Lifestyle Asia

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

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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...”

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