First Gen, ALI, Megaworld feted as ‘Sustainability Champions’
MANILA -More and more Filipino companies are weaving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) into every fabric of their businesses, but three Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE)-listed companies have outperformed their peers.
First Gen Corp., Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) and Megaworld Corp. were handpicked as “Sustainability Champions for 2023” by local fund management firm ATR Asset Management (Atram) using a proprietary scorecard that tracks how companies integrate the UN SDGs into their core operations.
Now on its second year, the Atram Sustainable Investing Awards feted “outstanding Philippine companies for their initiatives that help create a positive impact in the field of sustainability, especially in their core operations.”
Lopez family-led First Gen was cited as the “Wellness Champion” for its sustained support for clean energy and improvements in water and energy utilization. It was also commended for supporting multiple scholars and providing above-average training and investments in the well-being of its workforce.
Handpicked as the “Progress Champion” was Megaworld, which has committed to attain carbon neutrality. The tycoon Andrew Tan-led firm has also improved effort toward better waste management, Atram says. It is also one of the few property companies that have minimized the impact of economic crisis on workforce size, it adds.
ALI was cited as the “Fairness Champion,” which recognized commitment to promote entrepreneurship and respect for rule of law and human rights, including gender equality and diversity.
While it also has strengths in terms of integrating climate action into sustainability initiatives, ALI “shows fairness in terms of higher wages for bottom-ranked employees, narrower gender pay differential and support for entrepreneurs within its malls,” Atram says.
Overall, First Gen and ALI were tied as Atram’s overall “Sustainability Champions” as they both received the highest score using Atram’s scoring framework.
“Just like these champions, Atram endeavors to contribute to society and protect the earth. Atram takes on tomorrow with initiatives to reduce its ecological footprint by setting rules on waste generation and investing in carbon capture partnerships. Atram’s SDG Fund is our first product that empowers investors in pushing for responsible corporate actions, but it definitely will not be our last,” says Atram president and CEO Phillip Hagedorn.
Sandra Araullo, Atram chief investment officer, adds, “Last year, we broadened our search for companies that use their capital not just in the pursuit of financial returns but also returns to the community and the environment. We are increasingly optimistic that more and more companies are taking on the sustainability challenge and excited to report their progress and actions.”
A leading independent asset manager in the Philippines, Atram has supported the UN SDGs with the launch of the only SDG-focused fund in the Philippines two years ago. Atram Philippine Sustainable Development and Growth Fund has continued to significantly outperform the PSE composite index since its inception despite challenging macroeconomic conditions and volatile markets. This illustrates the benefit of sustainability integration in creating long-term value.
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