MANOLO FORTICH, Bukidnon (PIA)—In its 100th year, the Aboitiz Group’s best practices in environmental management, social responsibility, and good governance are strengthening its ongoing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) response, similar to how the group’s corporate values strengthened the establishment of the company amid an earlier pandemic a century ago.
Aboitiz & Co. traces its roots to the 1800s as an abaca trading and general merchandise business in Ormoc, Leyte. It was formally incorporated in 1920. Today, it serves as the private holding company of the Aboitiz family.
The Aboitiz Group was established as the world grappled with the challenges of the 1918 influenza pandemic, considered by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “the most severe pandemic in recent history.”
“The timing of our 100th anniversary this year is a fitting reminder to all of us that Aboitiz was built and strengthened over the course of a century, weathering many adversities and overcoming hard times,” said Sabin M. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Group President and Chief Executive Officer.
The Aboitiz Group prevailed and this year, the Group celebrates its centennial anniversary and looks forward to the next 100 years with sustainability at the core of its operations across its various business units.
“A sustainable future is only certain when it is firmly anchored on what is consistent. For 100 years, Aboitiz has been consistent in living out our values and in adapting to change. We are committed to delivering one purpose and for the next 100 years, I am confident that as OneAboitiz, we can build a future that will transcend for generations to come,” Aboitiz said.
Globally, companies’ environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) performance is fast being recognized as a reliable indicator of its potential long-term market position and ability to perform during challenging times.
Amid today’s health crisis, for instance, the Aboitiz Group’s response hinges on its ESG initiatives and how these address various social issues that hinder community developmentーand under a new normal at that.
Under Environment, there have been opportunities for fuel, energy, and water consumption reduction in business operations as the company continues its environmental management efforts.
Under Social, the Aboitiz Group ensures a healthy and safe work environment by maximizing the use of digital tools to adjust to a work from home arrangement, team engagement, and corporate social responsibility programs for COVID-19 response.
Under Governance, Aboitiz has demonstrated a strong balance sheet that is resilient to financial implications without undermining economic contributions to society. The Aboitiz Group’s business continuity plans are proving to be effective. COVID-19 has also tested and continues to test the company’s governance in terms of risk management and planning.
The Aboitiz Group put together a COVID-19 Technical Working Group which implements guidelines on the company’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The team also regularly updates the group-wide Business Continuity Plan, Business Impact Analysis, and Business Recovery Plan in collaboration with all business units based on different scenarios.
The business recovery plan also includes a review of profit and loss, cash flow impact, and risk mitigation measures to address any negative impact. Learnings during the quarantine are also being reviewed to provide input on how processes can be improved in work moving forward.
Overall, the Group’s COVID-19 efforts aim to address immediate concerns on safety and these efforts were made possible through stakeholder partnerships, recognizing that greater and closer collaboration between the government and the private sector can help mitigate COVID-19’s impact.
To date, the Aboitiz Group’s total contribution to the national COVID-19 response effort has reached over P2.2 billion (excluding various payments waived, reduced, extended, or restructured to help customers cope with the impact of COVID-19), underscoring the group’s sustained campaign to help address the urgent needs of frontliners and affected communities nationwide. (Thet R. Mesias, JJDS-Hedcor AboitizPower/PIA Bukidnon)