JG Summit and Its Businesses Move Toward a More Sustainable Future

The conglomerate continues to transform its operations as it traverses the new normal

JG Summit Holdings strengthens its commitment to a more sustainable future by adopting a holistic approach to achieving long-term business success, which includes taking greater responsibility in addressing environmental concerns and societal needs.

The conglomerate, which has substantial interests in food manufacturing and agro-industrial and commodities (Universal Robina Corporation), real estate and hotels (Robinsons Land Corporation), air transportation (Cebu Pacific Air), banking (Robinsons Bank), and petrochemicals (JG Summit Olefins Corporation), has accelerated its digital transformation, recalibrated its business strategies, strengthened its core businesses, and fast-tracked its sustainability approach to rise above challenges and address the needs of its stakeholders in the midst of the pandemic, said JG Summit Holdings President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei.

“We looked at our ecosystem and synergies across the conglomerate and proactively embedded a strong emphasis on sustainability, leadership, and people development – all these to address the ever-changing needs of our stakeholders and emerge as a stronger business post-pandemic,” said Gokongwei. “We remain optimistic that we are well-positioned to thrive as we head into a more sustainable future.

In its recently released Sustainability report, JG Summit communicated that its holistic Sustainability Agenda is aligned with its purpose and core values as well as its priorities to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) based on its identified five focus areas: Climate Action, Resource Efficiency and Circularity, Employee Growth and Well-Being, Shared Success, and Better Choices.

The conglomerate also disclosed how its Sustainability Agenda is integrated in its five-year business strategy and cited examples on how it is proactively accelerating and transforming its operations as it traverses the new normal.

Climate Action Agenda

To ensure top management-level sponsorship of JG Summit’s sustainability agenda, the Corporate Governance and Sustainability Committee was established to oversee the conglomerate’s Sustainability Performance. Additional noteworthy efforts are the integration of Climate and other Sustainability Risks in its Enterprise Risk Management and the roll out of workshops to build capability on science-based targets.

For its efforts on Climate Action, JG Summit is expanding its low-carbon operations and strengthening its climate-related risk management. It manages its greenhouse gas emissions not only through operational efficiency improvements but also through the adoption of renewable energy.

To date, RLC has installed rooftop solar panels in 24 of its Robinsons Malls, which are capable of generating 30.79 megawatts in total. In 2021, solar energy provided over 20% of the malls’ electricity requirements, preventing the release of over 18,887.47 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Similarly, URC’s Branded Consumer Food manufacturing plants in Canlubang and in Thailand boast onsite rooftop solar panels with a combined capacity of 7 megawatts, which generated 3,490.83 megawatts-hour of renewable energy in 2021.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific is currently modernizing its fleet and improving fuel use by refleeting with Airbus A330neo (New Engine Option) aircraft, which consumes 25% less fuel than previous generation aircraft.

Resource Efficiency and Circularity

JG Summit’s approach to Resource Efficiency and Circularity is to optimize the use of water and materials in its food manufacturing, air transport, petrochemicals, and other resource-heavy businesses. The conglomerate continues to lengthen the life cycle of its materials by finding options to re-use or recycle its food by-products, plastic, and other resources.

At URC, water-conservation strategies were developed under the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Water” program. Efforts such as switching to stainless steel pipes, fixing leaks, and harvesting rainwater for reuse led to the conservation of 11.5 million cubic meters of water from 2018 to 2021, as well as an improvement of the company’s water-use ratio by 49% over the same three-year period.

In the operations of JG Summit Olefins Corporation (JGSOC), which runs the first and only naphtha cracker plant in the Philippines, the conglomerate takes pride in the company's continued focus on improving its products and manufacturing efficiency to deliver the best value and increased eco-efficiency to customers. JGSOC does this by continuously improving product formulations through the development of new high-performance products and structures.

JGSOC's highly differentiated EVALENE® products, the company’s flagship polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) resin product brand, are a clear manifestation of this commitment. As an example, JGSOC has developed an HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) grade that allows the addition of reprocessed and more consumer-recycled materials in the manufacturing of various products.

