The Lopez Group HR Council led by Cedie Lopez Vargas brought together leaders from various companies and disciplines under the Lopez Group in the Learning Synergy Summit 2016 held at the Rockwell Business Center last November.
Unlike in past summits where only Lopez Group HR practitioners were the attendees, this unique gathering was aimed at increasing the awareness of all employees on the importance of corporate sustainability.
As well, the Learning Synergy Summit sought to promote a culture of collaboration and partnership among various disciplines in implementing sustainable practices within the Lopez Group and inspiring commitment and action from the participants.
Borne of a collaborative effort from the Lopez Group HR Council, Lopez Group CSR Council, OML Center and the First Philippine Holdings Corporation (FPH) Sustainability Group, the activity got under way as Vargas delivered the welcome remarks.
The HR Council head said that at the core of the annual event is the main theme, around which the program of activities was built. This was developed from among relevant issues, new corporate strategies and directions, areas of opportunities and other matters that pose signi cant impact on the Group’s businesses or on the welfare of the employees.
A few months ago, FPH chairman Federico R. Lopez (FRL) stated unequivocally that FPH and its subsidiaries would not build, develop or invest in any coal-fired power plant because he believed that the Philippines has “energy alternatives that do not mortgage the future of our children and the future of our planet.”
Dealing with climate change
At the third annual summit of the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines, FRL also identified the threat of climate change as the single issue in the world today that embodies all the seven Lopez Values. He said that dealing with it correctly will require every “heart, nerve and sinew in the organization coming together to overcome something that today seems inescapable.”
Thus, it was only fitting that “Creating a Sustainable Future” became the theme of the summit.
The keynote message, “Towards a Sustainable Future for the Philippines and the Global Community,” was given by Environment Sec. Gina Lopez.
Lopez talked about the Ugong Rock Adventures project of ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation Inc. (AL- KFI) in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and the city of Puerto Princesa.
She also showcased the continuous development of La Mesa Ecopark and La Mesa Watershed; the latter is a joint project of ALKFI, Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the Quezon City government.
Additionally, Lopez stressed the importance of bamboo plants and mangroves.
Three plenary sessions were scheduled for the entire day, starting with “Sustainability and the Business.”
The first talk, “Understanding Sustainability,” was presented by University of Asia and the Pacific president Dr. Winston Padojinog.
According to Padojinog, business sustainability is the creation of firm value with due consideration for the expectations and interests of society and the natural environment.
A sustainable business should have an integrated pursuit of the so-called triple bottom line or TBL. This is a framework that incorporates the dimensions of business performance: prosperity, planet and people.
Agnes de Jesus, chief sustainability officer of FPH, tackled the topic “Sustainability for Business and Financial Stability.”
The demands of business and people are bordering on environmental and social thresholds.
Due to a “quadruple squeeze”—population pressures, climate crisis, ecosystem crisis and the risk of deleterious tipping points in the Earth system— the degrees of freedom for sustainable human exploitation of the planet are severely restrained. Thus, companies need to manage risks, whether these are financial, operational, regulatory or reputational.
The next plenary session was aimed at “Sustainability towards a Clean and Green Environment.”
Climate leader and advocate Rodne Galicha discussed the Climate Reality project, a global, multi-sectoral alliance advocating grassroots participation in climate change issues. This was followed by “Green Buildings” from Christopher dela Cruz, the chief executive officer of the Philippine Green Building Council, a nonstock corporation that promotes green initiatives.
Sustainability in action
Rounding out the sessions were discussions focused on “sustainability in action.”
Raphael Lopez, a health energy initiative campaigner, introduced Health Care Without Harm. The organization is at the center of transforming the health care sector worldwide without compromising patient safety or care. Next to take the stand was Rina Lopez-Bautista, executive director of Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc., who talked about “A Sustainable Future through Education”
Datu Samuel Asicam, executive director of Mount Apo Foundation Inc. (MAFI), unveiled a presentation on MAFI’s road to success in “A Journey towards Upliftment and Inclusivity.”
Among other accomplishments, the foundation has implemented programs in educational development, environmental consciousness, community assistance and tribal capability. It has also produced several scholars, some of whom have passed national licensure examinations.
Call to action
Acting as the session moderators were Carlos Salonga, VP- HR and Admin of First Balfour Inc.; Marianne Quebral, executive director of OML Center; Dario Pagcaliwagan of Lopez Group Foundation Inc.; Sidney Cordero of First Gen Corporation; and Marianna Vargas of OML Center.
A call to action ensued, with the participants undergoing a workshop and expressing their commitment to help create a sustainable future for present and forthcoming generations.
Lopez Group chairman Amb. Manuel M. Lopez provided the closing remarks to thunderous applause.
Capping off the day were social sponsored by SKY cable. (Story by:Gerbs de Castro/Photos by:Nadz Villanueva/Joey Panghulan/Rockwell)