Aboitiz’s Sustainable Program Development in the Philippines

January 28, 2023
Aboitiz's Sustainable Program Development in the Philippines

Our purpose (and the Aboitiz way) is to drive change for a better world by advancing business and communities toward a sustainable future for generations to come. This is why we continuously look for opportunities to empower our communities.

Aboitiz is supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and working to build inclusive communities, where everyone has a voice and equal access to what we create.

Here’s a closer look at our sustainable program development in the Philippines, and why sustainability in the Philippines is so important for our business:

What is a Sustainability Program and How does it Differ from a Sustainability Plan?

What is a Sustainability Program and How does it Differ from a Sustainability Plan?

These terms are often used together. But these concepts are not interchangeable — they contribute differently to our sustainability vision and goals.

A sustainability plan is a course of action. We create these in advance and design them to fulfill a certain goal, usually in line with our chosen SDGs.

Our sustainability programs form part of the roadmap that we use to drive results and tell our sustainability story. This roadmap allows us to create structured and well-defined initiatives, and implement them properly.

We also think of sustainability as a living, integral part of how we do business — and we give it room to grow organically as our situation develops. As a result, we can quickly adjust and evolve according to our community’s needs.

Why Should We Continue Developing Sustainability Programs in the Philippines?

It’s a well-known fact that sustainability measures help a company be more purpose-driven, mitigate risks, and create long-lasting benefits for themselves.

But beyond that, we know that real value is being created whenever we continue developing a sustainability program for our organization.

It’s something that family patriarch and long-time leader, Don Ramon Aboitiz, started through his corporate philanthropy efforts, and that we in the Aboitiz Group continue till today with our CSR programs.

After all, to us, advancing business and communities is one and the same. We are guided by the “triple bottom line” approach — wherein the vitality of the economy, our environment, and our quality of life are closely intertwined.

We believe that the more we develop sustainable programs, the more we can contribute to nation-building and to societal good. This drives us to create meaningful progress for a better world, and one that will last for generations to come.

What are the Goals of Sustainable Program Development?

What are the Goals of Sustainable Program Development?

Many of the challenges facing our homes, such as the devastating effects of climate change, water scarcity, income inequality, and hunger, can only be resolved if we make an active commitment to positive growth.

These commitments are realized when we set goals for our sustainability programs. While our overarching purpose is to drive positive change for the Philippines, the specific goals of each program we develop differ from one to the next.

One program might aim to improve the biodiversity of an area we operate in, while another might seek to improve the livelihood and access to quality education in a different host community. Yet in every case, we make sure to set goals that will help us address the most pressing challenge that the area or community currently faces.

This has helped us align our programs towards each of the 17 SDGs (which you can see more about here). The more we continue our progress in each, the more we ensure the way we do business benefits our people.

What is the Aboitiz Group Doing in the Area of Sustainability?

We mentioned that our sustainability story all started with Don Ramon Aboitiz — which means that this is one story that spans over a hundred years!

Sustainability permeates each idea, decision, project, and program that is created within Aboitiz Group. As such, we’re both the pioneer and leader in sustainable development in the Philippines.
To continue this story for another 100 years, we have created business models in each arm of the Aboitiz Group — from the power to the finance industry — that seek economic growth, social progress, and environmental balance with the goal of improving the lives of present and future generations of Filipinos!

To achieve this, we have created many programs that help facilitate equal and universal access to basic services, such as banking, modern electricity, and safe and clean water. And, we have set up their infrastructure in such a way that we promote the health of the natural environment around them, and foster sustainable industrialization and innovation.

Beyond our business units, though, we want to help our people. That’s why Aboitiz Foundation exists — we work through them to invest in the education and enterprise development of our host communities, and co-create empowered and sustainable communities. We even help them tell their own stories!

We do much more than this, much more than we can possibly fit in this post — so we invite you to take a look at our sustainability performance and our policies here, or download our latest Annual and Sustainability Report here.

