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Aboitiz ABC Summit unites all fronts in advancing business and communities

AE Team with Franz de la Fuente| September 24, 2018

The Aboitiz ABC Summit 2018, held last September 17 – 18, combined the Group’s annual CSR, Sustainability, and Reputation forums into a two-day event where top leaders of the organization, led by President and CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz, shared how its innovations and integration strategies are advancing business and communities across the country.

AboitizPower does so by providing reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price with the least adverse effects on the environment and host communities. For UnionBank, it’s by elevating lives and fulfilling dreams through smart banking. Pilmico is taking on the SDGs by providing solutions and building partnerships for growth. Republic Cement sees its role in being the trusted solutions partner for building a greener, stronger republic. Lastly, for AboitizLand, it is in helping people live better lives by building deliberately designed residential, commercial, and industrial communities.

“Sustainability is the singular thread that weaves through the fabric of our company’s history, which shows our constant pursuit of opportunities. We are always on the lookout for opportunities that not only help accelerate our country’s economic growth per se but, more importantly, become catalysts of positive change through our products and services,” Erramon I. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President & Chief Executive Officer, told the participants as he opened the Summit held in Bonifacio Global City.

In addition to Aboitiz leaders, business, government, and non-government organization representatives from Ayala, Facebook, United Nations, the Department of Trade and Industry’s Board of Investments also shared success stories of how they contribute in driving change for a better world.

It also ushered in the Aboitiz Foundation’s 30th anniversary with the launch of KINDer, its new crowdfunding platform, and the new Weather Solutions mobile app that promotes weather knowledge through weather data and is free to download on both Google Play and the App Store.

 

Below is EIA’s full opening speech:

 

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

Welcome to the Aboitiz Advancing Business and Communities Summit, or the ABC Summit for short. Today’s historic event merges our annual Reputation, Sustainability, and CSR Forums to create a more expanded platform for discussion surrounding our group purpose and brand promise, ‘To drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities.’

This summit provides a venue where we can share with our partners and stakeholders how the Aboitiz Group is championing sustainability not only through our CSR programs but more importantly through our businesses. Over the next two days, we invite you to participate in meaningful conversations and interactive activities that will allow us to understand and appreciate how we can truly make sustainability very much alive in everything that we do.

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Analyst reports indicate that the Philippines is on the right track to benefit from the continued growth of the global economy and that we have much to contribute in return. However, the widening gap in income inequality — something that has been happening in over half of the world for 30 years now — is an even more compelling part of our reality. This underscores the role of business in ensuring that any degree of human-centric economic progress should bring about sustainable and equitable welfare for a country’s population.

That said, the Aboitiz Group, just like the other private sectors have a vital role to play. We have always believed that we can do well by doing good, always making the right long-term decisions that balance the interests of people, planet, and profit. This is our sustainability mindset wherein we view sustainability not as a cost of doing business but as a way of doing business; it is an integral part of our business strategy.

Our Groupwide Sustainability Policy allows us to embed our triple bottomline agenda into our operations and business goals. It sets the tone of our Sustainability Framework through which we have identified key focus areas where we can create the most positive impact on our stakeholders.

Simply put, we agree that financial gains should translate into meaningful benefits for society, creating shared value in the long run. Sustainability is the singular thread that weaves through the fabric of our company’s history, which shows our constant pursuit of opportunities. We are always on the lookout for opportunities that not only help accelerate our country’s economic growth per se but, more importantly, become catalysts of positive change through our products and services.

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Since the time of our forefathers, we have always found ourselves leading, influencing, and driving change for the betterment of our stakeholders which include not only our shareholders but also our team members, our fellow Filipinos, our communities, and our nation.

Starting in the early 20th century, we connected islands and facilitated trade through our shipping business until we decided it was the right time to leave the industry in 2010.

We ventured to provide small-salaried employees with access to affordable bank loans that have made it possible for generations of children to pursue formal education.

We supported the development of pioneering frontiers like Davao and Cotabato and connected far-flung communities through electrification.

We were the first to explore and harness clean energy through our run-of-river plants, and have since expanded our renewable energy portfolio. We energized the nation with a balanced mix of energy sources to power economic progress.

True to our sustainability mindset, we match our business expansion with investments in our communities and social infrastructure. Over the past 10 years, we have allocated P4.2 billion for CSR related activities. Through our investments and operating activities, our businesses have funneled back to society in the form of taxes, royalties, payments to the government and suppliers, and benefits for our host communities.

We are especially proud of our team members, all 31,000-strong, who are dedicated to serving the needs of our over 8 million customers. Our team members consistently break their own volunteer-hour records, 72,000 in 2017 alone, as they share their time and talent to support various corporate social responsibility programs nationwide.

Perhaps the best-kept secret, we are among the largest renewable energy producers with a capacity of 1,400 MW, giving electricity distributors and end users the power of choice and an option to opt for renewable energy; this is our contribution to the national government’s renewable energy program. We also partner with the DENR and have invested P500 million to its National Greening Program through our A-Park initiative. We are confident of achieving our target to plant 9 million trees across the country by 2020. Over the past 10 years, we have planted close to 6 million trees over 5,600 hectares.

These are just some of the initiatives where we have introduced change for a better world while conducting our business with the highest regard for society’s best interest and trust. While we did not formally articulate this in the past, our journey has consistently been characterized by a desire to bring about positive change for all our stakeholders. This gives us purpose in everything we do.

