Filipino business tycoons champion sustainability programs, practices in PH Digicon 2021

Filipino business tycoons

Filipino business tycoons who spoke before the delegates of the Philippine Digital Convention (PH Digicon) 2021 iterated their commitment to implementing sustainable programs and practices to achieve a triple bottom line. 

In the second plenary session of this year’s PH Digicon, Al Panlilio, President and CEO, PLDT Group; Lance Gokongwei, President and CEO of JG Summit Holdings; Bernie Liu, Chairman and CEO of the Penshoppe Group; Christopher Po, Executive Chairman of Century Pacific Food, Inc.; Kevin Tan, CEO of Alliance Global Group Inc.; and Joseph Tanbuntiong, Chief Business Officer of Jollibee Group led the discussion on the revolutionary changes in the Philippine business landscape. 

Panlilio said that sustainability is one of his fulcrums and has been a part of PLDT’s business model for years, incorporating sustainable development in their strategies to align their initiatives to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). 

The PLDT Head said they launched the country’s first carbon fiber cell tower, which has reduced carbon dioxide emission by up to 70 percent compared to steel. He also mentioned the group’s aim to use renewable energy sources to bring down power consumption and boost energy efficiency for their data centers. 

“What is core to business is what matters most in terms of sustainability, and hopefully, every employee in PLDT-Smart understands and appreciates their contribution to that effort. It’s a big task, big programs, but we have to do it,” said Panlilio. 

For Jollibee, meanwhile, Tanbuntiong said they have been reducing waste by shifting from disposable to reusable wares and turning to biodegradable options such as paper for their packaging. 

“We are also looking into the renewable energy sources for some of our stores and our manufacturing sites… Outside of the environment, we also look at the society and looking at segments that we can help, and can have an impact,” the Jollibee executive said. 

Moreover, for Alliance Global Group CEO Kevin Tan, the business has been set up to not be a profit-centric company but also to aim for a triple bottom line which includes environmental sustainability and social impact. 

“Our goal, our new guidance aside from our profits, is that we want to be carbon-neutral by 2035, which means that among other efforts, we need to shift to 100% renewable energy, and this has to start right away and be done in phases over the next 5 to 6 years… This is a very challenging feat, but we are committed to it,” Tan underscored. 

Tan also shared that they are committed to generating over five million direct and indirect jobs in the next 15 years; thus, they heavily invest in industries that can produce the most jobs and multipliers in job creation, such as business process outsourcing and tourism sector. 

Likewise, for the clothing brand Penshoppe, Liu shared that waste in the retail and the fashion business has been labeled as one of the biggest polluters. He said that excesses end up in dumpsites “because the consciousness of waste is not there among many brand owners and retailers.” 

Liu highlighted that reducing waste is something they take seriously by adopting global standards on the number of stock keeping units and inventory. 

“We believe strongly that we minimize waste not only in the consumption but in the way that unnecessary fabrics are produced, and unnecessary garments, and that whatever we do acquire ends up in the closets of our customers and not in the dumpsites,” Liu said. 

Furthermore, for Century Pacific Food, Po said they integrate the sustainability mindset in their day-to-day business by following the Three P’s framework, which refers to Protein, People, and Planet. 

“Protein is our product. Our food product is the way we touch the rest of the community; thus, we look at the type of nutrition and ingredients we put into our products to develop a healthier product portfolio… We’re also mindful of the number of jobs we create… and then finally, Planet is our manufacturing footprint as a food manufacturer,” Po noted. 

Additionally, for JG Summit Holdings, Gokongwei said they acknowledge the significance of sustainability; thus, they integrate this in their management process. 

“For us, the most important thing is to put sustainability first and foremost into the board’s agenda; we try to do this first by benchmarking and measuring what we have, second is to set targets,” Gokongwei said. 

He also added that their sustainability practice follows the UN SDG, which centers on five objectives: shared success, resource secularity and resource efficiency, education and development, providing better choices, and climate action. 

The Philippine Digital Convention is the most prestigious digital thought leadership event hosted by PLDT Enterprise. Titled “REVOLUTION”, this year’s PH Digicon which ran from October 6 to 8 featured over 120 industry leaders and experts, sharing their expertise on topics such as technology predictions, industry evolution, emerging technologies, among others. 

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