Environmental, social and corporate governance or ESG is becoming a major influence on the way Philippine conglomerates and core subsidiaries operate, enabling them to rise above challenges and address the needs of their stakeholders amid the pandemic.
Many publicly listed firms, including Ayala Corp., SM Investments Corp. and JG Summit Holdings Inc., have committed to adopting ESG standards that support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Ayala Corp, which has investments in property, banking, telecom, power generation and automotive businesses, announced its commitment to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
It also plans to finalize its Net Zero Roadmap by end of 2023. This encompasses full accounting and validation of emissions, intervention assessments and setting science-referenced targets for each business unit.
AC is bringing new technologies to expand access to sustainable energy and mobility. It is also adopting a mindset of stewardship and a guiding principle of creating shared value that will pave the way towards long-term resilience, sustainability and equality.
The conglomerate’s power generation arm ACEN Corp. targets to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This will involve the early retirement of its remaining coal plant by 2040 and transitioning the company’s generation portfolio to 100-percent renewable energy by 2025.
Ayala Land Inc. made bolder commitments of reducing and removing 100 percent of controllable emissions within the group by 2030 and reaching net zero emissions by 2050.
Automotive unit AC Motors announced plans of selling electric vehicle Kia EV6 this year, while ALI started operating EV charging stations across malls, offices and estates.
SM Investments Corp., one the biggest conglomerates in the country, is focusing its initiatives on incorporating sustainability and resiliency strategies across its various projects.
It allocated 10 percent of its capital expenditure into incorporating disaster resiliency and sustainability in its infrastructure designs, disaster preparedness of communities and forwarding disaster resiliency advocacy among local governments and international communities.
SM Prime Holdings Inc., the conglomerate’s property and mall developer, plans to increase the renewable energy utilization of its property portfolio to 50 percent.
JG Summit’s programs
Another major conglomerate that is accelerating its sustainability approach to emerge as a stronger business post-pandemic is JG Summit Holdings Inc., which has substantial interests in food manufacturing and agro-industrial and commodities, real estate and hotels, air transportation, banking and petrochemicals.
JG Summit said its sustainability agenda is ingrained in its five-year business strategy as it aims to accelerate and transform its operations in the new normal.
The group is expanding its low-carbon operations and strengthening its climate-related risk management across core businesses.
Its malls and manufacturing facilities, both here are abroad, have switched to greener energy sources to help cut down greenhouse gas emissions.
Robinsons Land installed rooftop solar panels in 24 Robinsons Malls, which are capable of generating 30.79 megawatts in total, while Universal Robina Corp.’s plants in Laguna and Thailand have rooftop solar panels with a combined capacity of 7 megawatts, generating 3,490.83 megawatts-hour of renewable energy.
Cebu Pacific, its airline unit, is modernizing its fleet and improving fuel use by refleeting with Airbus A330neo aircraft, which consumes 25 percent less fuel than the previous generation aircraft.
Despite the disruptions caused by the pandemic, JG Summit said it continues to seek opportunities to keep its sustainability journey on the right track.