‘Inspiring Resilience’

Published April 29, 2021, 7:00 AM

by J. Albert Gamboa

That is the title of SM Prime Holdings Inc.’s first-ever integrated report presented during its annual stockholders meeting last week. According to SM Prime President Jeffrey Lim, the Integrated Report 2020 translates the listed company’s business cycle into a concise, thorough, and transparent document combining both financial and non-financial information into one report.

“It highlights how SM Prime remains productive even through times of crisis by keeping our businesses stable, supporting our partners, and continually contributing to nation-building,” he said at the virtual meeting. In previous years, the firm’s annual financial report was published separately from its sustainability report that adheres to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.

GRI is an independent international organization headquartered in Amsterdam that helps businesses and other entities take responsibility for their impacts on the economy, environment, and society. Welcoming the consolidation of value reporting organizations such as the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, GRI regards integrated reports as complementary to sustainability reports.

SM Prime has constantly practiced sustainable operations over the past decades, mindful of its businesses’ environmental impact. To lower its carbon footprint, the company recently embarked on a five-year program to diversify its energy source portfolio by gradually moving to power sources that are more economical and at the same time more reliable.

Hans Sy, who retired as President of SM Prime in 2016, continues to serve as its Executive Committee Chairman and is at the forefront of SM Prime’s disaster resiliency program. He was the first Filipino to sit on the advisory board of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, and currently serves as Co-Chairman of ARISE Philippines, which is the local network of the global Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies.

During the 2021 stockholders meeting, three independent directors retired from the SM Prime board, namely: Jose Cuisia Jr., Gregorio Kilayko, and Joselito Sibayan. An international investment banker and stock broker, Kilayko disclosed that SM Prime has been cited as one of the best listed stocks in Asia and is the first trillion-peso company in the Philippines.

Sibayan, a chemical engineer turned corporate finance executive, lauded SM Prime’s evolution into the Philippines’ largest listed firm in terms of market capitalization. He enumerated the three hallmarks of a great company that SM Prime exhibits: strategic thinking and execution; focus on operational efficiencies and excellence; and concern for all stakeholders.

Cuisia, the outgoing SM Prime Vice Chairman and lead independent director, served in the board for 27 years since the company was formed in 1994. He was formerly the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor and Philippine Ambassador to the United States. In his farewell speech, Cuisia said: “2020 was devastating for business and the economy, but it also illuminated SM’s true character of genuine concern for employees and stakeholders whose safety and well-being overruled profit considerations.”

Replacing them as independent directors are retired BSP Governor Amando Tetangco Jr., former Pag-IBIG Fund CEO Darlene Marie Berberabe, and former SGV & Co. Chairman J. Carlitos Cruz.

The vision and drive of SM Group’s founder, the late Henry “Tatang” Sy Sr., has transformed the old Shoemart into the dominant Filipino conglomerate that it is today. His eldest son, Henry Sy Jr., has served as SM Prime’s Chairman of the Board since 2014 and oversaw the growth of the company from a mall operator to become one of Southeast Asia’s largest integrated property developers.

Indeed, Tatang’s legacy lives on in the innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities that SM Prime offers through the development of malls, residences, offices, leisure resorts, hotels, and convention centers.

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