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United Nations Global Compact: Over 300 business leaders gather in Manila for Regional Sustainability Summit
Global Compact Network Philippines and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) have brought together business leaders from the Philippines and the Asia Pacific region to discuss how corporate action can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Supported by top Philippine firms such as SM Investments Corporation, Ayala Corporation and Shell, together with the International Care M and other stakeholders, this year’s Sustainability Summit took place at the Conrad Hotel in Manila.
Building on the success of the first GRI Sustainability Summit and the first Global Compact Network Philippines CEO SDG Circle Forum, both held in the Philippines last year, the United Nations Global Compact and GRI have collaborated for the Sustainability Summit 2019: Empowering Corporate Action through the Sustainable Development Goals.
“This collaboration between the UN Global Compact and GRI provides the critical space for business leaders and other stakeholders of sustainable development to align their vision in support of creating the biggest impact on the SDGs,” Sue Allchurch, Chief of Outreach and Engagement of the UN Global Compact office in New York and a speaker at the Summit. “It signals the start of a more concrete and cohesive commitment of Philippine businesses in driving the achievement of the Global Goals,” she added.
Speaking before a full-house audience of C-suite officers and sustainability professionals, Esther An, a 2018 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneer and the Chief Sustainability Officer of City Developments Limited in Singapore, called on businesses to embrace the SDGs in their value chain management and integrate ESG (environment-social-governance) into business strategies and targeting. Citing a 2018 report from the Business and Sustainable Commission, she emphasized the need to step up innovation to unlock US$ 1.5 trillion of SDG investments in Asia alone by 2030.
Aside from Esther An, the event gathered a powerhouse of speakers, pioneering proponents of sustainable business and value creation from the Asia-Indochina region:
- Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, 2017 UN Global Compact SDG Pioneer for Sustainable Business Strategy and Operations, the first from Southeast Asia and from the Philippines, Chairman and CEO, Ayala Corporation
- Hans Sy, Board Advisor of SMIC and first Filipino representative to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction
- Roberto De Ocampo, Board Member of GRI and former Finance Secretary
- Meshvara Kanjaya, President Director of Ranch Market (Indonesia)
- Saran Song, Chair and CEO of AMRU Rice Cambodia
- Ernesto Pernia, Secretary of the Socioeconomic Planning Department
- Kristin Dadey, Resident Coordinator a.i. of the United Nations in the Philippines
The 2019 Sustainability Summit also aimed to inspire companies to commit to the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact for responsible business — focused on human rights, environment, labour and anti-corruption — and advance the 17 SDGs. Global Compact Network Philippines called on companies to join the corporate sustainability movement and emphasized the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships and empowering young people to help achieve the country-level SDGs targets.