Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the lifeblood of the Philippine economy through the stimulation of economic activity. SM, as a staunch supporter of SME growth, recognizes that disaster-resilient SMEs are the key to a sustainable value chain and in attaining business continuity.
“Empowering supply chains is particularly close to our hearts because SM’s roots were borne from our father’s entrepreneurial spirit,” Hans Sy said.
Sy was the chairman of the Executive Committee and SM Investments Corporation Adviser at the United Nations Global Compact-Global Reporting Initiative regional sustainability summit held on Tuesday at Conrad Manila.
“It is because of this that we understand the journey and challenges faced by small and medium enterprises. We want to help them not only by providing a strong market but by building their resilience to overcome their risks and maximize their opportunities,” he said.
A strong advocate of disaster resilience, Sy is the first Filipino representative to the Private Sector Advisory Group of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR).
SM Prime is taking a step further by helping SMEs bounce back immediately after a disaster. It built an SM Reliance Center (Center) in SM Clark, Pampanga, to serve as the data storage and capacity-building facilities for SME partners. The Center also serves as the information and communications hub for SM.
It has provided free storage data to serve as repository for documents essential to early recovery and business continuity.
To date, over 1,500 SMEs have availed of this service.
SM Prime has partnered with the National Resilience Council, APEC Emergency Preparedness Capacity-Building Center, UNDRR and Global Education and Training Institute and Department of Trade and Industry, among other disaster risk reduction organizations to provide capacity-building and technical assistance on the Center’s operations.
“Supporting our SME partners focus their efforts from managing disasters to managing risks is a critical step toward an enduring partnership in resilience,” Sy said.
SM works both directly and indirectly with nearly 25,000 SMEs, representing 27 percent of the total SMEs in the Philippines today. These are SM’s mall tenants, traders and suppliers, mainly in retail.
It has integrated three platforms in terms of its operations and sustainability to include investing 10 percent of its capital expenditure on disaster-resilient features depending on a mall’s existing hazards; capacity-building; and collaboration and public-private partnerships at the global, regional and national levels.
“Through these efforts, we seal our commitment in creating a more equitable and progressive environment for business partnerships for generations to come,” Sy said.
For many years, he and SM have been leading DRR efforts for the private sector in the Philippines in partnership with various organizations and government agencies.
Some of SM’s notable DRR initiatives include the additional elevation for the SM Mall of Asia complex as protection against storm surges and flooding; building of SM City Marikina on stilts after considering the 100-year-old flood cycle of the area to allow the natural flow of the Marikina River; provision of a 4-meter elevation for SM Seaside City Cebu, which boasts of design features against earthquakes and water-treatment facilities that recycle used water; construction of rainwater catchments in 20 SM malls to help minimize flood water; capacity-building and public-private partnerships with the national and local government units through Arise Philippines and the National Resilience Council; and recent launch of the Business Continuity Program for its SME mall tenants.
SM Prime manages malls, residences, offices, hotels and convention centers. It remains committed to being a catalyst for economic growth by delivering innovative and sustainable lifestyle cities, thereby enriching the quality of life for millions of people.