Key Takeaway

The growing pressure on our natural resources and our livelihoods cannot be ignored. If we want to protect what we have, and enable future generations to thrive as we have, then we need to continue our sustainable program development in the Philippines.

This is part of our credo to do business the sustainable way — and make positive contributions to the growth of our society and our country.

Management Approaches to Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Management Approaches to Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples

January 26, 2023

Most of our natural resources are found on land owned by indigenous groups, or inhabited by disenfranchised groups. And yet, many of them have suffered abuse, discrimination, and marginalization.

Such violations are not only an attack on their resources but also on their wellbeing and right to self-determination and autonomy. They are now calling out for drastic social reform. Echoing this call, we recognize that businesses have the opportunity to act out urgent and necessary changes.

There is a strong moral and ethical case to support the notion that businesses must implement management approaches to human rights, and the rights of indigenous peoples. We believe that, as a powerful actor in economic, social, and environmental development in our country, we have an obligation to integrate this principle into how we practice business within our sphere of influence.

Why Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples Should Matter to Businesses

Why Human Rights and Rights of Indigenous Peoples Should Matter to Businesses

The debate about the nature and scope of business entities’ human rights and responsibilities is a recent one, as is the idea of applying human rights to business decisions and operations.

However, the importance of this concept cannot be understated. After all, humans are a part of every aspect of a business’s operations. As such, we cannot simply cordon human rights off in the CSR department.

All company functions, from human resources to legal compliance, interact with human rights every day, whether they realize it or not. True sustainability requires every aspect and department within a business to understand and manage its human rights impacts.

Indigenous peoples’ rights, in particular, have long been neglected by business entities. Their protection is important, as these groups can contribute significant knowledge, helping businesses better understand local operating contexts.

When businesses treat indigenous people with respect, we can obtain and maintain our social license to operate. We believe there are many opportunities, too, to involve indigenous groups in our business ventures, both as owners and partners. This will contribute to the long-term success of our projects, and help embed further value and sustainability in our host communities.

Thus, achieving equality and dignity for all should be the guiding principle of how businesses perform their work. Prioritizing the application of a human rights-based management approach is a must for businesses everywhere.

The Aboitiz Strategy to A Human Rights-Based Management Approach

Aboitiz Group knows we owe our success to the people, and that we are only as strong as the bond we have with our host communities. Thus, we take steps to ensure we not only maintain these meaningful and mutually-beneficial relationships but also foster new ones.

This is why we at Aboitiz Group make sure to deliver on our social commitment, through the countless activities, programs, and advocacy efforts that we implement each year. This helps us contribute to the overall development of our organization as well as the communities we serve.

To become an ever-more reputable and trustworthy partner in nation-building, we know that no one can be left behind. This is how we ensure our projects are inclusive, collaborative, and scalable, and provide much-needed reform to the oft-forgotten marginalized groups.

Our human rights-based management approach can best be summarized through our seven parameters:

  1. Addresses a community need — tackles a specific problem in the community, and provides an inclusive impact that uplifts the welfare and livelihoods of the beneficiaries.
  2. Aligns with our core business — the program relates to the core business of our SBUs, such as power, banking, financial services, and other facets of the Aboitiz Group.
  3. Helps our businesses — has reasonable returns, enhances key stakeholder relationships, promotes understanding and social acceptance of our projects, assists in the unimpeded operation of the company, or creates other such competitive advantages for our SBUs.
  4. Aligns with the Aboitiz Foundation’s programs — align with our commitment to providing quality education, continued enterprise development, and a preserved natural environment.
  5. Involves skills training and capability building — provides some manner of training for the beneficiaries, which they may use to improve their income or livelihood.
  6. Encourages team volunteerism and participation — our people are empowered to take part in our projects.
  7. Nationwide in scope — projects are scalable and replicable across the Aboitiz Group scope of influence.

