Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala took the lead in Ayala Corporation’s group-wide effort to adopt a more imaginative approach to building sustainable businesses by creating platforms where social issues are made central to business strategy, guided by the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, of SDGs.
His leadership did not go unnoticed.
The UN Global Compact, a gathering of 800 global UN, business, government and civil society leaders, recognized Ayala Corporation’s sustainability strategy by distinguishing Mr. Zobel as an SDG Pioneer. The first SDG Pioneer from the Philippines, Mr. Zobel is one of ten individuals from around the world recognized for championing sustainability through their own companies and mobilizing the broader business community to take action in pursuit of the 17 UN SDGs.
Hundreds of nominations were received from diverse regions of the world, from which 10 finalists were selected, exemplifying how business can be a force for good in addressing the challenges we face as a global society.
“Each of the 2017 SDG Pioneers is exhibiting how companies and pioneering individuals can be a force for positive change in addressing the issues we all face today,” said Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director. “Mr. Zobel has been impactful in reaching a wider segment of the business market through innovation and diversification. He has been a Pioneer in the inclusion of long-term sustainability in business strategy and operations.”
It was Mr. Zobel’s leadership that drove Ayala to embrace shared value creation, to better integrate the developmental challenges that society faces into Ayala’s strategies and business models. Apart from reinventing its business models to meet the needs of a wider segment of the population, Ayala has entered sectors critical to national development and inclusive progress: power, infrastructure, healthcare, and education.
Sustainability now plays a significant role in the Ayala businesses. Ayala Corporation drove the shift to the integrated reporting framework, which captures in detail the group’s positive impact on society through its contribution to the SDGs. Ayala Corporation is the first company in the Philippines to produce an integrated report. Another milestone is underway, as Ayala moves to include long-term sustainability targets for its businesses—which will form part of the companies’ and management’s key result areas.
“I believe that now, more than ever, a deeper engagement with society is indispensable to the survival and success of private enterprises. From both a practical and moral standpoint, businesses cannot thrive in an environment rife with economic inequity,” said Mr. Zobel. “Ignoring these issues threatens our ability to create long-term value and jeopardizes the sustainability of the enterprise and markets.”
The world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, the UN Global Compact calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals. In the Philippines, over 20 companies and non-business organization have joined the initiative, and the Global Compact Network Philippines has supported their efforts to advance sustainable business practices since 2016.
Mr. Zobel’s recognition as SDG Pioneer reinforces Ayala Corporation’s commitment to shared value creation, enhancing its business strategies and models in a way that addresses the evolving needs of Philippine society.