to solve some of our world’s greatest challenges. The Circular Explorer’s education and science programs are designed to mobilize them to take action.”

Horia Adrian, President and CEO of Holcim Philippines: “We are excited to help restore the Manila Bay through the Circular Explorer. Its focus on science and education will greatly complement ongoing clean up efforts. Through the Circular Explorer, we will further advance circular economy or the preservation of natural resources by reusing materials as much as possible and have a more positive impact in building progress in the Philippines. Finally, this is a flagship initiative of the Holcim Group to advance sustainability and innovation. We are greatly motivated to drive its success here in the Philippines.”

Dr. Maria Vanessa B. Rodriguez, President of MERF: “We at the Marine Environment and Resources Foundation, Inc. as well as UP Marine Science Institute are thankful for the partnership with Holcim Philippines. This a good project that can help come up with baseline studies on the impact of macro- and microplastics to the environment especially now that this is a big problem in the Philippines. This initiative can also help us better understand the other challenges to the marine environment, map our resources, and promote conservation through education.”

Holcim Philippines is leading circularity in the country in its operations through waste management unit Geocyle, which converts qualified wastes as alternative fuel in manufacturing cement through the co-processing technology. In 2020 alone, Geocycle co-processed 130,000 tons of qualified waste materials, preventing these from ending in landfills and seas. Replacing traditional fuels with recycled materials also helps Holcim Philippines reduce its carbon footprint and conserve natural resources.