In celebration of International Women’s Month, Standard Chartered Bank (SCB) recently hosted a webinar entitled “Client Speaks: Insights that Inspire” aligning with this year’s IWD theme “Break the Bias: Gender Equality Today for a Sustainable Tomorrow”. The session highlighted inspiring stories of female leaders successfully breaking gender biases and their roles in fostering an inclusive and sustainable economy.
The webinar was a thought-provoking and inspiring discussion taking the perspectives of women in actively promoting the gender’s role in participation and leadership in addressing climate change and creating a more resilient and sustainable future.
Distinguished panel of speakers are women trailblazers from infrastructure and power industries who do not only champion women empowerment but are also committed to creating meaningful, sustainable change and solutions. Panelists are Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. President and CEO Cosette Canilao, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. President and CEO and Country Chair, Shell companies in the Philippines Lorelie Osial, and Aboitiz Power Corp. Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Information Officer Liza Luv Montelibano. The panel discussion was moderated by Standard Chartered Bank Chief Executive Officer Lynette Ortiz.
Canilao, with her leadership experience in public-private partnerships (PPP) as former PPP Center Head, highlighted that infrastructure development is important in shaping economic productivity and stressed that PPP is a good vehicle to sustain the Build, Build, Build program of the government. She said that the private sector plays a key role as they can support not only through financing, but also through sustainable innovations and development of ancillary businesses. “Infrastructure projects have immense multiplier effect during its various stages – development and planning, execution, and operation. The societal returns from infrastructure development done through public private partnership are always higher than private sector gains. I hope that the next administration will really focus time and energy to create an enabling environment for the private sector to again be involved in infrastructure development,” said Canilao.
Osial, Pilipinas Shell’s first female CEO and a global leader in the energy industry, talked about transformational leadership amid a rapidly changing environment. She emphasized Shell’s commitment to provide cleaner energy solutions including integration of sustainable practices in their business operations. “It is Shell’s goal to provide more and cleaner energy solutions and continue to be a partner in nation-building. To do this, we are adapting to the changing energy landscape, partnering with like-minded companies and working with our customers and different sectors to become a net-zero emissions business in step with society.”
Montelibano, on the other hand, has held CFO role across multinational firms at a very young age, and now at the helm of the Aboitiz Power Corporation, one of the largest power companies in the country. She talked about Aboitiz Power’s efforts to map an effective climate action roadmap to drive renewable energy sufficiency for the country that is affordable, climate friendly and for a worthy cause. She said, “A key element of the energy transition is not just the pouring in of renewable energy (RE) projects, but more importantly how to make RE a viable baseload replacement. Today, the role of thermal power generation is baseload, and for us to sustainably decarbonize the electricity sector, we need to have an effective and cost-efficient technology configuration for renewable energy to be a baseload replacement. AboitizPower is very determined to find a solution. We have been studying several configurations and recently, we partnered with IFC to commission a study on hybrid solar photovoltaic and energy storage, with the goal of finding a technically and commercially feasible solution tailored specifically for the Philippines.”
Ortiz highlights the need to promote gender equality for a sustainable development. “As women are more prone to the negative effects of climate change, women should also be part of the decision-making process towards real change,” she said. “Our panel speakers are all empowered and inspiring female leaders who continue to astound us with their grit, tenacity and resolve to spark positive change for a better, more resilient and sustainable future for the society and communities they serve.”
The webinar is part of Standard Chartered Bank’s 150th anniversary celebration as the oldest international bank in the Philippines. The bank promotes sustainable finance to support economic growth, expanding renewables financing and investing in sustainable infrastructure where it is needed most. SCB is the leading ESG bond arranger in the country, having been part of approximately 60% of the volume of PHP-denominated ESG issuances. The bank was mandated earlier this year as a structural adviser of the Philippines Sustainable Finance Framework which will contribute to the development of the Sustainable Financing market domestically to create long-term, resilient growth.
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