Countries around the world, including the Philippines, should go beyond sustainability if they want to survive the worsening business interruptions in the future, according to Federico ‘Piki’ Lopez who was recognized by the Management Association of the Philippines as the Management Man of the Year for 2020.
In his acceptance speech during the awarding ceremony, Lopez, chairman of First Philippine Holdings Corp., one of the country’s biggest conglomerates, said the COVID-19 pandemic is just a mere “firedrill” for what’s coming and demonstrates the scale at which things need to change.
“We are living in a time that calls for great paradigm shifts, and businesses that seek to thrive in this era must be able to reimagine and redesign themselves for this new world,” said Lopez.
“In this kind of a world, corporate sustainability that seeks to simply tick the box or do less harm is no longer good enough,” he said.
Lopez said merely sustaining today’s current trajectory would result not only in greater disasters “but also more unjust towards those without the capacity to cope with the devastating changes that are already here, and continue to escalate that are already here, and continue to escalate.”
He encouraged businesses to align themselves, their resources and their capabilities to help heal the world in time.
”There is an urgency for all of us to go beyond incremental sustainability and transform into regenerative forces that align our profit engines with the need for a better, more just world and a safer planet,” said Lopez.
“Collectively, we have the creativity and innovative energy needed to solve the world’s greatest problems. Unlocking these will be the foundation to some of the greatest business opportunities in the coming century,” he said.
Lopez said the devastation wrought by typhoon Yolanda and other natural disasters firmed up the group’s “no-to-coal” declaration in 2016.
He said the decision was not easy, given the doubts whether it made sense to shut the door on coal “and walk away from a profit opportunity, or compete in the power industry with one hand tied behind your back.”
“Despite the doubters, let me say we never wavered and never once regretted the decision, most especially today. But the year 2020 has been a bizarre year for all of us. These last few months made what was unthinkable, tangible and real. We now live in a world that’s not merely complicated but tightly interrelated and complex,” Lopez said.
Lopez said today’s unprecedented times have been begging for a new narrative and a new paradigm for how people live, work, do business and even how to measure success and progress.
As such, FPHC and the Lopez Group crystallized its mission this year: “To forge collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future”.
FPH’C’s major business segments are in power generation, real estate development, manufacturing, and construction and other services. FPH’s other activities consist of construction, geothermal well drilling, oil transporting, securities transfer services, healthcare, education, investment holdings and financing.
Lopez said the new company mission solidifies FPHC’s role in the transition to a decarbonized energy system.
“But it goes beyond energy and anticipates dealing with the many adaptive challenges needed to redesign how we live, work, and do business in a changed world,” Lopez said.
He said the use of “sustainable” in a world that’s so badly in need of healing and renewal is no longer appropriate.
Lopez said the company also took the challenge of using the word “regenerative” with all the responsibility it carries.
“The word we used very deliberately was collaborative as we believe we cannot do this alone…if we find ourselves ahead and alone at the finish line, we will have failed in our mission,” he said.
The MAP Management Man of the Year is a prestigious award that MAP bestows on individuals in the business community or government for attaining unquestioned distinction in the practice of management and for contributing to the country’s progress.
The conferment of the award follows a thorough, stringent selection process. The distinction has only been conferred 44 times in the five-decade history of the award.
The criteria for the award include integrity, leadership and management qualities; contribution to nation-building and values formation; effective stewardship within the confines of the highest standard of business and management practice; among others.
The MAP said Lopez was chosen for passionately pushing for the country’s transition to a low-carbon economy through his various advocacies to proactively address the irreparable damage of climate change.
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