SM Investments Corporation (SM) is taking charge in enjoining business leaders across the ASEAN region to adopt sustainable business practices during the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)-SM ASEAN Sustainability E-Summit 2021 on Oct. 21 and 22.
With the theme “Leaving No One Behind: Private Sector in Solidarity for Sustainable COVID-19 Recovery and Delivering the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals),” the two-day E-Summit will set the sustainability agenda and strategy for 2022 in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is in hopes of mitigating the devastating effects of climate change, thus creating a better and greener future for stakeholders.
To take a more precise look at the lasting impact of operating sustainably, the virtual summit will be divided into four sessions, each focusing on the different pillars that will strengthen communities and help build an ideal future despite unprecedented challenges in business development.
SM Investments Group Sustainability Adviser Mara Sy Coson; Bank of the Philippine Islands Vice President Mariana Beatriz Zobel de Ayala; AGREA Agricultural Systems International Inc. Founder and CEO Cherrie Atilano; Local Alike Founder and CEO Somsak Boonkam; Dynapack Asia Group Managing Director for Shared Services Emmeline Hambali; and FatHopes Energy Founder and Managing Director Vinesh Sinha will lead a panel discussion during the 10 a.m. session on Oct. 21, focusing on how the next generation of business leaders are becoming the driving force for sustainability.
The second session at 1:30 p.m. will discuss how financial markets are driving the demand for more sustainable business practices. The keynote will be Yuki Yasui, Asia Pacific Region Coordination Manager for the UN Environment Programme Finance Initiative with the Philippine panelists led by Chuchi Fonacier, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor; Kelvin Lester Lee, Commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission; and Walter Wassmer, BDO Unibank Inc. Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Institutional Banking Group; Esteemed panelists also include Esther An, City Developments Limited Chief Sustainability Officer; and other key banking and finance leaders.
To shed light on the vital role of businesses in addressing the challenges triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls will lead as keynote speaker on driving purpose driven businesses for the third session; Federico Lopez, Chairman and CEO of First Philippine Holdings Corporation will head the discussions on achieving credible net zero carbon targets; a fireside chat panel follows with Raymond Rufino, CEO for NEO and climate experts in ASEAN for the fourth session on Oct. 22.
“As a leading Philippine conglomerate, SM recognizes the role of business leaders to redesign their business models, operate sustainably and green the future – opening doors for Filipinos amid these times of uncertainty. We are constantly building for good: we have invested heavily on systems and technologies that minimize our carbon footprint, and we encourage like-minded business leaders to support similar commitments,” said Tim Daniels, Consultant for Investor Relations and Sustainability at SM Investments.
Solidarity in sustainable business practices
SM first took the lead in bringing together the leaders of Philippine businesses during the first GRI Sustainability Summit in the country on Oct. 8, 2018, promoting solidarity in sustainable business practices and sustainability reporting. This is the third initiative between SM and GRI.
“SM has been a strategic partner and supporter of GRI since 2018. It is a robust conglomerate that has been part of the Filipino’s lives for many decades and will continue to do so for years to come. This makes SM an effective partner of GRI in promoting the SDGs and sustainability reporting in the Philippines,” said Dr. Allinnettes Adigue, Head of GRI ASEAN Regional Hub.
SM had recognized the unpredictability of the times due to the grave effects of climate change and the widening gap in social and economic opportunities across the globe, calling on Philippine businesses to collaborate, operate sustainably, acknowledge that sustainability has become an integral part of doing business, and consider how they can provide support and access to socioeconomic safety nets.
Even before then, SM has committed to serve as a catalyst for sustainable growth by providing inclusive economic opportunities that help generate jobs, facilitating development, promoting environmental responsibility, and creating positive social impact.