The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has once again been recognized for championing sustainability, as it continues to promote sustainable practices toward achieving long-term growth in the corporate sector.
The SEC was named as one of the Circle of Excellence awardees in the Sustainability Company of the Year category during the 14th Asia CEO Awards held at the Manila Marriott Hotel on October 24.
The Commission first received this distinction in 2021, which emphasized its unwavering commitment to embedding sustainability into all facets of its operations, while maintaining a sustainable and responsible business environment within its jurisdiction.
The award recognizes companies that have achieved success in environmental progress and demonstrated leadership and commitment to sustainability. The Asia CEO Awards is an annual program that aims to promote the Philippines as a premier business destination for global enterprises.
“This award shows our continued commitment to sustainability, and the role of the Commission in protecting our planet by incorporating sustainable practices in the corporate sector,” SEC Chairperson Emilio B. Aquino said.
“We believe that sustainability is crucial to ensure a better future for Filipinos, which is why the SEC has integrated holistic sustainability targets and initiatives within the organization, and continuously promotes the adoption of such initiatives in our covered entities,” he added.
Notably, this year, the Commission introduced the Sustainability Reporting (SuRe) Form, which features a tailored industry or sector-specific materiality and sets a new benchmark for transparency and disclosure in the corporate sector. The SEC's preparations for its own Sustainability Report serve as a pioneering testament to its dedication to transparency and accountability.
In addition, SEC also highlights the issuance of the SEC Memorandum Circular 18 series of 2023 or the “Guidelines on the Submission of Digital Copies of Applications, Compliance Documents and Other Requests, and Further Reducing the Number of Hard Copies to be Filed with the Commission” which was expected to significantly trim the administrative overhead cost through reduced printing costs, paper consumption, and associated logistics expenses of corporate filers.
Other than the abovementioned regulatory provision, the Commission also engaged in collaborative efforts with other regulatory entities in the financial sector to achieve the harmonization of national policies and the synchronization of regulations and sustainability initiatives, thereby promoting both interoperability and transparency within the Philippine sustainable finance capital market.
Over the last five years, the SEC has also released new rules and regulations aimed at pushing sustainability as part of the management strategy of Philippine corporations.
In 2019, it released SEC Memorandum Circular No. 4, Series of 2019, Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for Publicly Listed Companies, which guided publicly listed companies in their submission of sustainability reports to the Commission.
The Sustainability Reporting Guidelines are currently being updated to reflect new trends in international sustainability reporting standards, where the SEC will mandate companies to disclose their sustainability initiatives in two formats: the Sustainability Reporting Narrative and the Sustainability Report (SuRe) Form.
The SEC in 2022 also issued Memorandum Circular No. 11, Series of 2022, or the Rules on Sustainable and Responsible Investment Funds, which provide guidelines for newly formed and existing investment companies that are qualified as Sustainable and Responsible Investment Funds.
The Commission also adopted the ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards on April 13 where the SEC promulgated new rules concerning local and foreign companies that fall in line with the Framework for Cross-Border Offering of ASEAN Collective Investment Schemes. This was complimented a month later by the SEC’s renewal of its membership in the ASEAN Taxonomy Board.
Further, the SEC takes an active part as a sustainability leader in the region as member of the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum Sustainability Finance Working Group.
Previously, the SEC has garnered praise for its sustainability efforts with its receipt of the Global Good Governance (3G) Advocacy and Commitment to Corporate Governance Award from London-based Cambridge International Finance Advisory during the 8th 3G Annual Awards ceremony last May.
In the same ceremony, the SEC also received the 3G Championship Award in ESG Practices, given to organizations and institutions that champion emerging technologies and sustainable growth strategies.
In 2022, the SEC received for the second time the ISAR Honours Award conferred by the United Nations (UN) Conference on Trade and Development, in recognition of its contributions to achieving the UN Sustainability Development Goals (UN SDGs).
Internally, the Commission reaffirmed its dedication to sustainability through the SEC Sustainability Policy, which outlines the organization's objective to attain net-zero emissions by the year 2050. The SEC's sustainability and environmental programs, spearheaded by the SEC Sustainability Committee (SSC) and the “SEC GreEn Banc”— a once-a-month sustainability-focused Commission En Banc sessions led by the SEC Chairperson and Commissioners— have successfully catalyzed eco-consciousness in the SEC’s corporate culture. This year, the Commission also celebrated its 1st SEC Sustainability Week entitled SEC ’ s Sustain@ALL, which stands for “ Accelerating the Leap to Sustainable Living, ” which underscored the SEC ’ s consciousness and commitment to “walk the talk”.
In conclusion, the SEC's commitment to sustainability extends beyond its organizational boundaries as it influences the corporate sector and capital market to adopt responsible practices. Alignment with global targets like the UN SDGs and national policies, such as AmBisyon Natin 2040, underscores the SEC's dedication to broader societal goals. The initiatives are not isolated actions but interconnected initiatives that weave together a more sustainable corporate world. From digital transformation to procurement reform, energy efficiency to visionary policies, the SEC's initiatives symbolize the triumph of consciousness, the SEC's commitment to walk the talk.
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Hi, I'm Ralph Gregore Masalihit!
An RFP Graduate (Registered Financial Planner Institute - Philippines).
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