Corporations are seen heeding greater scrutiny from the global investor community not just in sustaining profitability but in helping take care of the planet and the people.

During the first ever Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) workshop in the Philippines, Tim Daniels, consultant for investor relations at the country’s largest conglomerate, SM Investments, said there was a growing trend among global investors in monitoring companies’ compliance to sustainability disclosures.

Daniels said several funds were selecting companies with proven sustainability track records. These global funds also expect to see how corporate activities relate to the 21 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the United Nations and use reports from several sustainability rating agencies for their investment decisions.

“We recognize the urgent call of organizations such as the CDP to act to prevent dangerous climate change and environmental damage. SM is committed to increasing awareness of the importance of these initiatives through a combination of education, measurement and disclosure and by taking the actions needed,” Daniels said.

As part of the CDP efforts of the SM Group, Daniels said SM’s banking unit, BDO Unibank had created a unit focused on green funding which financed P14.1 billion worth of sustainable energy projects last year. These projects are seen to avoid over 636,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission per year.

In its department stores, SM invests in energy-efficient equipment and measurement tools and continue with efforts to convert more than 274,000 lighting fixtures to LEDs (light-emitting diode). In its malls, SM has increased its use of recycled water by 56 percent to 5.6 million cubic meters in 2017 from 3.6 million cubic meters in 2014.

In 2014, SM launched 5,760 solar panels on the rooftop of SM City North Edsa and the installation has now grown to 33,000 solar panels across all SM Malls. In 2017, SM malls generated 3.8 million tons of solid waste of which 1.5 million tons was recycled.

“We can see a link that runs from sustainable practices and transparent reporting through to investor recognition and shareholder support and to superior market performance,” Daniels said.

The first CDP workshop in the Philippines, held on May 7 at the SMX Convention Center in SM Aura, drew a number of both private and public representatives including the provinces of Bulacan, Batangas, Laguna, Makati, Pasig, Muntinlupa, Cebu, Iloilo, Bacolod and Dipolog.

CDP aims to bring together companies, investors and cities in the Philippines to facilitate cross-sectoral knowledge-sharing on environmental disclosure and the key actions needed for the transition to a sustainable, resilient economy through a one-day workshop.

In 2017, about 6,300 companies and more than 570 cities globally disclosed their data related to climate change, water and forests risks, opportunities, impact and actions through CDP. —DORIS DUMLAO-ABADILLA

Source: Inquirer