SEC navigates Philippine ESG toward interoperability  at 10th Annual SEC-PSE Corporate Governance Forum

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) successfully hosted the 10th Annual SEC-PSE Corporate Governance Forum (CG Forum) last November 24, 2023 at the SecECenter in The SEC Headquarters in Makati City.

This marked the first in-person CG Forum since the onset of the pandemic, drawing an impressive attendance of approximately 400 participants. The forum was primarily attended by publicly-listed companies (PLC) and corporate governance institutional training providers (CG-ITP).

The event, conducted in collaboration with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Philippine Sustainability Reporting Committee (PSRC), reaffirmed the Commission’s commitment as a staunch advocate of good corporate governance in the Philippines.   

In his opening remarks, SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino emphasized the significance of the event in promoting good corporate governance in the corporate sector.

“Over the past decade, this CG forum has grown into a flagship event not just for the Commission but for corporate leaders, governance experts, sustainability leaders, and industry influencers who are deeply passionate about fostering transparency, accountability, and ethical practices within the business world,” stated Chairperson Aquino.

Distinguished speakers included Ramon S. Monzon, President and CEO of the PSE; Christine A. Engstrom of the Asian Development Bank (ADB); Edwine Carrie of UNDP; Ma. Katreena Pillejera of GRI; and Rebekah Eubanks of USAID Philippines.

The CG Forum comprised the following key parts: a) Session 1 on

Interoperability of Global Sustainability Reporting Frameworks, b) Session 2 on Social Challenges in Corporate Governance, and c) Workshop on the Revised Sustainability Reporting Guidelines and the Sustainability Reporting (SuRe) Form (SR Workshop).

The panel discussion for Session 1, moderated by PSE Chief Operating Officer Roel A. Refran, focused on Interoperability of Global Sustainability Reporting Frameworks. The panel comprised of local and international subject matter experts, namely: Thomas Villegas of Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), Allinnettes Go Adigue of GRI, and Chairperson Benjamin N. Villacorte of PSRC. The discussions focused on the interoperability of each of the leading global sustainability reporting frameworks, standards, and regulatory disclosure requirements and how these may be harmonized in order to produce relevant and meaningful sustainability reports.

Session 2, moderated by SEC Commissioner McJill Bryant T. Fernandez, explored the social dimensions in corporate governance, particularly the extent of social sustainability and how companies will be able to mitigate and address risks through corporate governance. The panel included subject experts such as Maya Fachrani Faisal of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Philippines, Artak Melkonyan of UNDP, Rondell Torres of Unilever Philippines, and Lauren Wetherilt of the Living Wage Foundation.

In the afternoon session, the SR Workshop was facilitated by Rachel Esther J. Gumtang-Remalante, director of the SEC Corporate Governance and Finance Department, and Bonar A. Laureto, a member of the PSRC.

The seamless conduct of the workshop was made possible by the invaluable contributions of technical volunteers from the private sector: Ricardo Maulion, Shinji Caday, Ma. Celina Anonuevo, Argel Cabanero, Mariam Hazel Pugoy, Roberto Jimenez, Dianne Llarena, Aronle Kenniker, Abraham Bonnevie, Jenny

Menes, Aira Gomez, Fernando Salud, Kevin Henson, June Bulaon, Ricardo

Tantoco, Dubhe Mayor, Francisco Miguel De La Cruz, Laurence Lloyd Lumagbas, Rose Josol, and Marianne Goldy Yancha. Their dedication, creativity and expertise greatly enhanced the overall success of the event.

The Annual CG Forum concluded with the awarding winners of the 2nd SEC

Gender and Development (GAD) Awards with the theme, “Recognizing the Role of Women in the Corporate World.”

Monde Nissin Corporation was awarded Company with Most Women Directors, while Ana Margarita “Ginggay” Hontiveros-Malvar, First Vice President and Chief Reputation and Sustainability Officer of the Aboitiz Group, and Christine O. Tueres, Group General Manager of Robinsons Retail Holdings, Inc. (Southstar Drug, Inc.), were awarded as Private Sector Sustainability Champion.

These recognitions aim to empower women to lead sustainability initiatives, and be top-performing, highest level executives of their respective organizations.

The celebration of the 10th Annual CG Forum underscores the Commission’s dedication to improving corporate governance and sustainability reporting in the Philippines, which aligns with international best practices and the latest developments in international sustainability standards and frameworks. The Commission looks forward to future milestones like this event to celebrate, raise awareness, and promote corporate governance among corporate leaders and other stakeholders alike.