Editor's PickFinanceInvestingPhilippine business groups sign pledge to reduce inequality

2 years ago236 min

SOME of the biggest business groups in the Philippines have signed a covenant committing to address economic and social inequalities in the country, which have been heightened by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a virtual signing event streamed live on Thursday, the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP) gathered 26 associations, including itself, to vow to “shared prosperity” with employees, customers, suppliers, the community, the environment, and their respective shareholders.

The specific commitments are recruiting and training employees regardless of gender, alma mater, age, ethnicity and religion; providing quality products and services to customers; treating providers of goods and services fairly and ethically; being involved in communities to identify their needs; protecting the environment in business operations; and delivering just returns to controlling and non-controlling shareholders. 

“As we struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic, we also need to address the critical longer-term global issue of inequality, which has worsened because of the current health crisis… When the crisis is over, we at MAP would want a new normal in the way we deal with our stakeholders…,” MAP President Francisco E. Lim said in the program.

As part of operationalizing the signed pledge, MAP said it recommends the signatories to encourage its member companies to similarly commit to the covenant. It targets that by June 2021, the associations would have formed metrics to measure their successes in keeping true to the pledges, and by end of 2021, would be able to report their performances based on the metrics.

Speaking on behalf of the private sector, Ayala Corp. Chairman and CEO Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala said the pandemic has indeed raised the standard for companies in immersing themselves as members of a community.

“Everyone understood that we had a broader responsibility and this created a very interesting dynamic in our country: a sense of common purpose and a coming together of different groups including those who were long used to fiercely competing – not cooperating – with each other,” Mr. Zobel said.

For the regulator’s part, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said the government is doing its part, through the continued issuance of guidelines according to the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, to institutionalize the “Stakeholders Theory”—or the belief that companies have to identify the effects of their operations to the communities they are a part of.

The 26 associations that signed the covenant are Alyansa Agrikultura; American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, Inc.; Bankers Association of the Philippines; Cebu Business Club; Cebu Leads Foundation; European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines; Federation of Philippine Industries, Inc.; Filipina CEO Circle; Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines; FintechAlliance.ph; Institute for Solidarity in Asia, Inc.; Institute of Corporate Directors; Integrity Initiative, Inc.; Investment House Association of the Philippines; IT & Business Process Association of the Philippines; Judicial Reform Initiative; Makati Business Club; MAP; People Management Association of the Philippines; Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Philippine Women’s Economic Network; Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines, Inc.; Shareholders Association of the Philippines; UP School of Economics Alumni Association; and Women’s Business Council of the Philippines, Inc. — Denise A. Valdez

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