Maybank Foundation in coordination with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, and in support of the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion held today at the Forbes Ballroom of Conrad Manila, an ESG Executive Forum attended some 200 participants from a multi-sectoral representation of the private sector that pledged collaboration to advance environment, social and governance (ESG) initiatives within their ranks.
A Message from the BSP Governor, Nestor Espenilla, and the BSP Agenda for Financial Inclusion, Digital Finance and Sustainable Finance was the main headline of the Forum, delivered by BSP Managing Director Pia Bernadette Roman Tayag, Inclusive Finance Advocacy Office and Concurrent Head – Financial Consumer Protection Department. The presentation took the Forum’s theme, “Humanising financial services through financial inclusion and sustainable finance”.
The Forum’s main highlights were two panels of discussion, each heightening awareness of ESG and its importance in long-term development of the country by deep commitment to cover the marginalized, unbanked and under-banked sector.
Taking the first panel with the theme, “The value of sustainable finance and financial inclusion”, AIM Professor Felipe Calderon tackled “The Importance of ESG in companies operating in the Philippines”, citing academic research on different corporate initiatives. Maybank Foundation Chief Executive Officer Shahril Azuar Jimin, took the example of Maybank Group’s ESG strategy as a regional strength in advancing responsible financing, and successfully driving it in ASEA. He presented the strong progress under the Reach Independence & Social Entrepreneurship (R.I.S.E.) Program in SEA, including the Philippines’ impressive comparative progress results in the rise of income for persons with disabilities based on financial training and coaching granted by the Foundation.
Three speakers for the second panel with the theme, “Financial Inclusion and Sustainability Practices of Corporations and Financial Institutions: Success Stories, Opportunities and Challenges” took turns in sharing their respective success stories as well as opportunities and challenges.
CARD Bank Founder and Chairman Emeritus Dr. Jaime Aristotle Alip, shared the micro-finance initiative has successfully formalized its micro lending operations by transforming itself into a formal financial institution. NGCP (National Grid Corporation of the Philippines) Assistant Vice President Redi Remoroza detailed the company’s contribution in community building through its power lines, contributing to strong environmental protection programs. Climate Change Commission Assistant Secretary Atty. Romell Cuenca outlined potential initiatives from the government for green products, services and processes under the Green Jobs Law.
In his welcome speech, PCEO Wai Hong emphasized the importance of the event. He said:
“As a responsible corporate citizen, Maybank is committed to ensuring good environmental, social and governance practices, including the promotion of sustainable finance. This is very much aligned to our mission of Humanising Financial Services. Our ESG framework has been developed to be in line with the Maybank Group’s sustainability strategy for all of the Group’s business activities.”
At the end of the ESG Executive Forum, Wai Hong’s call to action was strong:
“ We recognize the need to work more effectively with new partners such as ourselves to identify and close market gaps. We realize that developing an enabling environment for improvements in supporting financial inclusion markets and products is not an overnight exercise. But together, we hope to influence the way that investors need to look beyond short-term financial performance and look into how businesses are run. We hope that with an earnest ESG framework well within our respective spheres of doing business, we can impact on decisions on investment that are not just about returns, but are also about ensuring healthy, productive and sustainable economies and societies.”