As part of its COVID-19 response to support its network members as well as the private sector as a whole, Global Compact Network Philippines (GCNP) — the United Nation Global Compact’s local entity — redirected its efforts towards supporting of micro- small, and medium enterprises’ (MSME) recovery and resilience, partnering with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Philippines Office to initiate an evidence-based, strategic, and longer-term response towards uplifting local businesses.
Representing the Aboitiz Group as a member of the GCNP Board of Trustees, AEV Vice President for Reputation Management, Ana Margarita “Ginggay” Hontiveros, recently issued an impassioned call-to-action on the urgent need to address the challenges faced by MSMEs, the importance of creating an enabling environment for the local businesses to thrive, and its vital role in achieving true prosperity. Read on below for the full statement:
UNGC Private Sector Expert Groups
AEV Vice President for Reputation Management
August 6, 2021
Good afternoon everyone !
I hope everyone is well, staying safe and getting vaccinated.
On behalf of our Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin M Aboitiz and our organizations, we are pleased to once again support and participate in the program for Private Sector Expert Groups who come together under the UNIDO-UNGC led program to empower MSME Development in the Philippines.
As a member of the UNGC and GCNP Board of Trustees, the Aboitiz Group continues to push forward on our Sustainability Programs for leadership, action, and collaboration, especially focused on supporting resiliency, sustainability and prosperity of the communities we serve. We join hands with all of you, once again, to act as a unified force for good, living out the Principle-based ideals for all of us to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
As workstream lead for Prosperity, we acknowledge the very challenging task ahead especially when we take stock of the fact that among the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, MSMEs are at the very top of that list. Many have been so severely affected so as to have closed their doors either temporarily or some permanently, unable to cope with the massive financial effects that covid has had to their businesses. And as the largest sector of our economy, where MSMEs accounting for 99.6% of registered businesses in the Philippines and employs about 65% of total PH workforce, it is imperative that we aid, support and empower MSMEs at every turn to recover, get back on their feet, and grow once again.
As part of the PSEG, we will focus on efforts to strengthen the value chains through capacity development, participation in policy-building and conduct consultations and awareness-raising programs and partnerships that support resilience building of MSMEs, including strengthening women entrepreneurs within the ecosystem.
This will include specifically looking closely at governance within value chains, focusing on the issues pertaining to the power and ability of MSMEs to exert control along the chain. Key parameters that are suggested to be highlighted are how products are produced, understanding how and when lead firms set, monitor and enforce rules and standards can help micro and small enterprises (MSMEs) and other firms in the chain to better integrate and coordinate their activities.
Governance is particularly important for the generation, transfer, and diffusion of knowledge leading to innovation, which enables firms to improve their performance and sustain competitive advantage. Awareness of the governance structure of a value chain can provide governments, donors and development practitioners with information about how best to provide MSMEs with the training and technical assistance needed to upgrade their position in the chain.
We should also look at other components including market access, distribution of gains and leverage for policy initiatives and what contributions we can make to further empower MSMEs on their renewed journey toward a state of Prosperity.
The economics study of W. Hullemen and AJ Marris defined Prosperity as this :
That human beings need things like food, warmth, shelter, safety, and self development. These needs can be partly fulfilled by the supply of goods and services. And the ready availability, accessibility and affordability of goods and services to fulfill needs if termed as Prosperity.
Prosperity has also been defined as flourishing, thriving, good fortune and successful social status. Prosperity often produces profuse wealth including other factors which can be profusely wealthy in all degrees, such as happiness and health.
And finally, The Legatum Institute’s definition of True Prosperity…is when all people have the opportunity to thrive.
Prosperity is underpinned by an inclusive society, with a strong social contract that protects the fundamental liberties and security of every individual. In a prosperous society:
- People live in peace, free from the threat of violence, oppression, and crime.
- Everyone’s inherent dignity is respected, and freedom of speech, worship, and assembly are protected.
- Governing institutions act with integrity, are accountable to citizens, and are subject to the rule of law.
- Stable families and supportive communities instill the values that shape the culture and build the bonds of trust needed for society to flourish.
Prosperity is driven by an open economy that harnesses ideas and talent to create sustainable pathways out of poverty. In a prosperous society:
- Property rights are protected, so investment can flow.
- Business regulation enables entrepreneurship, competition, and innovation.
- Open markets and high-quality infrastructure facilitate trade and commerce.
- Fiscal and monetary policy are used responsibly to foster employment, productivity, and sustained economic growth.
Prosperity is built by empowered people, who create a society that promotes wellbeing. In a prosperous society:
- Everybody is able to build a life free from poverty.
- People take care of their physical and mental health and have access to effective healthcare.
- Learning is valued and everyone receives a high-quality education, so they can reach their potential.
- The natural environment is stewarded wisely, as a legacy for present and future generations.
True prosperity means everyone has the opportunity to thrive by fulfilling their unique potential and playing their part in strengthening their communities and nations.
Because ultimately, prosperity is not just about what we have; it is also about who we become.