BAGUIO CITY – Augusto Zobel de Ayala, shared the journey of Ayala on sustainability in an informal chat with an exclusive group of CEOs and high-level executives held recently at the Shangri-la Hotel at the Fort. The CEO SDG Circle Forum is one of the major initiatives of the Global Compact Network Philippines (GCNP) this year.
The GCNP is the local entity of the United Nations Global Compact, a voluntary initiative whose primary goal is to inspire and promote collaboration primarily among business corporations by encouraging the alignment of strategies and operations with ten universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals through the SDG goals and develop a sustainable community. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 organizations, based in over 160 countries and more than 70 Local Networks, it is spreading the word that companies everywhere of all sizes and from all sectors can play a role in improving the world.
In the Forum, Zobel de Ayala shared that he started with 15 to 20 percent of his time in the late 80’s to the non-profit sector. “I tried in my own way to start making a difference in no business issues, issues that perhaps help the country in a broad way. I lead a number of initiatives such as chaired Children’s Hour initiative, and brought a consortium with the help of Ayala Foundation and brought computers in public schools….”
“My thinking continued to evolve: using the concept of shared value from Harvard School… about beginning to align the goals of the company with the development goals of the country.” Zobel de Ayala continued to explain that he started to transform Ayala about 15 years ago and made it more relevant to the needs of the country, by developing products and services which also touch low income groups. He highlighted the importance of promoting the spirit of bayanihan and of aligning the goals of the corporation with the national development goals of the country because it makes the organization more relevant.
On the SDG, Zobel de Ayala said that “The SDG.….. is an extraordinary framework. It’s clear. People are aligning to it globally. It’s United Nations-driven.” He felt that most companies are judged by Profit and Loss statements but it was equally important to look at how companies can contribute to issues like employment or health and be able to put a framework around it. He felt that it is time for private corporations to be recognized for such efforts.
Jose Teodoro “TG” Limcaoco, Chief Finance Officer, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Sustainability Officer and Managing Director of Ayala Corporation also joined the discussion and explained why SMEs can follow the sustainable path. With SMEs contributing to 99% of the employment of the country, Limcaoco explained that SME need only to take one or two SDGs that are relevant to its business to start with. It is more important to find out what would work well for the business so that it can also help grow the business and the community it operates in.
Limcaoco also mentioned that sustainability can equal to profitability. This has been proven by the way Ayala has established its operations around sustainability. “It is about building business models around sustainability,” said Limcaoco. For more information on the GCNP, please visit https://globalcompactnetworkphilippines.org or contact the GCNP Secretariat at 634-5722 and through email address firstname.lastname@example.org.
Banner photo: Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala is the guest speaker at the CEO SDG Circle Forum. Ayala Corporation photo