The Enduring Benefit of Investing Sustainably
SM’s journey towards becoming a more sustainable company began as far back as five to six decades ago when founded by Henry Sy, Sr. on solid principles of service, fairness, and progress for all.
“Our journey on sustainability is shown by how the group has grown and how we think about our responsibilities. It is about how we do our business by looking, after all, our stakeholders,” Tim Daniels, Consultant and Head of Investor Relations at SM Investments Corporation said in a recent BusinessWorld ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) forum.
SM’s vital ecosystem consists of diverse stakeholders from hundreds of thousands of employees, over 80,000 micro, small and medium enterprises, millions of customers and a nationwide footprint of properties and businesses.
Throughout the years, SM has endeavored to create value as a responsible business to help attain longevity and resilience for all. This was put further to the test with the COVID-19 pandemic which forced companies to come up with a win-win strategy for its business and stakeholders.
“How do we create value and how do we share that value? That’s our starting point for how we think about sustainability and with that mindset under the COVID 19 experience, it made decision-making quick because it starts with our stakeholders,” Daniels said.
During the pandemic, SM focused on safety, innovation, and resilience as a strategy. This is to ensure its employees and customers have a safe and sanitized environment aligned with protocols; that convenience is provided by adjusting how stakeholders access products and services, and meaningful support was given to sectors that needed them most.
Daniels said the company was rewarded by investors who now understand the company and its sustainability story better.
SM’s path to sustainable growth is focused on providing inclusive economic opportunities through multiple partnerships; creating positive social impact; practicing environmental responsibility and embracing good corporate governance with the objective of building an ecosystem of vibrant local economies.
“Since investors have been understanding us better, that multiple (or premium to the Philippine market) has widened, even faster than our earnings have grown. It’s because people have recognized the quality of company that we are. As it goes on, we start to look at more technical ways to engage and that for us is a positive journey,” Daniels said.
He also sees higher demand for stronger sustainability practices and reporting as industries globally introduce new measurements, frameworks and metrics to cater to investors putting sustainability on top of their agenda.
“We shouldn’t lose focus on what are the material things to our company and what it needs to do to be responsible. Thinking sustainably leads your investments into the right areas,” Daniels said.