FERNANDO ZOBEL DE AYALA
AYALA GROUP INTEGRATED SUMMIT 2019 (Corporate Governance, Risk Management, and Sustainability)
August 9, 2019 | New World Makati
Thank you to everyone for joining us in this milestone gathering. It was wonderful to hear from some our speakers and this is probably one of the first summit of its kind. My thanks to TG, Mon, Vickie, and Cathy for leading this effort and always raising the bar for the Ayala group.
I would like to thank our speakers Peter Bakker, Commissioner Amatong, Miho Kurosaki, Ben Ridley, and Dominic Thurbon for their insightful presentations as well as our moderator Jessica Cheam for a productive exchange in the panel session. I think you will all agree that these sessions have provided a deeper sense of global trends in ESG.
Our own ESG framework at the Ayala group is a constant work in progress and these gatherings help us ensure that we are always evolving and relevant to our environment. I learned so much from our speakers today and let me quickly recap some highlights from their sessions. My thanks to Celeste for helping me recap some highlights from their sessions.
In Peter’s session, we took note of the strong correlation between sustainability and financial performance. A board’s responsibility now goes beyond the fiduciary duty and should encompass ESG considerations. The board must now be held accountable for the company’s sustainability performance and not just financial returns. Creating a separate P&L for environmental and social metrics is something we will definitely look into at the Ayala group.
In Commissioner Amatong’s session, a key takeaway for me is that instead of viewing this new rule from the SEC mandating the submission of sustainability reports as one more government report, it should be considered instead as an opportunity for listed companies to communicate our sustainability performance properly. The key learning here is the importance of making sure that we have accurate data available for investors and third-party rating agencies who evaluate us based on our public disclosures. I also want to thank him for the positive words on AC Energy’s issuance of a green bond early this year.
From Miho, I appreciate the overview of the TCFD framework, which I find to be aligned with our own agenda of integrating ESG with our strategic planning and risk management processes.
From Ben and Dominic, we have heard how impact investing has gained traction in recent years, driven by market dynamics such as technological disruption, and customers rewarding sustainable practices. They both highlighted the need to adopt a paradigm shift and view ESG from a strategic perspective—that it should be part and parcel of our overall strategic planning, decision-making, and investment process. As Jaime mentioned earlier, at the Ayala group, we have been pushing the envelope around this new thinking, with the creation of the Ayala Group Sustainability Blueprint, which now entails close monitoring.
The insights we gained today would serve us well as we work towards the achievement of our goals under the sustainability blueprint. I know that there are more sessions this afternoon and I hope that you also find them useful.
The seniority of the participants in this conference today is a clear indication of the seriousness with which we are pursuing ESG. We hope we can count on you to keep raising the standards in our business units.
Our thanks once again to our speakers for your unique insights.