Ayala Starts the Conversation on Integration of Risk Management & Sutainability
MAKATI CITY – The Ayala group reached another milestone last September 21, 2018 when they launched their first Integrated Risk Management and Sustainability Summit. It was held at the Mayuree Ballroom of Dusit Thani Hotel, with the theme: Working Better by Working Together and was attended by almost 400 participants. This year’s summit aimed to start the discussion on why it is necessary to integrate the two fields and how it can be done. Speakers from international organizations gathered to give light to the questions on integration.
The integrated summit started from the thought leadership published by the World Business Council of Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which emphasized that sustainability matters have become ESG risks in the language of Risk Management. Addressing sustainability matters are in fact risk management in itself.
Another point why integration is vital is due to the accelerated pace of change in the business landscape. Such changes are brought about by various business disruptions, global megatrends like climate change or green consumerism, and a change in stakeholder mindset. The call for the integration of Sustainability and Risk Management has become greater to ensure that companies can protect themselves from emerging challenges, prosper over the long term, and continue to create value for all its stakeholders.
Ayala Corporation President and COO, Fernando Zobel de Ayala, expresses the commitment of the group on the integration, “As the world demands a more encompassing societal impact from businesses that is beyond economic success, we have recognized that environmental, social, and governance factors are fundamental elements of the Ayala group’s stewardship and are crucial drivers of our long-term value creation,” He further affirms, “We need to start looking at these two areas as interconnected systems that are part and parcel of our overall strategy, decision-making, and investment process.”
The summit brought together sustainability pioneers and business leaders. During a panel discussion, keynote speaker, Sunny Verghese, Chairman at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and Co-Founder & Group CEO of Olam International Ltd. shared the beginning of the thinking on integration and why it is significant to organizations. He stressed that companies who want to remain relevant and reminded each participant to be the change you want to see.
He was followed by second keynote speaker, Steve Schmida, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer of Resonance Global, who spoke about how the integration will prepare companies for globalization 3.0 wherein the whole business environment will be more volatile and fast-changing. They were joined by Ayala Corporation Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala for a panel discussion which was moderated by Jessica Cheam, Managing Editor at Eco-Business.
A second panel comprised of Mohit Grover, Executive Director at Deloitte Singapore, Lars Svensson, Sustainability & Communications Director at IKEA Southeast Asia and Sustainability Manager at Ikano Group, and James Gifford, Head of Impact Investing, UBS Global Wealth Management, talked about: (1) the crucial processes and frameworks necessary to operationalize this integration, (2) testaments to the benefits of integration, and (3) how this movement affects impact investing. Their segments were followed by a Q & A moderated by Stacey Huang, Executive Director of Pan-Asia Risk and Insurance Management Association.
The summit also welcomed special guest Jan Top Christensen, Danish Ambassador to the Philippines, and closed with a Storytellers Session with Suchitra Narayanan, Group Head of Risk and Insurance at Air Asia, and the Balangay’s Best group, both of whom shared inspiring stories of their personal journeys, the risks they faced, and their contribution to sustainability.
Ayala continues to drive sustainability in its businesses and integrating it with Risk Management is another pioneering activity by the group. As aptly put by Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, “We have always believed that for [Ayala], a 185 year-old company to remain relevant, [we need to adapt] to the changing nature of the environment we’re in. Sustainability is massively important. We need to align [and respond] to the development needs of our country and help address global issues [in the process].”