Our Priority Program Areas

Through our seven parameters, we have been able to implement several commitments across our subsidiaries, which all provide inclusive benefits and promote the sustainability and development of our host communities.

While our scope is wide, we do have program areas we hold close to heart in our commitment to being a ‘force for good.’. Our priority program areas are:

Education as an enabler for empowerment

Since the inception of the Aboitiz Group, we have invested heavily in providing access to quality education throughout the country. We work with various educational institutions, the Department of Education, and various organizations to execute programs that target those in need.

This helps guide them towards becoming skilled and knowledgeable graduates. In turn, they can become productive members of the workforce.

We also continuously work with our partners to establish and improve learning facilities, set up training programs, and conduct feeding programs to assist local schools and colleges around the country.

One such example of our dedication to this goal is the “Tabang Pa-Eskwela sa Tribo” program. As one of the supporters, Aboitiz Group commits to annually providing school supplies and other needed learning materials to indigenous children. Through this program, we have been able to help over 8,000 indigenous students, particularly those who are from the geographically isolated and economically less-privileged communities of Davao City.

We hope that our assistance helps to motivate and empower these indigenous students to go to school, where they can receive the proper education that will help them later on in life.

Enterprise Development towards shaping resilient enterprises

We also focus on providing end-to-end, cost-efficient programs for community-based business endeavors. This entails that we provide relevant support to these enterprises, from production to marketing, as well as leveraging resources to establish the infrastructure, financing, and market linkage they need to do business.

This helps us shape and establish resilient communities, and promote their sustainability.

Our recent efforts through our food unit, Pilmico, are a prime example of this. Through them, we committed to sustaining farm livelihood projects for local farmers and Indigenous Peoples in Iligan. This project is supported through close coordination with the area’s LGU and seeks to empower farmers to be efficient ‘agripreneurs,’ and create a more sustainable economy for them.

Aboitiz Group is working with the Marawi Baloi Farmers Association and Hindang Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) through the Inclusive Agribusiness Project (IAP) to scale up their production. This will help local farmers take advantage of the new significant demand for yellow corn. Thus, organizational sustainability and improved, consistent income for their members can be achieved.

To ensure that the fruits of this project can be reaped for years to come, Aboitiz Group also provides skills training, updates on farming equipment, and donations to help increase their production volume and meet market demands.

Advocating disaster preparedness and resilience

Our environment initiatives focus on building the resilience and preparedness of our host communities. This entails providing community-based disaster risk reduction and management (CBDRRM) training workshops, which help their people identify local risks and hazards and develop their action plans to mitigate risks.

Our efforts in this priority area are in partnership with the WeatherPhilippines Foundation (WPF) under its #WeatherWiser Nation campaign.

Aside from that, we also have an ongoing project for reforestation and environmental sustainability. As of 2019, we have planted 6.9 million trees out of the 9 million target by 2020. We also implement smaller tree planting initiatives in many of our facilities. Take, for example, Hedcor’s hydro facilities in Davao del Sur, where we recently hit a milestone of 3 million trees planted in our reforestation site, Bakakan E-Camp.

We also maintain the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, a turtle sanctuary located in the coastal area of Punta Dumalag. Aside from serving as a haven for pawikans, it is also home to dozens of rare bird species. Both thrive in the safe and secure environment that we maintain for them. We are also establishing a new nature sanctuary, the Balabag Wetland Park in Boracay, in collaboration with DENR.

Key Takeaway

Human rights are the essence of sustainability. We at Aboitiz Group have always firmly believed in the role of community growth in business sustainability and development. Thus, our management approaches to human rights aim to be inclusive, and always aspire to contribute to the wider world.

Simply put, we know that a sustainable world must be built upon the blueprint of basic human dignity and respect. Read more about our commitment to giving back here.

