The country’s largest fully integrated telecommunications provider, PLDT, recently announced that it was reaffirming its group-wide commitment to targeting more business initiatives that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) during the recently organized BusinessWorld Economic Forum on the guidelines of the ESG criteria for leading companies.

Together with other panel experts in the group, PLDT’s Head of Investor Relations and the newly appointed Head of Sustainability Office Melissa Vergel de Dios explained how PLDT is strengthening its sustainability programs in order to focus on more environmental, social and Focus on corporate governance that is closely related to the business and its goal of connecting and empowering Filipinos everywhere.

“A key success factor for sustainability efforts in a company is that they are high on the CEO agenda. PLDT’s focus on sustainability began under our Chairman Manny Pangilinan, and I am pleased to announce that our new CEO, Al Panlilio, takes sustainability one step further. His direction is to ensure that sustainability is built into the strategies for our three focus areas, namely: customer experience, digitization and operational efficiency, ”said Vergel de Dios.

For the PLDT Group, Vergel de Dios shared three guiding principles that determine the sustainability programs to be pursued. First, the project should be scalable – fewer individual cases and more cases that can grow or be maintained. Second, the project should be sustainable – that is, less reliance on continuous funding and handouts. And most importantly, it should be closely related to business.

Among its green initiatives, the PLDT Group has deployed the country’s first carbon fiber cell tower to kick off an initial roll-out on urban rooftops. The production of carbon fiber towers produces up to 70 percent less carbon dioxide than steel production. Cell sites that use carbon fiber towers also take up less space, which reduces the company’s land use.

“We also use Green Towers, which use fuel cell technology that emits less carbon dioxide. In addition, fuel cell towers are inexpensive and operate with minimal downtime, which supports our focus on CX and cost efficiency, ”added Vergel de Dios.

PLDT also recently announced a Green Fleet Program that includes the use of electric vehicles as part of its fleet retrofit strategy.

The PLDT group is part of the broader MVP group that the Meralco organization, including MSERV, can easily help and provide expertise on energy efficiency and green energy sources.

In line with the purpose and business of connectivity, Vergel de Dios also highlighted the group’s efforts to protect its customers from the dangers of the Internet.

“While connectivity opens up a whole new world for users, including access to information, education, livelihoods and entertainment, there are accompanying dangers that we must face. In keeping with this, we have robust and comprehensive cybersecurity and privacy solutions in place while we are committed to providing a safe online environment for our customers, including children, ”she said.

PLDT is a staunch advocate and partner of global organizations that work to protect children from sexual abuse and explicit content on the Internet or OSAEC. PLDT and Smart are the first in the Philippines to join the UK Internet Watch Foundation (IMF), a global alliance of more than 150 organizations. Since joining, PLDT has successfully blocked over 10,000 links to child abuse material.

In their portfolio, PLDT and Smart have several other sustainability initiatives due to be rolled out shortly that will not only benefit communities and stakeholders, but will also benefit the company over the long term.

Vergel de Dios summed up PLDT’s prospects in developing and maintaining its programs: “Sustainability is a journey, an ongoing work that should be closely linked to business. It’s not a competition; Rather, it is about each of us doing our part as stewards of this planet to achieve a common goal for the next generation. “

Last year, PLDT and Smart, together with over 1,000 international executives, signed their respective companies’ commitment to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) by signing the “Declaration by Business Leaders for Renewed Global Cooperation”. PLDT and Smart are the only Filipino telecommunications subscribers registered with the UNGC, one notch higher than the signatories limited to local engagement. Participants actively work with the UNGC on a global level to integrate the organization’s ten principles on human rights, working conditions, the environment and the fight against corruption into their corporate processes.