SM Prime Holdings’ Hans T. Sy converged with the national government and key business leaders at the opening day of the first multi-stakeholder forum organized by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
“My vision for the environmentally resilient Philippines is simply a clean, green, and disaster-resilient country. The priority is for all sectors to be in solidarity, engaging and working together with the survival of the planet, and ourselves, in mind,” said Sy, chairman of the Executive Board at SM Prime, during the 2022 DENR Multi-Stakeholder Forum at the Diamond Hotel on October 5.
During his talk, Sy noted that having a solid tripartite system—composed of the government, the private sector, and the academe—is crucial in environmental resilience research and innovations, policy, education, budget, and tax among others.
“The government is not alone in nation-building. The private sector is here to join you as partners to provide a whole-of-society approach, towards an inclusive, prosperous, and sustainable Philippines.”
For businesses, he underscored the value of internal strategic planning to “ensure there are enough resources to last for generations to come.” To do that, attention, allocation, and investment in the conservation of natural resources must be included in responsible land development, sustainable operations, good governance, and stable financial structures plans.
On the resilience front, Sy encouraged the government and the private sector to be prepared for disasters that have become more intense and frequent.
“Good urban planning, infrastructure development, and internal processes must have resilience as a priority. To reduce the risk, we must reduce our vulnerability and exposure. We must ‘look before we leap’ by way of risk-informed decisions,” he said.
Mr. Sy also emphasized that the government must have open communication with the private sector and that it would be advisable to involve businesses in creating and revisiting policies to ensure compliance.
He lauded the DENR for updating some of its policies and furthered that the department may consider having industry-specific policies for businesses, especially SMEs, that may be implemented and adopted widely.
Sy, a key figure in the private sector’s advocacy for sustainable development, was joined by Ramon S. Ang, president and CEO, San Miguel Corporation; Lance Gokongwei, president and CEO, JG Summit Holdings, Inc.; Federico Lopez, chairman and CEO, First Philippine Holdings Corporation; Manuel Paolo Villar, president and CEO, Vista Land and Lifescapes, Inc.; and Mariana Zobel de Ayala, senior vice president, Consumer Bank Marketing and Digital Platforms, Bank of the Philippine Islands, during the private sector’s plenary session. Each shared their perspectives about the Philippines being environmentally resilient and what the DENR can do as a development partner.
More than 200 from the private and business sectors, other government agencies, academe, civil society, civic organizations, non-government organizations, and people’s organizations, among others, joined the three-day DENR Multi-stakeholder Forum.