SM INVESTMENTS CORPORATION“SUSTAINABILITY IS INTEGRAL TO WHO WE ARE”MONSOUR A. PELMIN, MBMTHE COMPANY:SM Investments Corporation (SM) is the largest publicly listed company in the Philippines that is invested in market leading businesses in retail, property and banking. It also invests in market leaders or contenders that can reach optimum growth opportunities in the emerging Philippine economy through synergies with the Company’s footprint. Other investments include Belle Corporation, Atlas Consolidated Mining and Development Corporation, Citymall Commercial Corporation, NET Group, 2GO Group and MyTown.They partner with host communities to provide a consistently high standard of service to customers, look after the welfare of our employees and deliver sustainable returns to our shareholders, at all times upholding the highest standards of corporate governance in all our businesses.SM Investments Corporation (SM) is on the Proactive phase as in this phase, SM are externally oriented and aim to take shared responsibility for solving societal problems and CSR becomes Corporate Societal/Sustainable Responsibility.The SM group serves as a catalyst for development and uplifts the communities it serves through its various development programs.BARRIERS AND CHALLENGES TO SUSTAINABILITY We often assume that the size of a business will determine how much they integrate Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) practices to their every activity. The general assumption is that a larger firm will have more resources, financial and manpower, to implement CSR. However, the visibility of a firm is more of a determinant of how much companies implement Corporate Social Responsibility practices (Udayasankar, 2008). Lack of stakeholder awareness -In developing nations, the unhealthy establishment of CSR and lack of ethical awareness keeps the stakeholders uninformed as to CSR implementation. Lack of training -In order to practice CSR, managers, employees and all other individuals in the organization should have relevant training to foster a strategic implementation of CSR. Lack of information-(Because CSR is potentially difficult to define, acquiring relevant information regarding CSR presents challenges and slows down effective implementation. Financial constraints -Due to the lack of financial support, organizational managers find that implementing CSR cannot fit their budgets; the initial investment cost is too high. Lack of customer awareness - customers are more likely to go for economical profit rather than quality and other societal parameters. This motivates the manufacturers to focus on profits only. Lack for concern for reputation-While some well-equipped organizations are aware of the importance of their industry’s reputation and its impact on competitive advantage, some small scale and developing organizations do not realize the value of their reputation. As a result, they are not motivated to implement CSR. Lack of knowledge - Due to the lack of training and information, the CSR practices are poorly understood in many organizations, and this lack of knowledge on CSR among practitioners creates challenges. Lack of regulations and standards- Unlike EU and US, the rules and laws are not very clearly established in the developing countries, which freely allows the stakeholders to avoid the CSR.Diversity - CSR has multi faces, which change from origin to origin, nation to nation and so on. This diversity restricts the practitioners from understanding how to implement the CSR based on their origin. Company culture -Some organizations, relying on old company culture, are resistant to changing to new strategies like CSR Lack of social audit-is one of the barriers for CSR which allows the stakeholders to be exempt from CSR reporting. Lack of top management commitment -some of the top level managers only focus on financial profit rather than societal benefit. SM CSR INITIATIVES AND INTERVENTIONS SM FOUNDATION SM Foundation serves as the social development arm of SM that focuses on creating social investments that effect systemic change in the areas of education, health, livelihood, and shelter.SM Foundation remains steadfast in its commitment to uplift the quality of life of Filipinos by making strategic social investments in education, healthcare, livelihood and shelter. Through its various programs and complementary business practices, the Foundation promotes initiatives to protect and enhance the Philippines’ unique and diverse ecological heritage.As lead convener of the SM’s corporate social responsibility efforts, SM Foundation works directly with communities to provide targeted interventions they require by leveraging its corporate assets to secure resources and build awareness, and by engaging with strong partners to create programs that promote a cycle of positive change.The Foundation’s programs are in line with the UN Millennium Development Goals and the proposed UN Sustainable Development Goals. It is a member of the League of Corporate SM Foundation is committed to substantially contribute in providing access to quality public school education. Through its School Building Program, it aims to narrow the gap in school building requirements and to provide more conducive environments for learning.SM Foundation has been bridging the gap in the access to health care services. Through its Felicidad T. Sy Wellness Program, the Foundation renovates, refurbishes, and builds Medical facilities to promote the well-being of its beneficiaries. More importantly, these facilities are transformed to meet the requirements to become PhilHealth accredited. Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) serves as the universal health insurance in the Philippines. Through this targeted initiative, it helps decongest hospitals in the main cities and helps increase the capacity of health centers in rural areas to provide proper care within the PhilHealth coverage. In turn, it helps communities in rural areas utilize their PhilHealth benefits, especially senior citizens.The Foundation also conducts medical and dental missions, providing immediate health care needs for the communities it serves. SM Foundation promotes inclusive growth primarily at the communities with the lowest level of income. It has identified food security as the cornerstone of sustenance and anchor for supplementary development programs. Through its Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan (KSK) Program, which translates as “Partner in Livelihood,” the Foundation conducts farmers’ trainings promoting sustainable agriculture.