Despite the huge impact of the ongoing pandemic, the Ayala group of companies is not taking its eyes off the threat of climate change and remains committed ensure that its businesses will weather this coming crisis.
Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala stressed during the group’s first virtual Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management, and Sustainability Summit that climate change is the “biggest and probably the most important threat to humanity.”
“Now, more than ever, everyone must play a role in building resilience and mitigating risks as more devastating calamities arise in the future. We have to start thinking creatively about how to prepare ourselves for potential climate change risks. I think we should be contributors of resilience and help minimize the contributions we make in worsening the situation,” Zobel noted.
In recent weeks, Ayala is among the first and most active private business groups to deliver much-needed relief to provinces torn and submerged by a series of typhoons.
The group marshalled support to Batangas, Rizal, Quezon Province, Oriental Mindoro, Albay, Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, and Catanduanes for victims of Typhoon Rolly (international name Goni).
Currently, the group and partners are conducting relief operations in Cagayan, Isabela, Greater Manila Area including Marikina and Baseco Compound in Manila as well as other areas affected by Typhoon Ulysses (international name Vamco).
However, relief distribution is only a short-term response. Zobel said the country needs to embrace a proactive rather than a reactive approach to climate change.
To address various environmental and social issues, the group created the Ayala Sustainability Blueprint where a specific objective aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is assigned to each business unit.
Sustainability units within the Ayala group also conduct various initiatives to increase people’s climate change awareness through information campaigns and interactive programs.
These include Ayala Corporation’s main reforestation effort which has planted 6,929 seedlings, AC Energy has 1,300MW of renewable energy capacity and is at 26 percent of its 5GW target, while AC Infrastructure’s rail business reached a 10 percent reduction in its energy and fuel consumption and 50 percent reduction on paper, non-hazardous, and hazardous wastes per year.
Ayala Land has made a commitment to be carbon neutral in the next few years while Manila Water rolls out state- of-the-art technologies to ensure that wastewater can be properly treated and reused in estates and commercial establishments.
Ayala Corporation was hailed as an index component of the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices for its outstanding corporate sustainability performance. It is the first Philippine conglomerate to be included in the DJSI Emerging Market Index.
Ayala Land is also the only real-estate company from the Philippines that made it to the index under the real estate category.
“Ayala Corporation believes that long term value is created when you focus on sustainable businesses that benefit all stakeholders,” said AC Chief Financial and Sustainability Officer TG Limcaoco.
He added that, “We are thankful for the substantial recognition we have received from local and international rating agencies. We will continue our commitment to pivoting our businesses towards a more resilient future for Filipinos.”