By James A. Loyola
Small and medium enterprises’ (SMEs’) disaster resilience is the key to a sustainable value chain and in attaining business continuity.
The SM Group, as a staunch supporter of MSME growth, noted that this sector forms the lifeblood of the Philippine economy through the stimulation of economic activity.
“Empowering supply chains is particularly close to our hearts because SM’s roots were borne from our father’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Hans T. Sy, SM Prime Holdings Inc. Chairman of the Executive Committee and SM Investments Corporation Adviser at the United Nations Global Compact- Global Reporting Initiative regional sustainability summit.
He added that, “it is because of this that we understand the journey and challenges faced by small and medium enterprises. We want to help them not only by providing a strong market but by building their resilience to overcome their risks and maximize their opportunities.”
Sy is a strong advocate of disaster resilience and is the first Filipino representative to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.
SM Prime is taking a step further by helping SMEs bounce back immediately after a disaster. It built an SM Reliance Center (Center) in SM Clark, Pampanga to serve as the data storage and capacity building facilities for SME partners. The Center also serves as the information and communications for SM.
The firm has also provided free storage data to serve as the repository for documents essential to early recovery and business continuity. To date, there are over 1,500 SMEs which have availed of this service.
SM Prime has partnered with the National Resilience Council, APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Global Education and Training Institute, Department of Trade and Industry, among other disaster risk reduction organizations to provide capacity building and technical assistance on the Center’s operations.
“Supporting our SME partners focus their efforts from managing disasters to managing risks is a critical step toward an enduring partnership in resilience,” Sy said.
SM works with nearly 25,000 small and medium enterprises, both directly and indirectly, representing 27 percent of total SMEs in the Philippines today. These are SM’s mall tenants, traders and suppliers mainly in retail.
SM has integrated three platforms in terms of its operations and sustainability to include investing 10 percent of its capital expenditure on disaster resilient features depending on a mall’s existing hazards; capacity building and collaboration and public-private partnerships at the global, regional and national levels.
“Through these efforts, we seal our commitment in creating a more equitable and progressive environment for business partnerships for generations to come,” Sy said.
For many years, SM and Sy have been leading disaster risk reduction efforts for the private sector in the Philippines in partnership with various organizations and government agencies.