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Random Thoughts | On sustainable prosperity

“The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)…” show the way to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.” (Ignacio R. Bunye, “Ayala’s Sustainability Blueprint,” Speaking Out, Manila Bulletin, August 19, 2019).

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These UN SDGs are: 1) No poverty, 2) No hunger; 3) Good health and well-being, 4) Quality education, 5) Gender equality, 6) Clean Water and Sanitation, 7) Affordable and Clean Energy, 8) Decent Work and economic growth, 9) Industry Innovation and Infrastructure, 10) Reduced inequality, 11) Sustainable cities and communities, 12) Responsible consumption and production, 13) Climate action, 14) Life below water, 15) Life on land, 16) Peace and justice and strong institutions and 17) Partnership to achieve the goal.

In our Dream Philippines Shared Vision proposal, sustainable prosperity is one of the envisioned long term goals which could be achieved through good stewardship and maintaining ecological balance.
We are happy to note that the Ayala Group has its “own initiative which dovetails with UNSDGs.” Bunye quoted Ayala Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala saying: “We designed our long term sustainable blueprint that laid out actionable and measurable targets as we address critical environment and development gaps that our country faces today.”

Recently, the Ayala conglomerate held its First Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Sustainability Summit. Below were the key messages delivered to Ayala group executives and stakeholders according to Bunye.

*These interconnected disciplines – governance, sustainability, and risk management – should now be part and parcel of the groups strategic planning, decision-making, and investment processes.
* There is a strong correlation between sustainability and financial performance
* A board’s responsibility now goes beyond fiduciary duty and should encompass environmental, social, and governance (ESG) considerations.
*The board must now be held accountable for its sustainability performance and not just financial returns.
*Impact investing has gained so much traction in recent years, driven by market dynamics such as technological disruption and customers rewarding sustainable practices.
*Going forward, creating a separate P&L for environmental metrics is something Ayala will look into.
*The new rule from the SEC mandating the submission of sustainability reports must be considered as another opportunity for listed companies, such as Ayala, to communicate their sustainability performance properly.
*ESG must not be just a buzz-word. It must become a way of life.”

The Lopez

The Lopez Group of Companies through the late Gina Lopez likewise dedicated their businesses in the promotion of sustainable development in our country. Unconscionable extractive industries and their political cohorts successfully blocked her confirmation as DENR Secretary to the dismay of our people. No doubt, those unscrupulous greedy vested interest groups are our notorious enemies of sustainable prosperity in the Philippines.

What is the connection of sustainable development to our move for an honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform? Simple. An honest-to-goodness Constitutional Reform will give us the golden opportunity to adopt truly inclusive political and economic systems to assure truly inclusive growth in the country. Truly inclusive political and economic systems take into account everything and every sectors in our society which include environmental concerns, good governance and well-being of our people. Clearly, Constitutional Reform is imperative in the promotion of truly sustainable development in the Philippines.

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, on the other hand, appealed lately to the faithful, “to be more active in their role as God’s stewards in caring for nature” during the launching of the celebration of the “Season of Creation”. Obviously, our Church is for sustainable prosperity.

But then came this devastating news that will wreak havoc to one if not the most beautiful island in our country Palawan! Our politicians “gerrymandered” Palawan into three small provinces. Hence, comprehensive and integrated environmental planning vital to protect, conserve and properly develop Palawan will be adversely affected. We don’t need more politicians in this ecologically fragile island.

Former Congressman Rodolfo del Rosario, Sr. consolidated the three municipalities of Samal Island into one Island City for better environmental management while the political leaders of Palawan divided their beautiful province into three “political fiefdoms” that will destroy its sustainability. Crazy! Gina Lopez must be shaking her head in heaven in great disappointment as we do here on earth.

Stronger political will and effective innovative programs and projects are demanded by our people from our government to protect, preserve and develop our environment. Of course, our people must also do their part in this regard. Good stewardship of all God’s creations is the key to sustainable prosperity.

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