Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala stressed during the group’s first virtual Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management, and Sustainability Summit that climate change is the “biggest and probably the most important threat to humanity.”
Now more than ever, he said, everyone must play a role in building resilience and mitigating risks as more devastating calamities arise in the future. “We have to start thinking creatively about how to prepare ourselves for potential climate change risks. I think we should be contributors of resilience and help minimize the contributions we make in worsening the situation,” Zobel noted.
In recent weeks, Ayala is among the first and most active private business groups to deliver much-needed relief to provinces torn and submerged by a series of typhoons. The group marshalled support to Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes for victims of Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni). Currently, the group and partners are conducting relief operations in Cagayan, Isabela, Greater Manila Area including Marikina and Baseco Compound in Manila as well as other areas affected by Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco).
However, relief distribution is only a short-term response. Zobel said the country needs to embrace a proactive rather than a reactive approach to climate change. To address various environmental and social issues, the group created the Ayala Sustainability Blueprint (https://ayala.com.ph/sustainability/), where a specific objective aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is assigned to each business unit. Sustainability units within the Ayala group also conduct various initiatives to increase people’s climate change awareness through information campaigns and interactive programs. Here are some of the group’s accomplishments in relation with the UN SDGs:
SDG 13 (Climate Action): Project Kasibulan, Ayala Corporation’s main reforestation effort, has planted 6,929 seedlings and engaged 297 volunteers from across the group. GCash also rolled out a feature called GForest, where users can earn points using the platform, which they can eventually convert into a physical tree donation that will be planted in Manila’s critical watershed.
SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy): AC Energy has 1,300MW of renewable energy capacity and is at 26% of its 5GW target.
SDG 9 (Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure): AC Infrastructure’s rail business reached a 10% reduction in its energy and fuel consumption and 50% reduction on paper, non-hazardous, and hazardous wastes per year.
SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities): Ayala Land has made a commitment to be carbon neutral in the next few years, and they are adopting new technologies and techniques to minimize carbon emissions.
SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation): Manila Water continues to increase access to clean, safe, affordable water as it expands to Calasiao, Obando, Bulacan, and Tagum. It also rolls out stateof-the-art technologies to ensure that wastewater can be properly treated and reused in estates and commercial establishments.
Award-winning, Sustainable Businesses
At the closing of trading hours at New York Stock Exchange last Friday, Ayala Corporation was hailed as an index component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for its outstanding corporate sustainability performance. Ayala Corporation is the first Philippine conglomerate to be included in the DJSI Emerging Market Index. Ayala Land is also the only real-estate company from the Philippines that made it to the index under the real estate category.
Earlier this year, Ayala Corporation has been reconfirmed – for the fourth time – as a constituent of the FTSE4Good Index series. Ayala Land and Globe Telecom were also included in the Index series for the fifth and fourth time, respectively. This year, too, Institutional Shareholder Services granted Ayala Corporation the “Prime” badge for its ESG performance and initiatives. With a a decile rank of 2 under the Financials/Multi-Sector Holdings, Ayala Corporation landed at the industry’s top 20%.
Meanwhile, CDP, a not-for-profit organization that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts, hailed Ayala Corporation as among companies with most improved performance in Hong Kong, Macau, and Southeast Asia. The Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability (ACES) awards also recognized Ayala Corporation as one of the Top Sustainability Advocates in Asia. In 2016, ACES hailed Ayala Corporation as one of the Top CSR Advocates in Asia.
“Ayala Corporation believes that long term value is created when you focus on sustainable businesses that benefit all stakeholders,” said Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer TG Limcaoco. “We are thankful for the substantial recognition we have received from local and international rating agencies. We will continue our commitment to pivoting our businesses towards a more resilient future for Filipinos.”
As climate change triggers stronger calamities, the Ayala Group of Companies helps in various rescue and relief operations in the hardest-hit communities affected by recent typhoons across the country. Ayala chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said, “We have to start thinking creatively about how to prepare ourselves for potential climate change risks. I think we should be contributors of resilience and help minimize the contributions we make in worsening the situation.” The Ayala Sustainability Blueprint seals its commitment to pivot its businesses to build a more resilient future for Filipinos.