Zobel says infusing sustainability in growth strategies mitigates risks; heightened governance is a must
Makati City, Philippines – August 9, 2019 In a milestone event, Ayala Corporation (Ayala) held its first Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Sustainability Summit to deliberately push the connection of these three disciplines in driving business growth responsibly. Ayala believes that ingraining sustainability in growth strategies significantly helps mitigate risks, which leads to heightened governance procedures and better disclosures. This is a strategic imperative at the Ayala group.
“We believe that by integrating Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Sustainability, we will fortify the group’s capacity to function as a more efficient and relevant partner in nation building. To us, sustainability is key to bridging persistent societal gaps that have disenfranchised generations of Filipinos,” said Ayala Chairman & CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala. In 2017, Zobel was chosen as a UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) Pioneer for Sustainable Business Strategy and Operations, a first in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Following its Board of Directors’ call for the company to align businesses to the UN SDGs, Ayala launched its Sustainability Blueprint, a group-wide plan that allows its companies to champion and operationalize specific UN SDGs. It aims to help Ayala address major challenges and societal gaps affecting Filipinos today and contribute tangibly to three focus areas. These are Access & Inclusivity and Productivity & Competitiveness for more Filipinos, and Responsible Growth & Innovation for its businesses. The Blueprint’s goal is to bridge the Filipino to 2030, where Ayala envisions the Filipino as a global citizen with firm roots in a country that is safe, secure, sustainable, inclusive, and progressive.
For example, in healthcare, research indicated that 43% of low to middle-income Filipinos have not been to a doctor in more than a year, with 6 out of 10 Filipinos dying without ever seeing a doctor. Because Ayala believes that all Filipinos deserve to live a healthier lifestyle, AC Health is building an integrated ecosystem of accessible, affordable, quality healthcare. It aims to serve one in every five Filipinos by 2030, through FamilyDOC, its community-based primary healthcare clinics, Generika, its retail pharmacy, and various health tech investments.
In the finance sector, about two-thirds of Filipinos are unbanked and thus, vulnerable to the risks connected to unauthorized lenders. Ayala believes that all Filipinos must have alternative means to access the financial system. Through BPI’s BanKo, unbanked Filipinos have access to loan products to start their SMEs. Furthermore, Globe’s Mynt, offers alternative credit scoring models and simplified access to microloans through its mobile platform.
In education, 65% of Filipino graduates are deemed unemployable from the lack of industry-related skills, while 15% of the global workforce are projected to switch jobs by 2030 to meet new demands. Addressing education and employment, Ayala through its partnership with the Yuchengco Group, aims to provide an innovative learning experience to equip students with industry-related skills, help improve graduates’ employment prospects, reduce the dropout rate, and strengthen the quality of educators.
“In my view, we need a deliberate and strong alignment with sustainability principles and adopt clear and consistent long-term thinking. Complemented by effective execution and meaningful impact in critical sectors… Embracing the SDGs as guiding principles to doing business is a winning proposition for both the company and its stakeholders. It goes beyond improving a company’s brand; actual economic value is generated, and companies help the country by addressing underserved needs through inclusive business models, products and services,” concluded Ayala President & COO Fernando Zobel de Ayala.
To accelerate growth of sustainable businesses, Ayala continues to partner with like-minded institutions like the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), where it became the first Philippine member in June 2019, and the United Nations Global Compact Network Philippines, of which it was a founding member in 2017.
To learn more about the Summit and its full roster of global speakers, click here.