The Filinvest Group: Embodying Sustainability and Shared Value

With an eye to the future, the company reinforces its commitment to resilience, inclusivity, and going green.

The word “sustainability” should not be taken lightly. It is generally defined as “the ability to maintain something at length without interruption or weakening,” as in “thriving.” The word then connotes not only effort but also dedication and passion. 

The Filinvest Group established by the Gotianun family has long embodied not only the concept of sustainability but also of shared value, which aims to generate mutual benefits for the company and the community it serves. For decades, it has remained committed to its vision of improving the lives of everyday Filipinos by offering them access to wide-ranging financial services and by building quality and well-rounded communities and affordable homes, as well as providing lifeline services such as water and energy. 

It has always been the Filinvest Group’s vision to enable the Filipino dream—and it has been successful in sustaining its innate entrepreneurial spirit towards this goal.

The Gotianun leaders: Working together towards fulfilling the company’s vison of enabling Filipinos to achieve their dreams, for generations to come.

A sustainable framework

For Filinvest, sustainability goes far beyond sustaining profits—it’s about creating a thriving ecosystem, from customer service to human resources, business partners to capital providers, supply chain to regulators, communities to the environment.

 To give form to thought, in 2022, the company developed a framework that synthesizes its key commitments to sustainability that will ensure its ability to create and deliver value to its stakeholders in the long term. 

 The concept for the framework brings together corporate social investments, EESG (economic, environment, social, and governance) practices, as well as the delivery of scaled-up innovative services and products that address social pain points, consistent with the group’s core purpose of “enabling Filipinos to achieve their dreams.”

Ysmael Baysa, Filinvest’s Chief Operating Officer

 Ultimately, the Filinvest Group’s Sustainability Framework is anchored on three key aspirations, that is, to be Green, Inclusive, and Resilient. Philippine Star interviewed Filinvest’s Chief Operating Officer, Ysmael Baysa to learn more. 

Creating value for the long run

The Filinvest Group is poised to continue and magnify its commitment to environmental stewardship in the months and years to come. As a group, it manifests responsibility towards the environment, making sure that its commitment to sustainability extends beyond borders.

 “We continuously align our business practices with global best practices in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance),” said Baysa. “This is most visible in the way we adopt green designs for sustainable communities that minimize negative effects and enhance positive impact, not only on the physical environment but also on individuals and communities.”

Filinvest City, for example, is the first central business district (CBD) in the Philippines to be dual green certified, having received a LEED v4 Gold Certification for Neighborhood Development from the US Green Building Council and a 3-star rating in the pilot version of BERDE Districts from the Philippine Green Building Council.

Vector One and Two are among the six Filinvest REIT buildings that achieved EDGE certification, a green building standard.

Moreover, Filinvest’s building and township designs prioritize nature and people’s needs for green spaces and sustainable mobility options. At least 60% of a project footprint is allocated to open areas, with green parks and natural waterways incorporated into the design.

Recently, six office buildings under Filinvest REIT Corp. (FILRT) located in Northgate Cyberzone have achieved EDGE certification, meeting the rigorous energy efficiency standards set by the International Finance Corporation. With six certified buildings under its belt, FILRT has the distinction of having the highest number of EDGE-certified office buildings among REITs in the Philippines, bolstering its commitment as the country’s first sustainability-themed REIT.

Addressing energy & water security

The Filinvest Group is dedicated to achieving net zero across its value chain in line with national development and climate change goals. With diversified investments in the power business through FDC Utilities, Inc. (FDCUI), it believes in just transition principles and supports the socio-economic growth of communities while ensuring energy security.

The installation of state-of-the-art solar panels on Festival Mall’s rooftop supplies about 28 percent of the mall’s peak demand and saves close to 41,000 tons of carbon dioxide reducing the mall’s carbon footprint. The project was built by Filinvest-ENGIE Renewable Energy Enterprise, Inc., a joint venture company of FDCUI and ENGIE Services Philippines.

Filinvest has also trained its sights on water security and continues to invest in developing facilities and technology to address current and potential water supply issues. Baysa shared that subsidiaries FDC Water Utilities, Inc. and Filinvest Hitachi Omni Waterworks, Inc. have partnered with the local government, in collaboration with the Hitachi Group of companies, to tackle these challenges in Metro Cebu through the construction of a seawater desalination plants estimated to provide consumers with 80 million liters per day of high-quality potable water. Additionally, in Filinvest City, the companies are building a water recycling facility that can supply at least 10.5 million liters per day of high-quality recycled water.

Rendered image of upgraded STP and new Water Reuse Project of Filinvest City in Alabang, Muntinlupa

“We’re committed to environmental care which is deeply ingrained in our operations. Conserving energy and water resources in our service areas is a priority step towards a more sustainable and secure future,” he said.

Other initiatives include adopting carbon sequestration forests, sustaining support to the Philippine Eagle Foundation, and developing renewable and sustainable energy solutions.

Inclusivity matters

Just like sustainability, inclusivity is more than just a goal for the Filinvest Group; it’s part of its DNA. The company has always believed that for a workplace to not only be truly successful but also empowering, it must be gender blind. 

Filinvest Land, the property arm of the Filinvest group, plays an active role in mitigating the housing gap with products that cater to a wide market. Shown in the photo is Centro Spatial Davao, a Futura by Filinvest medium-rise residential development in Davao City.

The Filinvest Group has always been meritocratic, viewing gender as a non-limiting factor. Women make up 55% of the corporation’s employees, 49% are executives, and more than 50% are a combination of executives, managers, and supervisors. This approach is reflected in their work practices and leadership development, fostering strong leadership throughout their organizations.

Inclusivity, however, is not only about gender but more importantly about serving the needs of more Filipinos. Hence, the Filinvest Group is committed to constantly finding new solutions to address the pain points of unserved and underserved segments of society through innovations in products and services.

In 2022, for example, 1,200 units under the Filinvest Land Futura and Pabahay brands were completed and delivered to home buyers. In the same year, Filinvest Land launched seven affordable housing projects intended to deliver 3,617 units for buyers in Pasig, Cavite, Rizal, Bulacan, Pampanga, Camarines Sur, and Davao.

From its inception, Filinvest has supported the financial aspirations of Filipinos through consumer banking, with 73% of its loan portfolio in consumer loans.  EastWest has supported more than 125 SMEs to date. It is also actively promoting the adoption of digitalized documentation, such as e-statements, among its customers. 

Resilience is key

Operations are made resilient by strengthening capabilities in business continuity across the group, ensuring that its assets and people are resilient especially in times when customers are experiencing uncertain times, such as during the pandemic or a major typhoon. Response capabilities across the group are integrated, and protocols developed and regularly tested.

“Through these, the Filinvest Group is able to continue being an agile organization. It is always in the process of transforming and strengthening its human capital, technical practices, business processes, culture, and leadership, ensuring that it is ready to address current and emerging global and local risks and opportunities. We know this will affect our long-term ability to create and deliver value for our stakeholders,” Baysa concludes.

All things taken, the Filinvest Group remains undeterred in its commitment to embodying sustainability for the decades to come for a better and greener future for all.