September 11, 2019
ASKI Group continuously commits to sustainability reporting
The ASKI Group of Companies, Inc firmed up its commitment to sustainability reporting as part of its journey to help improve its business practices that ultimately benefit the Filipino public.

To concretize its commitment, the Nueva Ecija-based non-government organization recently attended a two-day seminar workshop on Annual and Sustainability Workshop organized by 16-year-old editorial services firm Writers Edge. ASKI was represented by Erwin Embuscado and Mark Lyndon Antaran from the Resource Mobilization and Corporate Communications Department.

The workshop was held at the Ballroom of LEED-certified Insular Life Makati Building on Ayala Avenue, Makati City last September 10 and 11, 2019 and co-sponsored by Insular Life and auditing firm P&A Grant Thornton.

"It's a struggle that publicly listed companies (PLCs) and other organizations face every year: the need to write a crisp, concise, and compliant annual report that communicates to all stakeholders," said Writers Edge president and CEO Sheila Samonte-Pesayco. "Starting 2020, the task will even be more daunting."

Starting next year, all publicly listed companies (PLCs) are required to submit to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) a sustainability report in addition to an annual report under the regulator's recently unveiled Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Unlike annual reports, which focus on the yearly financial performance of the company, sustainability reports are meant to detail the economic, environmental, and social impact of a firm's activities.

At the workshop, SEC Rachel Esther J. Gumtang-Remalante, head of the Corporate Governance Department of SEC, said: "Sustainability reporting has emerged as a common practice for companies globally. However, in the Philippines, less than 22% of PLCs have published a report on sustainability impacts and performances."

"The ASKI Group of Companies, Inc. started its sustainability reporting journey in 2013 following the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Index guidelines. However, much remains to be done, as there are changes in the reporting metrics. Every year you have to extract those creative juices to come up with a good report and ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are embedded in the overall business operation and reflected in the report. The workshop enabled us to keep attuned on the recent trends in the preparation of sustainability report as well as award-winning reports. It is also overwhelming to learn from the sharing of best practices of multi-national companies on their SR journey," said Erwin Embuscado, manager of RMCD.

Meanwhile, Mark Lyndon Antaran, communications unit supervisor said "just like many other organizations, we are always faced by challenges in producing sustainability report every year like the rigorous processes, the voluminous work involved and enthusiastically engaging the whole group during the production period to release it on a timely manner. But one of my best takeaways in the seminar is that despite these challenges, it made us more motivated in doing it as we understand more about the internal and external benefits of the SR for our organization."

The two-day workshop, which aimed to guide PLCs and other organizations in the preparation of their annual reports and sustainability reports, was attended by nearly 50 participants, including two from the ASKI Group, who are involved in the preparation and production of their integrated annual and sustainability report.

Aside from Atty. Remalante, the workshop featured 17 other presenters and panelists included: Frances L. Ariola, Corporate Communications Specialist of Energy Development Corporation; Cristina Biyo, Corporate Branding and Communications Officer of Aboitiz Equity ventures; Lyn I. Javier, Managing Director of the Policy and Specialized Supervision Sub-Sector, Financial Supervision Sector, of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas; Enrique Florencio, Operations Group Head and Sustainability Officer, Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific; Barbara Kitane, CEO/President of Ampersand Design Think Lab Corp.; Albert Labrador, founder of Planet Art Photography; Jeremiah George Macasero, Creative Partner of Writers Edge; Jules Perez, CEO/Creative Director of Perez NuMedia; Ricardo Puig, Vice President for Research of Wealth Securities; multi-awarded business journalist Lala Rimando; Andres Saracho, president of the Public Relations Society of the Philippines; Mai Sigue-Bisnar, Partner of Assurance Division and Head of Markets Group of auditing firm P&A Grant Thornton; Leo Jaymar Uy, research head of BusinessWorld; Ritzi Villarico-Ronquillo, Philippine Chair, 2019 IABC Gold Quill Awards; and Crystal Joy C. Vistal, Sustainability Specialist, Group Risk Management & Sustainability Unit of Ayala Corporation.
Nearly 50 participants from different organizations joined the first-ever Annual and Sustainability Reporting Seminar-Workshop by Writers Edge last September 10-11, 2019.
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