Business and Society in the Land of Plenty


This mini-documentary reminds of that line in the movie The Dark Knight Rises, “How can you live so large and leave so little for the rest of us”.

The Philippine legislature has passed the Reproductive Health Bill just before the 2012 ended, amidst fireworks of some sorts from both pro and anti supporters.

Whatever either side eschews, my belief is that is now time to have a holistic program that encompasses issues such as family planning, abortion or contraception. I pity the distorted logic of one particular clergy who, together with another senator, espoused a burgeoning population of Filipinos because they are the source of migrant workers and remittances that prop up the economy. And so I ask: Is this belief of yours sustainable? A big population may be a source of power (economic or military or economic) but the reality of the country’s situation does not guarantee that. Before these millions-strong of labor force can be tapped, billions of investment on health and education will be required, billions of resources that a cash-strapped government does not have all the time. How do this bishop and senator expect unskilled labor to provide economic muscle? And given that they can be exported as laborers, what is the impact of this diaspora will have on the social fabric of the country?

Watch this video and assess for yourself.


Thank you for visiting my blog — I got 11,000 visits in 2012


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 11,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 18 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Corporate Sustainability Videos: Spotlight on Energy Development Corporation


Today’s blog features Energy Development Corporation or EDC. EDC has been instrumental in making geothermal energy viable in this part of the world. From its inception as a state-owned corporation to its privatization as part of the Lopez Group, EDC has always blazed the trail in developing sustainable power projects. Most of its initiatives in environmental management are now modeled in national regulatory processes like the promulgation of social benefits to host communities (ER 1-94) and the application of the scoping and social acceptability process in the Environmental Impact Assessment Statement.

EDC is the only energy company in the Philippines to earn the Client Leadership Award from the World Bank-International Finance Corporation after Manila Water Company.

This video shares its story on how EDC had shaped and is continuing to shape the practice of sustainability in the developing energy projects. The company has international expansion programs in Indonesia, Peru and Chile.

Disclaimer: The views written in this blog is that of the author only and may not necessarily represent the organizations or entities mentioned.


An Industrial Past and a Sustainable Future


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I have always been fascinated by the industrial revolution that began in Manchester. Imagine yourself standing in the middle of a beautiful tumult – new way of doing things, new way of thinking, new world order. Commerce and trade bustled more in Manchester than in any part of the world. The Guardian once wrote. “What Manchester does today, the world does tomorrow.” Indeed, Manchester was the epicenter that rocked the world.

Now, imagine my exhilaration when in the autumn of 2010, I finally set foot on Manchester’s soil to pursue a long-awaited dream. That bohemian Britannic mood was palpable in the air and I can almost feel the metallic vibe of Manchester’s historical importance as the birthplace of the industrial revolution. And yet, the urban blight and pollution that characterized that era is no longer visible. Forward-looking architecture punctuates the skyline with environmentally designed buildings that are made even more stunning with their bizarre structure. What I saw is a city moving forward in a sustainable manner. The spirit of sustainability is evident in the University of Manchester where I spent a year to pursue further education under the auspices of the Foreign Commonwealth Office as one of the three Filipino Chevening scholars that year.

 

Leaving an Indelible Mark

The university’s business school is the only academic institution in the world to offer a Master of Science degree in corporate communications and reputation management. The business school encourages the application of original thinking. The historical role of business and its relationship with society produces quite different articulations of the sustainable development agenda. A credible business reputation does influence the interpretation of sustainability and therefore, the appropriation (or non-appropriation) of resources to make it happen (or not). My dissertation pursued a research topic that showcased a sustainable business model in the Philippines.

Booth Street West became my second home in Manchester. It houses the business school where I attended classes. A month after I joined the university, professors Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work on the grapheme, which at just one atom thick is the strongest material known to man. The university now has 25 Nobel laureates under its belt. For the first time in living memory, this red brick university has more Nobel Prize winners on its staff than either Oxford (which has none) or Cambridge (which has two). Nobel winners who teach at the university are former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz and Sir John Sulston who cracked the DNA sequence of the nematode.

There is joy to be found in working in an interdisciplinary environment, much more in a multi-cultural mix. In my course, the Brits are the minorities and we Asians are the majority. The coursework expanded my understanding of the different facets of the sustainability paradigm and provided new skills that I can definitely use when I go back to work.

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Seasons and Lessons

Like the changing of the seasons, Manchester is a continuing transformation. It may no longer be the workshop of the world but it certainly influenced modern-day capitalism and politics. To experience its culture, to learn more its history and to take inspiration on what it is doing for its future – all these motivate me to be an influencer of change in my own right, to be able to tell the world our story and how Filipinos are perfecting a renewable energy technology as a solution to the climate change problem. Today, I work for a renewable energy company where its impact reaches 18,000 households and 9 million customers. Unlike too many companies today, it does not use sustainability to greenwash bad practices. I am proud to be part of an organization that leads the business sector in this way of thinking.

With the many exciting things that the Chevening scholarship has brought me, I know that my journey is just beginning. Manchester is demonstrating that a toxic past can be washed away and replaced with a cleaner future. Its future is green and bright and I see no reason why ours here in the country should not be.

 

This blog post is a re-print from the alumni story in the webpage of the UK Embassy in Manila.


Corporate Sustainability Video Series: Spotlight on Ayala Corporation


Manila Water Company, an Ayala-led corporation was the very first listed company to publish a sustainability report in the Philippines. In 2007, Manila Water was also the Client Leadership Awardee of the International Finance Corporation.

It’s experience is inspiring the other Ayala companies to embark on a sustainability journey. A little blue bird tells me that in 2013, the Ayala group will be publishing its GRI-based sustainability report with an assurance statement, and probably at A level of application. It’s about time. For a moment, I thought they were lagging in sustainability leadership as energy giants Energy Development Corporation of the Lopez Group and Petron Corporation of the San Miguel Group have been shaping the practice in the Philippines.

In the next blog, we feature the sustainability video of Energy Development Corporation. Stay tuned.

Disclaimer: This blog post reflects the personal view of the author and not of the companies mentioned herein.


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