Sustainable growth strategies urged

August 12, 2019

The country’s business leaders have urged companies, including the small and medium enterprises, to infuse sustainability initiatives in their growth strategies to significantly help mitigate risks and ensure the long-term viability of their businesses.

In a press briefing on the sidelines of the Ayala Group Integrated Summit 2019, Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and chief executive officer of Ayala Corp., said the conglomerate has a “whole ecosystem” of SMEs which can undertake sustainability initiatives.

Zobel de Ayala said the group has designed a long-term sustainability blueprint that lays out actionable and measurable targets that address critical environment, social and governance gaps that the country faces today.

“It's more of a direction in which we would like to deploy our capital and whether we are contributing in a significant way to the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). So the capex (capital expenditure) remains the same, but they will hopefully be allocated in ways that will be more aligned with the SDGs. It's more of a framework which we would like to contribute to broader goals,” he added.

Ayala Corp. chief finance officer Jose Teodoro Limcaoco said: “We build this strategy around that where you are addressing inequality, where you are addressing problems of the environment, then you build a business that is sustainable and profitable.”

Ayala has launched its Sustainability Blueprint, a group-wide plan that allows its companies to champion and operationalize specific United Nations SDGs.

The blueprint aims to help Ayala address major challenges and societal gaps affecting Filipinos today and contribute to focus areas: access and inclusivity and productivity and competitiveness for more Filipinos, and responsible growth and innovation for its businesses.

Peter Bakker, president and CEO of World Business Council for Sustainable Development based in Switzerland, stressed the need for companies to manage their whole supply chain towards sustainability.

Bakker said improving human capital can benefit the SMEs, the major providers of employment in the country.