From upcycling to creating a cycle of social good

Get to know SM Group’s The Tarp Project

The Tarp Project-SM Foundation-NGO Philippines-1A customer at SM Aura purchases an upcycled bag made through the SM Green Finds x Zarah Juan’s collab, “The Tarp Project”. Proceeds from the project will be donated to SM Foundation’s innovation programs in education and health.

The SM Store and Filipino artisanal fashion brand Zarah Juan gave new life to used tarpaulins while supporting various social good causes in the Philippines.

The Tarp Project, launched on Earth Day, April 22, 2024, is a joint endeavor between SM Green Finds and fashion designer Zarah Juan. It supports SM Group's commitment to leveling up its circularity programs with social inclusion.

Weaving communities’ goals together

The Tarp Project-SM Foundation-NGO Philippines-2The bags were cut and cleaned by persons deprived of liberty (PDL) from Quezon City and were assembled by Filipino artisans from Bulacan.

The social good collaboration collects, repurposes, and transforms used tarpaulins from SM Stores into stylish and sustainable bags and pouches, with proceeds donated to SM Foundation's School Building and Health and Medical programs.

For the initial phase, the goal was to collect about 5,000 square meters of used tarpaulins, which will be cleaned and cut by persons deprived of liberty (PDL) in Quezon City, and then assembled by communities in Bulacan into approximately 4,000 reusable bags and 1,400 reusable pouches.

“It looks very simple, pero napaka laki ng puso ng bag na ito,” entreprenuer and designer Zarah Juan said. “The bags first go through the PDLs of Quezon City, which will help in their hope, rehabilitation, and life transformation.” 

“The tarps will then be transformed by our partner Filipino artisans in Bulacan. This collaboration will provide them with additional livelihood opportunities, and since these are upcycled bags, we will help reduce waste going into landfills. By buying this, mayroon ka ng magandang bag, marami ka pang natulungan,” she added, saying that customers’ purchases go a long way.

From circular economy to ripples of social good

The Tarp Project-SM Foundation-NGO Philippines-3Through the collaboration of SM Green Finds and Zarah Juan, discarded tarpaulins from SM Store are being transformed into stylish bags by PDLs and local artisans. The project not only diverts waste from landfills but also empowers various communities through livelihood opportunities. The Tarp Project further creates ripples of social good through the program’s beneficiary, the SM Foundation Inc.

SM Foundation Executive Director for Education programs Carmen Linda Atayde also shared that proceeds from The Tarp Project sales will contribute to supporting SMFI’s initiatives. This includes the installation of smart classroom boards and the implementation of rainwater catchment systems in partner community health centers as part of their health and medical program. 

“This project is truly commendable as it not only supports local artisans but also serves a greater purpose. By purchasing these bags, we not only provide livelihood opportunities but also contribute directly to SMFI's school building program, benefiting countless school children, as well as supporting SMFI's health and medical programs, aiding patients and health workers alike. It's a powerful example of how supporting initiatives like this can create a ripple effect of social good,” she said. 

SM Store has long championed sustainable living through its SM Green Finds program, a green retail initiative implemented across more than 70 branches nationwide alongside other SM retail affiliates.

Looking to further expand this green effort, the company sought a circularity program that would create an opportunity to convert waste into something more useful, while also supporting communities and creating a cycle of social impact.