SM Investments Corporation (SM Investments) is enhancing its focus on sustainability as it reinforces its stewardship of the environment and the community.
As part of its strategy, SM is bolstering efforts on social good which promotes the accessibility to basic needs, such as education, inclusion and community support. It is also focusing on the SM Green Movement through group-wide, multi-year campaigns that feature priority initiatives under a Green Planet, Green Living, and a Green Culture.
SM highlighted some of these advocacies during the UNITED FOR CLIMATE: Sustainability Forum PH 2022 last November 28, 2022. The forum, led by the SM Group, in partnership with World Wide Fund for Nature – Philippines (WWF-Philippines), gathered private sector leaders, policymakers and civil society organizations in a multi-sectoral dialogue and alliance on climate action.
SM also continued its active participation in measures that help protect the environment. Last year saw the launch of the Grow Trees Community project of the SM Foundation and Fast Retailing Foundation to plant more trees across the Philippines while working closely with people’s organizations in the communities.
SM Foundation brings social development opportunities to SM host communities through its programs on education, health and wellness, sustainable agriculture and disaster relief.
SM Foundation established the SM Scholarship Program in 1993 to provide the youth access to quality tertiary and vocational education. Through these scholarship grants, SM contributes to eradicating the intergenerational poverty cycle by granting scholarships to economically challenged but deserving students.
To complement the efforts of the Philippine government and to provide opportunities for the youth in grassroot communities, SM Foundation also sponsors Technical-Vocational (tech-voc) scholarships.
In partnership with SM Prime, SM Foundation also donates school buildings equipped with key facilities needed by underserved communities.
Another social good pillar of SM Foundation is sustainable agriculture that aims to address the dilemma of the aging farmer population in the country as well as the growing gap between supply and demand for local food sources. In 2007, the foundation launched the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) on Sustainable Agriculture to bring modern and sustainable farming skills in both rural and urban communities, empowering farmers to have food on their table and create market linkage – providing them with agri-based economic opportunities.
Accessible healthcare and timely disaster relief are also at the heart of the foundation’s advocacy. Through its Health and Wellness program, SM Foundation helps address the shortage of quality healthcare facilities in the country by constructing and upgrading health centers in SM host communities supplemented by medical mission activities nationwide. The Operation Tulong Express (OPTE), on the other hand, provides immediate assistance in the form of relief goods and medical services in collaboration with SM Supermalls and SM Markets to communities affected by calamities and disasters that frequently occur in the country.
A significant portion of SM’s CAPEX incorporates resiliency and sustainability in its infrastructure designs.
A good example is the SM Mall of Asia complex, designed with a seawall in defense against potential storm surges or rising sea levels in anticipation of climate change. The SM structure is elevated by 4.5 meters high in MLLW (Mean Lower Low Water), and has a wave return and drainage channel to prevent flooding due to storm surges.
Since 2015, SM Prime has taken a leadership role in UN ARISE Philippines through SM Prime Executive Committee Chairman Hans T. Sy. As the local network of ARISE Global, the Private Sector Alliance for Disaster Resilient Societies, SM campaigns to make resiliency part of business and local government planning.
SM has also partnered with the government through the Adopt-a-City Program focused on building more climate-resilient communities in the country.
For his contributions to nation building and resiliency, Mr. Sy was recently conferred the TOFIL (The Outstanding Filipino) Award by the JCI Senate Philippines on December 12, 2022.
Mr. Sy’s recognition comes from his success in integrating sustainability and resilience in the framework of the SM Group’s operations. Under Mr. Sy’s leadership, SM has been a major player in disaster relief efforts and community assistance.
SM Prime Holdings, the SM Group’s property arm, is committed to deliver on its goal to increase its renewable energy portfolio to more than 50 percent this year.
It recently announced a long-term deal with AboitizPower for Cleanergy supply. This long-term contract will power SM Prime properties, including malls, leisure homes, offices, hotels, and other establishments under the Retail Competition and Open Access (RCOA) by yearend.
SM Investments, for its part, gained full ownership of Philippine Geothermal Production Company, Inc (PGPC).
PGPC operates the Tiwi and Mak-Ban steam fields. Tiwi is the first commercial-scale geothermal steam field development in Southeast Asia, followed by Mak-Ban, both in operation since 1979. Together they generate geothermal steam sufficient to produce approximately 300 MW of electricity. In addition to its two producing steam fields, PGPC also has several other greenfield concession areas for geothermal steam production which it will develop moving forward.
This investment reinforces the SM Group’s commitment to sustainability, good governance and acting as a catalyst for responsible development in the communities it serves.
SM Green Finds
To cater to evolving customer demand, SM Retail is making shopping for sustainable products more accessible and easier for customers with SM Green Finds at the SM Store.
SM offers various green finds through its home, fashion, and beauty departments, including
kitchenware made from high-quality bamboo, tableware made from acacia wood, fashion pieces crafted from recycled materials, and clean beauty products that are free from harmful chemicals. Its retail affiliates also offer eco-friendly options, which are either made from natural ingredients or produced by social enterprises. Kultura, for example, showcases handcrafted products made by artisans and social enterprises that use locally sourced materials such as abaca, bamboo and rattan.
SM Green Finds is part of the SM Green Movement, which aims to improve the quality of life of communities through sustainable solutions to promote a green planet, green living and a green culture.
Diversity and inclusion
SM upholds establishing measures of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Defined as the process by which efforts are made to ensure equal opportunities for all, social inclusion permeates across the Group as SM Investments signed on as a supporter of the United Nations Global Compact Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), joining over 3,000 other business leaders around the world.
Established by UN Global Compact and UN Women, the WEPs are a set of principles offering guidance to businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The company has also taken another major step with the appointment of SM Investments’ Senior Vice President Elizabeth Anne “Lizanne” C. Uychaco as its first Group Diversity Officer.
SM is an ally of women empowerment with a number of women leaders in key positions in the company. It provides equal opportunities with 63% of women in its workforce and 58% in senior leadership roles. It also maintains a mix of people from diverse backgrounds, generations and skillsets to mirror the diverse customers and communities it serves.