Chaye Cabal-Revilla shares her passion for sustainability, and how everyone can respond to the urgent call to save the world
CHAYE CABAL-REVILLA shares her passion for sustainability and how everyone can respond to the urgent call for action to save the world, our communities, and our loved ones
Eat ka na rin, my dear,” Chaye CabalRevilla tells me as I offer her a plate of salad during our interview.
We are dining al fresco at Blackbird, observing strict social distancing and safety measures at all times. A relaxing atmosphere surrounds us: the sun has just set, the night city lights are slowly illuminating Ayala Triangle, and large speakers are playing a mix of jazz and acoustic classics. Following her cue, I munch on a beetroot before I proceed with my next question.
Admittedly, I was nervous prior to this dinner interview. With friends, it’s easy to eat and engage in hearty conversations. However, a discussion with Metro Pacific Investment Corporation’s chief finance officer and chief sustainability officer, a multi-awarded finance leader, and a 2013 The Outstanding Young Men awardee for community service is a completely different story.
“Conversational lang tayo, honey,” she assures me with a sweet smile, as if she knew what was bugging me all afternoon. With my worries gone, I take a sip of water and resume our interview.
A SENSE OF DUTY
“I grew up in a serviceoriented environment,” Cabal-Revilla replies when I ask her about how her sense of civic responsibility came about.
Her parents, Jun and Betty Cabal, are government officials in their home province of Leyte. The finance executive fondly remembers how her father would open their doors to people from all walks of life, inviting them over for a meal or two.
“As a kid, I got used to sharing breakfast, lunch, and even dinner with visitors and people that we didn’t know but we were helping,” she recalls. “I was raised with the mindset that our blessings aren’t for us to keep, but for us to share.”
Chaye kept this mentality intact even as she eventually took on key leadership roles within the PLDT Group of Companies. In her two-decade tenure, the executive sparked a culture of service and volunteerism by starting Gabay Guro in 2007, PLDT’s flagship teacher training, education, and support program.
In 2019, she became PLDT’s chief sustainability officer, launching their environmental stewardship program Gabay Kalikasan during the same year’s National Climate Change Awareness Month.
Chaye admits that pushing for sustainability at work had its unique set of challenges. “Ten years ago, sustainability wasn’t the top priority among my colleagues. It wasn’t required and they viewed it as a nice-to-have. So, we took baby steps and started our sustainability programs on a voluntary basis.”
She recognizes that collaborations with the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) and UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), the unwavering support from their friends and ambassadors like Derek Ramsay and Pops Fernandez and the approval of PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan himself were crucial factors in helping sustainability transform into an integral part of the company’s operations.
However, getting more people on board with sustainability also meant dealing with the misconceptions surrounding it. “A lot of people think that it’s just corporate social responsibility, but in reality, it covers a wider spectrum and in fact has an endto-end impact. If you look at an enterprise sustainability’s fundamentals, there is what we call a triple bottom line: profit, people, and planet.”
“Now more than ever, sustainability isnolongerjustan importantmindset butalifestyle. It shouldbeginwith eachoneofusand whatwecando now,nomatter howlittleweseem theymaybe...”