On May 12, 2023, the AIM Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr. Center for Corporate Responsibility, in partnership with the UN Global  Compact Network Philippines (GCNP) and the Basel Institute on Governance, held a Business Roundtable session at the Aboitiz Tech Space entitled Strengthening Good Governance in the Supply Chain. The discussion centered on how corporate governance and business integrity can facilitate the inclusion of MSMEs (micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises) in their supply chains.

As thriving economies start with a cohesive system, coordinated supply chains drive the flow of profit and elevate the prospects of the businesses involved. Exploring how challenges like corruption, poor management, as well as labor and financial difficulties, among others,  significantly negate MSMEs’ contribution to the economy was a key theme during the discussion.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO)  of BAYO and a member of the GCNP Board of Trustees, Anna Lagon, moderated the discussion, while the panelists included  Executive Director of the AIM RVR Center Prof. Dynah Basuil, Head of Private Sector of the Basel Institute on Governance Vanessa Hans, CEO  of Morination Agricultural Products Sharon Gulmatico, Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO)  of PLDT-Smart Melissa de Dios, and CSO of Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. Ginggay Hontiveros-Malvar.

The panelists stressed the importance of business integrity, collective action, and adherence to the 10 Principles of the UN Global Compact to instill more coordination within and  among the MSMEs. Ms. Hans   mentioned that MSMEs “represent a critical mass” and it is “important to keep them in the conversation”. They also recounted the roadblocks that companies encountered  when dealing with MSMEs. Ms. de Dios shared that “the challenge is to make people understand why [enforcement of corporate governance]  is important.”

Furthermore, the establishment of best practices, as well as the digitalization of processes, are touted as keys to change. The discussion ended with a lasting insight from Ms. Hontiveros-Malvar. “Sustainability really helps light our fires every single day. It’s the thing that really fuels our passion for the work that we do.”