SM Investments Corp. is regarded as one of those good corporate citizens where people can invest in. In doing business, SM Investments is conscious about its impact not just on the environment but also on the community, both on the economic and social aspects.
A solid proof of such commitments is SM Investments Corp.’s inclusion in the FTSE4Good Index Series as well as the FTSE4Good Emerging Index, a product of the company’s consistent release of its sustainability report in the past five years, the last of which was in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standard.
FTSE4Good is managed by FTSE Russell of the London Stock Exchange Group and is designed to identify companies that demonstrate strong environment, social and governance (ESG) practices against globally recognized standards. FTSE Russell, a unit of the London Stock Exchange, created the index in 2001.
The FTSE4Good Emerging Indeces measure the performance of companies in emerging markets that meet the recognized ESG inclusion standards used by the FTSE4Good Index Series.
Investors use these indices when creating or assessing responsible investment funds and other products for its transparent management and clearly defined ESG criteria.
All the sustainability reports of SM Investments’ units now adhere to GRI materiality disclosures service.
Frederic DyBuncio, SM Investments president, said the groups’ commitment towards sustainable business practices is anchored on creating a “positive impact in the communities it serves and to the nation.”
“In everything we did to build SM, we focused on our customers, understanding their aspirations and serving as their partner. Over the decades, we met the evolving needs of our customers by anticipating market trends, opportunities and challenges and by having constant dialogues with our stakeholders,” DyBuncio said.
“As we grew, we fostered long-term relationships with our business partners, sowing seeds together and reaping shared benefits. Lastly, we upheld the principle that social development goes hand in hand with business growth. Wherever SM opened a store, we extended a helping hand to the communities around us. This practice helped SM have a lasting impact on the Philippine retail landscape,” he added.
As part of its sustainability focus, SM Investments capitalize on the synergies within its extensive network of businesses to steadily expand its core businesses and invest in other growth sectors of the economy, according to DyBuncio.
These initiatives are complemented by the continuing effort to build integrated lifestyle cities capitalizing on the synergies of the combined retail, tourism, residential, and commercial property businesses under one development while observing global standards of professionalism and good corporate governance.
SM Investments views all its opportunities and risks “through the lens of economic, social and environmental impact.”
A group-wide steering committee chaired by DyBuncio oversees the group’s sustainability roadmap and progress.
In the group’s crown jewel, mall operator SM Prime Holdings, Hans Sy, SM Prime Holdings Inc. chairman of the Executive Committee and SM Investments Corp. adviser at the United Nations Global Compact-Global Reporting Initiative, is particularly focused on developing a disaster resilient micro, small and medium enterprises, which he said are the “key to a sustainable value chain and in attaining business continuity.”
“Empowering supply chains is particularly close to our hearts because SM’s roots were borne from our father’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Sy.
“It is because of this that we understand the journey and challenges faced by small and medium enterprises. We want to help them not only by providing a strong market but by building their resilience to overcome their risks and maximize their opportunities,” he added.
Sy, a strong advocate of disaster resilience and is the first Filipino representative to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said SM Prime in particular is taking a step further by helping SMEs bounce back immediately after a disaster, with the company putting up an SM Reliance Center in SM Clark, Pampanga.
This center serves as the data storage and capacity building facilities for SME partners.
SM Prime through the center provides free storage data to serve as the repository for documents essential to early recovery and business continuity. To date, there are over 1,500 SMEs which have availed of this service.
SM Prime has partnered with the National Resilience Council, APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity Building Center, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction and Global Education and Training Institute, Department of Trade and Industry, among other disaster risk reduction organizations to provide capacity building and technical assistance on the Center’s operations.
SM works with nearly 25,000 SMEs, both directly and indirectly, representing 27 percent of total SMEs in the Philippines today, mostly SM’s mall tenants, traders and suppliers mainly in retail.
“Supporting our SME partners focus their efforts from managing disasters to managing risks is a critical step toward an enduring partnership in resilience,” Sy said.
Sy said SM has integrated three platforms in terms of its operations and sustainability to include investing 10 percent of its capital expenditure on disaster resilient features depending on a mall’s existing hazards, capacity building and collaboration, and public-private partnerships at the global, regional and national levels.
“Through these efforts, we seal our commitment in creating a more equitable and progressive environment for business partnerships for generations to come,” he said.