PH companies dominate Asia Sustainability Awards

Published November 12, 2020, 6:00 AM

by Judith Juntilla

In the midst of a pandemic that halted most business activity for months, 21 Filipino companies managed to maintain their sustainability initiatives and win at the recent Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability (ACES) Awards.

In awarding ceremonies held online last 10 November, 21 companies and business leaders from the Philippines bested 420 nominees from all over Asia, making up the most number of winners from a single country.

The winners from the Philippines included Accenture, Global Business Power Corp., Lexmark Research and Development Corp., Royal Cargo, UHS Essential Health Phils., Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Transcom Worldwide (Phils.), Empire East Land Holdings, Flatworld Solutions Phils., Multisys Technologies Corp., Animation Vertigo Asia, Go Virtual Assistants, Ayala Corp., PetroWind Energy, SM Investments Corp., and Imperial Homes Corp. Winning the Eminent Leaders in Asia was Accenture Corp.’s Country Managing Director Manolito T. Tayag.

“The Filipino presence has been something of a given at each ACES,” said Shanggari B., Chief Executive Officer of ACES Awards organizer, MORS Group. “There is something about companies operating in the Philippines which have a predisposition towards a natural affinity for the common good of employees,” she said in a statement.

She added that the jury panel of the ACES Awards has seen many staff-centric activities in the winning Filipino companies, such Industry Champions of the Year winner Lufthansa Technik Philippines, Inc.’s (LTP) Employees Council, a proactive community of employees and management.

“It is initiatives like these which truly make for better workplaces, which is something the ACES [Awards] champions,” she said.

LTP this year was also named one of the Top Workplaces in Asia. “Winning this year is so different because our industry came from record results last year to fighting for survival now,” said LTP President and CEO Elmar Lutter. The company provides base and line maintenance services to commercial aircraft, and previously won Outstanding Leaders in Asia at the 2019 ACES Awards.

“We wanted to show to ourselves that we can continue what we believe in, even in these dark times, said Elmar Lutter of Lufthansa Technik Phils., which won two ACES Awards in 2020.

Nevertheless, Lutter said that the decision was made to enter the competition in the midst of the pandemic.“We wanted to show to ourselves that we are not fair-weather operators; that we can continue what we believe in, even in these dark times when everybody is suffering. That is why it was important for our team,” he said.

Luis Bueno Nieto, jury member and Business Strategic Leader at Groupe Adeo, said that teams are important in getting back on track once the crisis is over. “Financials only help to stay in business, but to move forward, you need human resources,” he said. While ACES Awards looks at both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of a business, recognition goes beyond financial gains and includes human resources as important assets.

Agility also proved to be an important parameter, said Nieto, where this year’s awards put special attention on leaders and how to find new ways of doing things.

“With financial forecasts out of the window, the fiscal year of many companies has shifted from profit to survival mode. This unexpected turn of events proved to be a live demonstration of the agility needed in corporate leadership today, and became a badge of honor,” the organizer said in a statement.

The organizer added that, despite the absence of a rulebook and tried-and-true game plans, winners in the Leadership awards excelled in agility, demonstrating both business acumen and heart when making the difficult decisions for business survival.

The ACES Awards recognizes companies which adhere to responsible, sustainable and resilient business growth, assessed via a thorough evaluation spanning over six months of interviews and due diligence. Winners are named across three categories: leadership in the individual category, leadership for enterprise, and sustainability.

MORS Group, the award’s organizer, itself had to adapt to the new situation, conducting virtual interviews while still following the standards of evaluation it has put in place in the seven years that the ACES Awards have been given out. Shanggari said that companies seem to be slowly moving on from the crisis, saying that next year’s edition of the ACES Awards has already received several nomination entries.

“It proves that corporations understand the need to strengthen their position in order to be at their best when business returns as usual,” she said.