QUEZON CITY, November 21, 2022 – Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the private sector is urged to incorporate sustainability and long-term resilience into their business strategies in order to thrive in the new normal while dealing with the current economic challenges, which includes investing in the welfare of their employees, suppliers, and customers.
“Businesses and organizations must do more than comply. They must create value, not only for their companies but also for the society over the long term. They must not only be sustainable, but aim to be regenerative, so as to not deplete the planet’s continuously declining resources,” said Atty. Pedro Maniego, Jr., senior policy advisor of the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and trustee of the Institute of Corporate Directors, in the second installment of the “Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain” webinar series this year.
“There is no climate transition without a social transition, they are interconnected. Integrating climate change into your strategy is really about future-proofing your business. We cannot delay investing in our own people,” said Maria Victoria Tan, Ayala Corporation risk management and sustainability unit head.
Tan announced that the Ayala group is looking into the living wage, aiming to set an amount above the minimum wage that can lead to satisfying living conditions for their employees. “Being a sustainable company would mean that you are addressing issues quite comprehensively. Putting up a business, which is an ecosystem, is all about creating value for all stakeholders,” she added.
Consumers now prefer to support brands that practice sustainability and whose goals are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, said Maria Luz Javier, vice chairperson of the UN Global Compact Network.
Chuchi Fonacier, deputy governor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, highlighted that tackling environmental concerns is equally important as confronting governance and socio-economic issues. “The social and economic repercussions of the global health crisis have demanded organizations to devote increased attention to governance issues, particularly those concerning disclosure of information, business ethics and reputation, risk management, and internal controls,” she said.
“Strong governance and risk management systems are crucial components to achieving effective sustainable financing and supporting the transition to a green economy. This requires long-term commitment, increased accountability, and coordination between government agencies, the private sector, and the rest of society,” added Fonacier.
Public-private sector partnerships are also important, especially in the implementation of sustainability laws and regulations, according to Atty. Amabelle Asuncion, chief legal officer of Manila Water Company, Inc. “It is not enough that the government regulates and comes up with legislation. You need the buy-in of the private sector because after all, they are the ones who have to make sure that the policies embodied in these laws are actually followed,” she said.
“Even when the bills are still being discussed or deliberated upon, it is important to already get private sector participation. There has to be a balance between what is ideal and what is achievable, and whether there is a transition to getting to the ideal. It is important to find that balance and communicate the immediate and long-term impacts,” Asuncion added.
The third and final webinar in the “Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain” series will be held on November 25, 2022. The session, entitled “Accelerating the Energy Transition and Inclusive Development: Towards a Prosperity Agenda”, will discuss the need to accelerate the country’s energy transition, complemented by strong energy finance.
NOTE TO THE EDITOR
“Pilipinas: Aspire, Rise, Sustain” is a three-part webinar series organized by the Institute of Corporate Directors, with the Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities and The Climate Reality Project Philippines. It is certified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as participation in this webinar meets the recommended best practices for continuing directors’ education prescribed by the commission. The next and final webinars in this year’s iteration will be held on November 25. For more information, visit https://www.icd.ph/webinars-15/pilipinas-aspire-rise-sustain-webinar-series.
The Institute of Corporate Directors, is a non-stock, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the professionalization of Philippine corporate directorship by raising the level of corporate governance policy and practice to world-class standards.
The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities is an international climate and energy policy think tank group based in Quezon City promoting climate resilience and low carbon development.
The Climate Reality Project Philippines is the country chapter of The Climate Reality Project, an organization that aims to catalyze a global solution to the climate crisis by making urgent action a necessity across every sector of society.
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