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Stepping up responsible business

/ 05:04 AM May 08, 2021

As the pandemic continues to cause massive shifts in lifestyle, employment, education, and technology, businesses are at a turning point. Companies and industries can take this time to focus on reimagining and creating thriving and sustainable societies in the foreseeable future.

Seeing the shifts firsthand in our IT-BPM industry, I am encouraged to see how our industry adapted to the rapid changes brought about by the pandemic. When the pandemic hit and quarantine restrictions were imposed, IT-BPM firms pivoted, with speed and scale, to enable their people to work from home safely while helping clients accelerate their digital transformation. Employing 1.3 million people, the country’s IT-BPM industry remains one of the most stable generators of jobs and biggest contributors to inclusive growth. But there is more work to be done to ensure the growth is sustained and the workforce is protected during and beyond COVID-19.

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As the impact of the pandemic on industries and communities continues to unfold, there is an impetus for business leaders to recognize that growth strategies need to be reshaped accordingly to succeed in the future. We are seeing an incredible opportunity to reimagine and rebuild responsibly and sustainably and, eventually, transform our global economy into one that works for the benefit of all.

At Accenture, our approach is designed to deliver 360-degree value to all stakeholders—our clients, people, business partners, communities, and the environment. As the economy rebuilds, companies have the opportunity to embed responsibility by design and develop programs holistically to make lasting and inclusive impact. Responsible business should be a cornerstone of every company’s purpose, permeating every part of the operation and driving new value and growth along the way. While digitally transforming, responsible companies are also doing their part to make their communities a better place for everyone.

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IT-BPM companies in the Philippines have focused on ensuring that the workforce thrives and succeeds in pandemic times. This means putting the safety and well-being of employees as the top priority. We should look to create barrier-free access to employment. Inclusion and diversity initiatives should get top billing as women have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Truly human programs, including better health care coverage, support for mental health, access to vaccines and testing, are imperative for the workforce to be safe, healthy, and productive. When people succeed, businesses succeed, and communities share in the success.

Corporate citizenship is important to be at the core of every business. For example, Accenture leverages our strength as a leading technology company to drive programs designed to train current and future talent with valuable new digital skills. We do this through our Skills-to-Succeed Academy online learning program; collaborating with industry and organizations; and driving volunteerism and social innovation in the communities. Businesses should continue making a difference in the communities and building a more sustainable future.

Companies should be positively impacting the environment, regardless of industry. Service organizations are not exempt from this responsibility. Carbon footprint reduction, environmental protection, and energy conservation should be business priorities alongside revenue growth. IT-BPM companies can focus on adopting Green IT strategies both as a consulting service to clients and as a key part of their operating model. In the end, every business should be a sustainable business.

Businesses should heed the call for a new mandate of responsibility and be at the forefront of the industry. Local companies can learn from and become forerunners by accelerating efforts in four priority areas, according to a recent Accenture study called The Rise of Forerunners. They need to prepare the workforce for a digital and more automated future. They should put sustainability at the center of their business moving forward. Mastering innovations that focus on human care is another important aspect to consider. Lastly, as businesses continue to transform digitally, they must deploy technology more responsibly.

This is a call to action for companies to step up their role in creating a better society for all. As a key economic driver in the country, businesses are positioned to continue building the foundation for creating a better future for Filipinos. The time is now for companies to take on broader responsibilities in leading efforts around social inclusivity and environmental sustainability.

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Lito Tayag is the country managing director of Accenture in the Philippines and a member of the board of trustees of the Makati Business Club.

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Business Matters is a project of the Makati Business Club ([email protected]).

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