Aboitiz Group steadfast in accelerating workplace gender equality in the Philippines
Aboitiz Group steadfast in accelerating workplace gender equality in the Philippines

Aboitiz Group steadfast in accelerating workplace gender equality in the Philippines

December 5, 2022

The Aboitiz Group remains steadfast in its commitment to accelerate workplace gender equality in the Philippines, emphasizing its importance in the Group’s #OneAboitiz Sustainability Framework. The Aboitiz Group sits on the board of trustees of the Global Compact Network Philippines (GCNP), and two of its companies—Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. (AEV) and Aboitiz InfraCapital (AIC)—are members of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE).

Read more about the story here: https://aboitiz.com/aboitiz-group-steadfast-in-accelerating-workplace-gender-equality-in-the-philippines/

Kinder by Aboitiz assist coops through Project [RE]start
Kinder by Aboitiz assist coops through Project [RE]start

Kinder by Aboitiz assist coops through Project [RE]start

December 4, 2022

Aboitiz Foundation, in partnership with Aboitiz business units, recently turned over “restarter kits” to three cooperatives located in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The funds for the kits came from Kinder By Aboitiz, a crowdfunding platform created by Aboitiz Foundation that makes it easy and accessible for people to donate and promote a culture of generosity.

The Livelihood Recovery Project for Partner Cooperatives and Associations Nationwide or “Project [RE]start” supports partner cooperatives by donating “restarter” kits such as farm inputs and sewing materials. These kits will help organizations rebuild their cooperatives and support the livelihood in local communities.

Read more about the story here: https://aboitiz.com/kinder-by-aboitiz-assist-coops-through-project-restart/

Siargao homes hit by Typhoon Odette get help from Aboitiz Foundation
Siargao homes hit by Typhoon Odette get help from Aboitiz Foundation

Siargao homes hit by Typhoon Odette get help from Aboitiz Foundation

December 3, 2022

Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz  Group, partnered with Barna Hosco Inc., in Siargao Island to help rebuild homes heavily damaged by Typhoon Odette. The rebuilding efforts benefited 13 families.

“The Typhoon Odette devastation amid the COVID-19 pandemic has made life immensely difficult for so many families without roofs over their heads. As #OneAboitiz, the Foundation will continue to provide relief and support rebuilding efforts to help our fellowmen in these trying times.,”  said Aboitiz Foundation President and COO Maribeth L. Marasigan.

Read more about the story here: https://aboitiz.com/siargao-homes-hit-by-typhoon-odette-get-help-from-aboitiz-foundation/

Aboitiz Group leaps forward with strong Innovation initiatives
Aboitiz Group leaps forward with strong Innovation initiatives

Aboitiz Group leaps forward with strong Innovation initiatives

December 2, 2022

The Aboitiz Group proves that being more than a hundred years old doesn’t mean a conglomerate can’t reinvent like a start-up. The Group recently unveiled the “Aboitiz Great Transformation,” its newest strategy to jumpstart hypergrowth initiatives and transform its subsidiaries by exploring new businesses and revenue streams, and transforming its services to stakeholders through increased digitalization and innovation.

Several initiatives established in 2021 have proven to be strong foundations for speeding up the Innovation journey across the Group. With these starting points firmly in place, Aboitiz is poised to leap forward in its respective industries, revolutionizing the way it moves within Philippine and ASEAN communities and business landscapes.

Read more about the story here: https://aboitiz.com/aboitiz-group-leaps-forward-with-strong-innovation-initiatives/

Aboitiz Foundation’s Byaheng Digiskarte goes to Benguet with Session Groceries
Aboitiz Foundation’s Byaheng Digiskarte goes to Benguet with Session Groceries

Aboitiz Foundation’s Byaheng Digiskarte goes to Benguet with Session Groceries

December 1, 2022

Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the Aboitiz Group, together with AboitizPower’s subsidiary Hedcor Inc., signed a memorandum of agreement with Session Groceries and SG Farmer group for the “Byaheng Digiskarte goes to Benguet” Project. Aside from the mentoring sessions, the farmer beneficiaries will receive capacity building training and food processing starter kits.