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Our purpose is our WHY: why we do what we do and what greater good it serves. Ultimately, it gives us the determination to take advantage of our strengths and our leadership position to fulfill our mission to create long-term value for all our stakeholders, guided by our core values of integrity, teamwork, innovation, and responsibility.

Along with our ‘why’, we also ask “how can we make a difference every day by living that inspired purpose and making it real?” HOW we will drive change for a better world is by advancing business and communities, our ABCs, and this is through the various products and services of the Aboitiz Group.

This morning, we have invited top executives from our five strategic business units to share with us their respective business cases of our ABCs in action.

Manny Rubio of Aboitiz Power will share how the business is not only providing reliable and ample power supply but is also driving down the cost of power for our customers and is doing so with the least possible adverse effects on our environment and host communities. Specifically, he will talk about our balanced mix strategy where our portfolio of baseload and renewable energy power plants address the energy trilemma. This strategy ensures that we fulfill our vital role in the country’s long-term development.

In Banking and Financial Services, we believe smart banking and digital solutions will elevate lives and fulfill dreams through financial inclusion in the communities we serve. Henry Aguda will talk about how UnionBank is using digital channels to reach unbanked communities especially in far-flung areas of the country.

Through our Food business, we cultivate relationships with our partners to ensure the sustainability of the food chain. Tristan Aboitiz will walk you through Pilmico’s inclusive and solutions-based program designed to empower their farmer partners.

For Infrastructure, we play a key role in nation building by investing in infrastructure-related projects that will help drive economic progress and improve the quality of life of our fellow Filipinos. Nabil Francis from Republic Cement will talk about how they are working on the building blocks of a strong ‘Republic’ by fostering the ‘Culture of Safety and Culture of Care’. It is a culture that extends from their facilities to their communities.

Finally, Rafa Fernandez de Mesa will share how AboitizLand is helping people live better lives by building deliberately designed residential, commercial, and industrial communities. The company’s purposive skills training program generates jobs in areas where it builds projects.

We consider it a great honor to be recognized as among the country’s biggest givers in the area of CSR and corporate citizenship. This, we attribute to the legacy of giving back that our forefathers led by Don Ramon have ingrained in our organization.

Today, the Aboitiz Foundation, as our corporate social arm, is advancing business and communities by co-creating safe, empowered, and sustainable communities. We have also aligned our CSR program goals with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We aim to contribute to global efforts to address issues on education, poverty reduction, climate change, responsible consumption, disaster risk preparation, and multi-sectoral partnerships.

To achieve inclusive and holistic education, we provide technical, vocational and tertiary education, as well as financial assistance and scholarships. We co-create a better learning environment by building safe and conducive learning facilities. We also drive the professional development of teachers and promote proper nutrition among students.

Through our enterprise development programs, we generate jobs by building capacity and capability to empower people. We assist them to secure employment and potentially start their own livelihood.

For the environment, we implement projects that preserve, conserve, and protect our planet’s resources. We also help raise awareness on disaster resilience, responsible consumption, and waste management.

Through WeatherPhilippines, we are building a #WeatherWiser nation. We help Filipinos become proactive in disaster preparedness by providing them with free and localized weather information. We continue to engage our public and private sector partners on the benefits of useful, practical, and reliable weather knowledge. Our initiatives complement the government’s nationwide efforts on disaster risk reduction.

In all of our CSR programs, we seek to innovate and develop projects that address both community and business needs. We are once again blazing the trail with the launch in 2017 of Weather Solutions, the first-of-its-kind social enterprise in the country. We envision this service will bridge the weather information gap and empower firms and people alike towards maximizing gains and minimizing risks because of the better data. We will form value-creating partnerships in diverse industries, using weather knowledge to boost the capability of businesses in tackling emerging demands of the markets they serve.

We envision will bridge the weather information gap and empower firms and people alike towards maximizing gains and minimizing risks. We will form value-creating partnerships in diverse industries, using weather knowledge to boost businesses’ capability in tackling the emerging demands of the markets they serve.

We invite all of you to join us later for the launch of our digital platform for Weather Solutions. Entering this space gives us another avenue to create a deeper and more meaningful impact on our communities, given the larger need for weather preparedness and disaster resilience.

While we are proud of what we have accomplished so far, we know there is still so much to be done. We will purposely move forward on our sustainability journey.

In closing, let me thank all of you, our honored guests and fellow team members in Aboitiz, for joining us in this summit. I urge you to think of ABC as the continuation of a value-creation journey, which we know we cannot attain on our own. Our engagements with our partners and stakeholders in the public and private sectors help us become an organization driven by purpose, committed to our brand promise – our WHY and our HOW.

Our more-than-a-century experience tells us that we succeed only when we work together with kindred and like-minded partners whose values and purpose are aligned with ours. We are committed to building a truly sustainable enterprise that unites various stakeholders to bring long-lasting positive change that will benefit both present and future generations.

Again, thank you and let us look forward to a meaningful and productive summit.

 

For more of our coverage on the Aboitiz ABC Summit 2018, click the following links:

Aboitiz top leaders on how their SBUs approach ‘ABC’

ABC Summit: Private sector panel on championing sustainability

Aboitiz Foundation launches into cause-oriented digital space

ABC Champions innovate and integrate through ‘playshops’