Additionally, through its upcoming offering of metallocene LLDPE (Linear Low Density Polyethylene) film grades, JGSOC will enable its customers, mainly manufacturers, to reduce materials consumption and/or the energy used in product manufacturing. Moreover, through the use of select polypropylene grades, its customers are able to lower their processing temperatures, use less materials, and have a faster cycle time in manufacturing products such as housewares and containers.

Meanwhile, at JG Summit's banking unit Robinsons Bank (RBank), the conglomerate saved 13.5 metric tons of paper in 2021 with the growing adoption of the RBank Digital App, a digital platform that paved the way for branchless and paperless banking.

Finally, as a responsible producer, high up in JG Summit's agenda are plastic waste recovery and recycling initiatives, such as the program being set up with business units URC and RLC, together with affiliate Robinsons Supermarket, among others.

Employee Growth and Well-Being

JG Summit continuously invests in its employees’ growth and well-being through numerous programs in the workplace.

Ensuring that employees’ needs are addressed, the company continues to develop programs for their upskilling and career development. More than 1,000 JG Summit employees have access to about 16,000 courses, content, and live sessions as part of the JG Summit Executive Development Program.

Apart from providing employees with opportunities to improve their standard of living and fulfill their potential, the conglomerate remains steadfast in protecting its employees’ overall well-being. In 2021, JG Summit attained a 99% vaccination rate among its workforce, including third-party workers. Its telehealth services have also been successful, having provided 16,430 employee consultations since its inception.

Shared Success

For JG Summit, ensuring an equitable flow of economic value to its stakeholders is what the Shared Success focus area is all about. The conglomerate’s goal is to grow not only its businesses but also create value for its stakeholders.

Among these stories of shared success is URC’s partnership with local farmers. In 2021, URC donated 133.8 tons of Granola potato seeds to around 700 farmer beneficiaries in Bukidnon, Davao del Sur, and the Cordillera Administrative Region. This initiative not only helped each farmer earn an average net income of Php 135,000 per planting cycle, it also guided them toward becoming more self-sufficient.

URC's partnership with local farmers in Bukidnon helped them boost their incomes during each planting cycle. 

Another example is Robinsons Bank’s RBankMo, a banking product which uses the agency banking or “branchless banking” operations model. Through this, customers can open an account, withdraw cash using any BancNet ATM card, deposit money into an RBank savings account, and even pay their bills — all without venturing far from their homes.

This was made possible in part by partnering with Premiumbikes Corporation (PBC), the country’s leading motorcycle dealership, with its more than 100 branches serving as RBankMo outlets. By the end of 2021, 1,980 new RBank accounts were opened, resulting in an average of Php 65,000 in daily transactions at each PBC store, and approximately Php 6 million in total transacted value.

Better Choices

Providing Better Choices as a focus area is the conglomerate’s way to sustain the consistent delivery of quality products and services across its businesses. Being highly diversified, JG Summit takes pride in its mission to provide customers with better choices across a wide range of industries.

Today, consumers can enjoy these better choices in the form of healthier options from URC. The improved nutritional quality of URC’s product portfolio includes the shift to non-PHO (partially hydrogenated oils) formulations for some of its snack and candy brands, such as Nips, Wiggles, Chooey Toffee, Cloud 9, and Wafrets. URC also aims to end the use of PHOs within the year.

Meanwhile, more affordable yet eco-friendly flights at Cebu Pacific have been made possible through products like CEB Super Pass (CSP), which is the airline’s innovative and insightful response to the air travel challenges brought about by the pandemic. With CSP, customers can buy as many travel passes as they want, and then fly when they can within one year to CEB’s Philippine destinations at the competitive price of Php 99 per pass (one-way base fare).

Over at RLC, its tenants now have greener choices when it comes to office spaces as the real estate company continues to innovate its designs and integrate sustainability in them. For instance, Giga Tower, RLC’s newest office building, is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified for Building Design and Construction and meets world-class standards in terms of design, construction, and operational efficiency by consuming 9.5% less electricity compared to a building of the same design but with standard features.

Despite the disruption caused by the pandemic, JG Summit continues to seek opportunities to keep its sustainability journey on course. “Amid the challenges, the conglomerate will continue to deliver shared business success and a positive impact on society and the environment, not just in the present, but for the years to come,” Gokongwei concludes.

To learn more about the JGS Sustainability Agenda, click here.