There has never been a more challenging period in Victorias Milling Company than during this COVID-19 pandemic.
Thus, adapting to great changes in doing business has been their mantra, as they faced head-on the pandemic with measures that kept their employees and partners moving forward and ready to celebrate their 102nd anniversary.
“It is important to note how VMC was able to surmount all the challenges it has faced since 1919 when it was established. Given this track record, I am confident that our company will continue to thrive as it engages in a global campaign to address the problems that the entire world is facing right now,” VMC Chairman Wilson Young said.
Thus, despite the difficulties brought about by the pandemic, VMC still posted a positive growth and this, Young said, was largely due to the VMC Sustainability Team that was established to effectively implement sustainability programs that increased performance levels in our various business segments.
“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 said.
Among the programs implemented was the VMC Closed-Loop Production System which became the company’s integrated sugarbased business sustainability model that maximizes use of all input materials with very few waste products.
VMC President Minnie Chua said that under this set-up, aside from producing granulated brown and refined sugar, a set of downstream products including high quality ethanol from molasses are used to make bioethanol fuel and rubbing alcohol.
Furthermore, wastewater released from the 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.
“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,” Chua said.
She added that VMC will continue to “prioritize investment to improve operational efficiencies and environmental protection,” Chua added, citing the over P100 million infusion for environmental measures implemented last year.
Among the highlights was increasing productivity in alcohol production and because of the high demand during the pandemic, the company donated huge amounts to local governments, public institutions and health facilities, not just in Negros Island but in Panay as well and parts of Luzon.
To address the pandemic at the workplace, VMC set-up their own quarantine and isolation facilities as well as the Quarantine Tech Bay to allow APORs to spend their quarantine time productively. An isolation room was also established at the distillery, and telemedicine was launched to address COVID-19 preparedness in the workplace.
“In the midst of an economic climate that continues to hammer so many organizations all over the world, we are grateful and humbled that our business and financial performance have been encouraging,” Chua said as she thanked all departments for “stepping up to the plate” and “the support and openness of our planters.”
“Two years after the VMC century, some things change little, but some may have been changed forever,” Chua said. We, however will continue to “adapt to change and work towards a better, safer, and stronger VMC,” she added.
Young on the other hand stressed that “the crisis in 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.”