Learning Synergy: A Summit Like No Other
The Lopez Group HR Council, under the able leadership of Ms. Cedie Lopez-Vargas, brought together leaders from the various companies and disciplines under the Lopez Group in a one-day learning event called the “Learning Synergy Summit 2016”, which was held at the Rockwell Business Center in Pasig City last November 29, 2016.
Unlike in past summits, wherein only Lopez Group HR practitioners were the attendees, this unique gathering was aimed at increasing the awareness of employees on the importance of corporate sustainability, promoting a culture of collaboration and partnership among the various disciplines in implementing sustainable practices within the Lopez Group, and inspiring commitment and action from the participants.
Borne out of a collaborative effort from the Lopez Group HR Council, Lopez Group CSR Council, OML Center, and the FPH Sustainability Group, the activity went underway as Ms. Cedie Lopez-Vargas delivered the Welcome Remarks.
Lopez-Vargas said that at the core of this annual event is the main theme around which we build the entire program of activities. This is carefully conceived from among relevant issues, new corporate strategies and directions, areas of opportunities, and other matters that pose significant impact on our businesses or the welfare of our employees.
A few months ago, FPH Chairman Piki Lopez stated unequivocally that First Philippine Holdings 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”. During the third annual summit of the Shareholders’ Association of the Philippines, Chairman Lopez also identified the threat of climate change as the single issue in the world today that embodies all the seven (7) 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”.
Because of these serious concerns, it was only fitting that we made “Creating a Sustainable Future” the theme of this summit.
A Keynote Message followed suit concerning “Towards a Sustainable Future for the Philippines and the Global Community” by no other than the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources herself, Ms. Gina Lopez.
Ms. Lopez talked about the “Ugong Rock Adventures” project by ABS-CBN Foundation, in collaboration with the Department of Tourism and the City of Puerto Princesa, wherein a community residing there was raping the environment but living around an 18 million year rock formation, which was transformed into one of the most exciting tourism activities in Puerto Princesa, thus vastly improving the livelihood in the area.
She also showcased the continuous development of the La Mesa Watershed, which is a joint project of the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System, and Quezon City, as well as the La Mesa Ecopark.
As a staunch plant lover, she enthusiastically discussed to the audience the importance of the Bamboo plant, its economic importance, nutritional and medicinal benefits, contribution to eco-tourism, its ecological benefit, and its role in soil conservation. In addition, she also elaborated on the significance of mangroves, as well as the presence of a man-made mangrove area in Bohol.
Three plenary sessions were scheduled for the entire day, opening the curtains with “Sustainability and the Business”.
The first talk concerning “Understanding Sustainability” was elaborated by Dr. Winston Padojinog, the President of the University of Asia and the Pacific.
According to Dr. Padojinog, Business Sustainability is the creation of firm value with due consideration of 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 (TBL), which is a framework that incorporates three dimensions of business performance: Prosperity, Planet, and People. A business must promote a livable, equitable, and viable operation in order to create value and to meet societal & environmental objectives.
Up next was a talk regarding “Sustainability for Business and Financial Stability” courtesy of Ms. Agnes de Jesus, the Chief Sustainability Officer of First Philippine Holdings.
Demands of business and people are bordering on the environmental and social thresholds.
There is a term called “Quadruple Squeeze”, wherein due to issues from 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 planet Earth are severely restrained. A company needs to manage risks – financial, operational, regulatory, and reputational.
The next plenary session was aimed at “Sustainability towards a Clean and Green Environment”.
Climate Leader and Advocate Mr. Rodne Galicha discussed “The Climate Reality Project”, a global, multi-sectoral alliance advocating grassroots participation in climate change issues, and was followed up by “Green Buildings” from Mr. Christopher de la Cruz, the Chief Executive Officer of the Philippine Green Building Council, a Filipino non-stock corporation that promotes green initiatives.
Rounding up the sessions were discussions focused on “Sustainability in Action”.
Mr. Raphael "Paeng" Lopez, a Health Energy Initiative Campaigner, introduced “Health Care Without Harm”, which is a part of a strong global network of hundreds of member parties. This organization is at the center of transforming the health care sector worldwide, without compromising patient safety or care.
Since climate change is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, the delivery of quality health services must be sustained especially in times of disaster. Good health and well-being ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages. Affordable and clean energy ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all. Lastly, climate action means taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts by regulating emissions and promoting developments in renewable energy.
Taking the next stand was Ms. Rina Lopez-Bautista, Executive Director of Knowledge Channel, wherein she talked about “Sustainable Future through Education”.
Knowledge Channel is being operated by the Knowledge Channel Foundation, Inc. (KCFI), which is a non-stock, non-profit institution focusing towards educating and empowering poor and marginalized children throughthe use of media that they realize their full potential to best serve themselves, their communities, and help build a better world. Due to KCFI’s presence, there was a huge 45% passing rate increase in the National Achievement Test results in 2015.
From faraway south of the archipelago, Datu Samuel Asicam, who is the Executive Director of the Mt. Apo Foundation, Inc. (MAFI), delivered a presentation regarding “A Journey Towards Upliftment and Inclusivity”, which talks about MAFI’S road to success.
In the 80’s, there were a series of anti-geothermal energy protests, but despite these occurrences, consultations still went on, and a simple visit at a facility in Leyte changed the way how we see geothermal energy. Back then, there were no paved roads and bridges, and students have to endure these conditions just to obtain education. Presently, MAFI has already implemented various programs in the aspects of educational development, environmental consciousness, community assistance, and tribal capability. In addition, MAFI has also produced several scholars, some of which have even passed licensure examinations.
With all three sessions ending up with loads of inspiration and hope for the betterment of our motherland, a “Call to Action” portion ensued, wherein all participants did a workshop and gave their utmost commitment to help create a sustainable future for the present and forthcoming generations.
When the event proper reached its endpoint, none other than the Philippine Ambassador to Japan, Mr. Manuel Lopez provided the Closing Remarks to a thunderous applause.
Capping of the day were the socials, which was sponsored by Sky Cable, as several employees enthusiastically joined the fun games, coupled with bigger smiles in the end, as the raffle prizes kept coming in.
Hats off to the following session moderators, namely, Mr. Carlo Salonga (VP for HR and Admin, First Balfour Inc.), Ms. Marianne Quebral (Executive Director, OML Center), Mr. Dario Pagcaliwagan (Lopez Group Foundation, Inc.), Mr. Sidney Cordero (First Gen Corporation), Ms. Marianna Vargas (OML Center), and to all those who have contributed to the rousing success of this first-ever undertaking.
Truly...a summit like no other!