Weaving ABC Into Our Growth Story
The global economy accelerated by an estimated 3.6 percent in 2017 yet, as the IMF (International Monetary Fund) reports, there is also continued increase in income inequality that is being experienced by over half of all countries worldwide over the past 30 years. The World Economic Forum agrees, saying that rising income and wealth disparity will represent a global risk in the next 10 years. The group made an important summary related to this in their Global Competitiveness Report: The goal of human-centric economic progress is the increase in sustainable and equitable welfare for a country’s population. There is a disconnect that needs to be addressed.
In the Philippines, achieving simultaneous economic growth and social inclusion is central to the government’s efforts towards broad-based prosperity. With the local economy growing at 6.7% in 2017, high expectations remain in creating meaningful and inclusive growth on the back of even better economic prospects this year.
We in the Aboitiz Group have always believed that building up communities and partnering for nation building are basic to ensuring that economic gains translate to sustainable benefits across all levels of society. Last year, we sought to articulate this fundamental part of our identity through our inspired Group Purpose “To drive change for a better world”. It is our WHY: why we do what we do, why something exists, and what greater good it serves. Ultimately, it gives us the determination to take advantage of our leadership position and strengths to fulfill our mission to create long-term value for all our stakeholders, guided by our core values of Integrity, Teamwork, Innovation, and Responsibility.
Throughout our history of being part of the lives of our host communities across the country, we have developed a uniquely broad understanding of various societal needs. This compels us to seek a reasonable return on our investments and ensure we are driving some change for a better world. Every action, every decision must enable us to benefit more than just the shareholders.
As we enter 2018, our outlook remains positive and we remain committed to grow and expand our businesses while keeping within financial and risk parameters. We aim to deliver on our brand promise of advancing business and communities (or ABC) through the various products and services we provide.
Our Power business provides reliable and ample power supply at a reasonable and competitive price with the least possible adverse effects on our environment and host communities. We further increased our generation capacity in 2017 to 2,976MW, on track towards achieving 4,000 MW in net sellable capacity by 2020. We have robust growth initiatives to grow and go offshore in fostering long-term energy security for our country by balancing sustainability, accessibility, and reliability of power.
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. UnionBank, among the industry’s most profitable banks, aims to double market share by 2020 and transform the way banking is done for and by Filipinos. Acquisitions and strategic partnerships also form part of its expansion strategy, highlighted by CitySavings’ venture into rural and microfinance banking. Digital transformation will help the Banking group bringing the right products and channels to the unbanked and underbanked sector. Likewise, PETNET is taking advantage of the digital economy to offer products and reach out to even more areas to meet our fellow Filipinos’ everyday needs.
With our Food business, we cultivate relationships with our partners to ensure the sustainability of the food chain. As an integrated agribusiness and food company, Pilmico is well positioned in the industry’s value chain with our businesses adding value to one another, and, ultimately, to our customers. The company continues to grow and strengthen its core domestic businesses while going international and expanding in the ASEAN region through export and M&A opportunities.
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. With this in mind, we remain interested in participating in the government’s Build, Build, Build program. We also aim to be the top provider of innovative solutions across the entire water value chain through LiMA Water Corporation, Balibago Works System, and Apo Agua. Republic Cement, for its part, provides 25% of the country’s cement requirements and is increasing its production capacity to ensure continued supply of cement for the local construction sector.
In Land, we help people live better lives by building deliberately designed residential, commercial, and industrial communities. Through strategic land development and acquisition, AboitizLand targets to be a national player in the mid-market segment and is set to launch several projects nationwide in 2018.
We have an opportunity to go “from good to great” and it all depends on what we do to narrow the gaps and create the opportunity to raise the level of engagement among us and among our teams.
Throughout our history of being part of the lives of our host communities across the country, we have developed a uniquely broad understanding of various societal needs. This compels us to seek a reasonable return on our investments and ensure we are driving some change for a better world. Every action, every decision must enable us to benefit more than just the shareholders. Moreover, corporate social responsibility is an integral part of our business model in that we match our business expansion with investments in communities and social infrastructure.
For Aboitiz Foundation, advancing business and communities with CSR means co-creating safe, empowered, and sustainable communities through innovative, scalable, and solution-focused programs. There are three main reasons for our CSR advocacy: 1. To build, protect, and enhance the reputation that provides us the social license to operate and mitigates risk; 2. To address our desire to give back to our host communities, truly providing long-term value for our key stakeholders; 3. To motivate and provide our team members opportunity for community engagement.
Strengthening Our Identity
Beginning with its launch at our first Leaders Conference, and all throughout the past year, we have made strides towards identifying how our Group Purpose and ABC brand are innate in each of our five business legs. The third integral element in strengthening our corporate identity is the one that unifies them all, the Aboitiz Way, our unique culture nurtured and strengthened over generations. CEB, a best practice insight and technology company, defines culture as the set of behavioral norms and unwritten rules that shape the organizational environment and how individuals interact and get work done in the environment. The importance of preserving culture cannot be overemphasized, especially because it is the force behind the success of every organization, and ours is no exception.
Our Gallup Engagement Survey last year provided a snapshot of our performance in this area and while the results showed us as “above average” for having involved, committed, and enthusiastic team members, we are quite behind when benchmarking ourselves against the best out there. We have an opportunity to go “from good to great” and it all depends on what we do to narrow the gaps and create the opportunity to raise the level of engagement among us and among our teams.
In 2018, our Purpose, Brand, and Culture will further define our organization. When all three are in synch and complement one another, purpose becomes a powerful springboard that makes us want to aim higher, become better, and outdo ourselves each time. As you read through this Outlook 2018 edition, your SBU heads illustrate how each of our businesses is cultivating their ABC in their operations. Let these serve as examples to encourage you to live with a purpose greater than your own, whether at work or in your personal lives. This is the Aboitiz Way.
Erramon I. Aboitiz
President & CEO
Aboitiz Equity Ventures