Philippine economy

UN honors Zobel de Ayala as pioneer of sustainable development

Chris Schnabel

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UN honors Zobel de Ayala as pioneer of sustainable development
Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala becomes the first business leader from the Philippines and Southeast Asia to be recognized by the United Nations for efforts in 'championing sustainability'

MANILA, Philippines – The United Nations (UN) honored Ayala Corporation chairman and chief executive officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala for his efforts in steering the Ayala Group toward a more sustainable direction.

The UN announced on Thursday, September 14, that it has recognized Zobel de Ayala as one of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Pioneers.

The UN noted that Zobel de Ayala is the first SDG Pioneer from the Philippines and Southeast Asia. He is one of 10 individuals from around the world recognized for “championing sustainability through their own companies and mobilizing the broader business community to take action in pursuit of the 17 SDGs.”

As UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director Lise Kingo explained, “Each of the 2017 SDG Pioneers is exhibiting how companies and pioneering individuals can be a force for positive change in addressing the issues we all face today.”

She added: “Mr Zobel de Ayala has been impactful in reaching a wider segment of the business market through innovation and diversification. He has been a pioneer in the inclusion of long-term sustainability in business strategy and operations.”

In recent years, Ayala Corporation has deepened its presence in what it calls social infrastructure or the services that impact the daily lives of people, specifically through telecommunications, water, power, and infrastructure.

It has also ventured into education through its chain of private high schools, APEC Schools, as well as healthcare through its investments in Generika Pharmacy and MedGrocer.

Ayala Corporation is also the first Philippine conglomerate to produce an integrated sustainability report. The company said it is “moving to include long-term sustainability targets for its businesses – which will form part of the companies’ and management’s key result areas.”

“I believe that now, more than ever, a deeper engagement with society is indispensable to the survival and success of private enterprises. From both a practical and moral standpoint, businesses cannot thrive in an environment rife with economic inequity,” Zobel de Ayala said in a statement.

“Ignoring these issues threatens our ability to create long-term value and jeopardizes the sustainability of the enterprise and markets,” he added.

The UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative. It calls on companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labor, environment, and anti-corruption, and to take actions that advance societal goals.

Each year, the UN Global Compact celebrates a group of SDG Pioneers – business leaders doing an exceptional job of advancing global goals. Hundreds of nominations were received from all over the world, from which 10 finalists were selected.

As one of the 10 finalists this year, Zobel de Ayala will join the 9 other pioneers to be recognized during the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2017 in New York on September 21. –

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