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Power up vs poverty — Aboitiz

One way to diminish poverty is to create jobs, and to create jobs we need to attract industry, and to attract industry we need to have competitive infrastructure and power

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photograph courtesy of aboitiz POWER should also promote equitable opportunities to end poverty.

Job creation, industry development and sustainable energy should power the drive to end poverty, said Aboitiz Group president and chief executive officer Sabin M. Aboitiz as he joined business leaders across the world to tackle the converging global crises of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UN Global Compact Leaders Summit also discussed issues on climate change, and economic inequity to develop a roadmap for sustainable recovery.

“(Inequality) prevents us from being competitive. It prevents us from providing affordable power, which is a requirement of SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy).

It prevents us from achieving SDG 1 (No Poverty) by restricting our capital and redirecting already limited resources elsewhere. We all deserve to be developed countries, so we need to solve this problem, but we cannot do it alone; we need the richer countries to understand that we are not at their level,” Aboitiz explained.

As a member of the UN Global Compact and the Global Compact Network Philippines Board of Trustees, the Aboitiz Group was invited to share its unique perspective on the topic of Energy Transition for A Sustainable Future as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Aboitiz highlighted the growing social and economic disparity between developed and developing economies, a gap that he believes the policies formed by richer countries should aim to narrow.

Long before the establishment of the SDGs, the Aboitiz Group has built its products and services around being an inclusive business that creates opportunities to uplift the lives of all its stakeholders across the Philippines, especially those facing economic hardship.

“Poverty, not just for us but for the entire world, is one of the greatest problems we face,” Aboitiz said. “One way to diminish poverty is to create jobs, and to create jobs we need to attract industry and to attract industry we need to have competitive infrastructure and power,” he pointed out.

For growing economies to achieve the objectives outlined in the SDGs, Aboitiz said there should be a balance that allows each country to develop at its own pace, as trying to keep up with the standards set out by far more advanced countries may end up being counterintuitive in the long run.

“Sustainability is our common and necessary goal and in order to achieve it, we must be able to see the whole picture, undistracted by misinformation or a lack of information,” he emphasized. “We must all be fully informed about all the costs and benefits of renewable energy and find a sensible way to balance them with respect to our own individual situations.”

The Philippines has made headways into renewable energy, with a significant percentage of the nation’s power being generated from clean energy sources. For its part, the Aboitiz Group — along with its partners — owns and operates the largest installed capacity for renewables in the country and is set on further expanding its clean energy portfolio to an even 50-50 renewable-to-thermal energy mix by 2030.

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