Byaheng Digiskarte’ is the micro, small, medium enterprises (MSMEs) and cooperative mentoring program of Aboitiz Foundation in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Cooperative Development Authority (CDA), Department of Agriculture (DA) and various mentor partners.  The project, which covers several Aboitiz supported cooperatives nationwide, will make a stopover in Benguet for its Luzon leg.

Read more about the story here: https://aboitiz.com/aboitiz-foundations-byaheng-digiskarte-goes-to-benguet-with-session-groceries/

AboitizPower, Connected Women team up to teach AI skills to 60 Cebuanas

AboitizPower, Connected Women team up to teach AI skills to 60 Cebuanas

November 12, 2022 1

TOLEDO CITY, Cebu — Staying true to their mission of creating sustainable communities and in celebration of Women’s Month, AboitizPower has partnered with Connected Women to train 60 women from Toledo City in Cebu on artificial intelligence data annotation and other important computer skills to get them ready for the future of work.

This initiative is part of the Elevate AIDA (Artificial Intelligence Data Annotation) program that Connected Women runs, which was launched in June 2020 at the height of the pandemic. Elevate AIDA was created in partnership with UN Women and WeEmpowerAsia and aims to provide women in rural areas in the Philippines with remote work skills, basic professional and computer skills, and AI data labeling skills so they can become active contributors in the digital economy and artificial intelligence industry.

Click here to read more about this initiative: https://aboitiz.com/aboitizpower-connected-women-team-up-to-teach-ai-skills-to-60-cebuanas/

AboitizPower, SFELAPCO inaugurate new school building in Pampanga

AboitizPower, SFELAPCO inaugurate new school building in Pampanga

November 11, 2022 1

Though the education sector has suffered significant setbacks from the ongoing pandemic, the Department of Education (DepEd) has recently expressed its confidence and optimism in learning with the reopening of some schools for face-to-face classes.

In solidarity with the resumption of in-person learning in the province of PampangaAboitizPower, in partnership with San Fernando Electric Light and Power Company (SFELAPCO), formalized the turnover of the newly built two-storey school building to the San Agustin Integrated School-Annex.

The school broke ground in late 2019 but the construction efforts were put on hold when the pandemic unexpectedly hit in March 2020. In a ceremony held last March 4, the school administrators welcomed the representatives from the local government of San Fernando headed by Vice Mayor Jimmy Lazatin, as well as the executives from SFELAPCO and AboitizPower as they conducted a ribbon-cutting and ceremonial signing of the school’s Deed of Donation.

Read more about this event here: https://aboitiz.com/aboitizpower-sfelapco-inaugurate-new-school-building-in-pampanga/

Aboitiz seals membership to the SDG Stakeholders’ Chamber and pledges commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development

Aboitiz seals membership to the SDG Stakeholders’ Chamber and pledges commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development

November 10, 2022 1

The Aboitiz Group continues to transform the future of the country and the world into a sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive one. As it charges forward with its own Great Transformation journey, Aboitiz ensures that the sustainability of its journey is strengthened by inter-societal collaborations and partnerships. With this in mind, the Aboitiz Group—along with representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and 41 other members and representatives—took part in the recent Pledging of Commitment Ceremony of the Stakeholders’ Chamber on Sustainable Development Goals. The Chamber seeks to drive the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Aboitiz hosted the hybrid event in its very own headquarters in Taguig City, bringing together representatives from the public and private sectors under one roof for the momentous event. The Aboitiz Group was represented in the ceremony by Chief External Affairs Officer DJ Sta. Ana and First Vice President – Chief Reputation and Sustainability Officer Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

See more about our commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development here: https://aboitiz.com/aboitiz-seals-membership-to-the-sdg-stakeholders-chamber-and-pledges-commitment-to-the-2030-agenda-on-sustainable-development/