“Baseline data are imperative to measuring diversity in management and inclusion in the workplace to achieve diversity, equity, and inclusion outcomes,” statements from the NordCham Sustainability Committee.

The Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. held its 6th Sustainability Committee Meeting on October 26th at Spaces at World Plaza, BGC, with the topic fostering Gender, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace.

Representatives from Asian Development Bank, Global Process Manager, CGI Philippines, Nomura Research Institute, Antrak Philippines, Vanilla Dream, IIEE, TORM Shipping Philippines, SN Aboitiz Power Group, CMC Partners, Orient Digital Technologies, and Go Philippines.

The company's initiative and practical steps to promote gender, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace are the focus of the committee meeting's discussions. The esteemed panel of speakers were Ms. Lotis Ramin, Country President, AstraZeneca Philippines, Ms. Joan Gonzalez, Country Recruitment Manager, H&M, and Mr. Lester Nazarene Ople, Sprout HR Evangelist.

Ms. Lotis Ramin opened the Committee Meeting by emphasizing AstraZeneca's strong commitment to creating a culture that is both a "Great Place to Win and a Great Place to Work." As a result, AZ's aim of fostering a feeling of community, a culture of lifelong learning and growth, and cross-functional teamwork are directly supported by the inclusion and diversity pillar. Utilizing diversity as a competitive advantage through ground-breaking programs is a key component of AstraZeneca's global strategy. For instance, the Diversity by Design Women as Leaders (WAL) Programme was created to assist women in reaching their full potential in leadership roles at AZ. It strives to increase diversity at the senior level as well as give strategy and technical assistance to help women thrive in their professional and personal endeavors. This program is intended to coach and mentor 600 participants from 50+ countries to boost promotion and present outstanding ideas for the organization. WAL's successful outcomes include 32% of WAL participants being promoted, including Ms. Ramin, and 43% being on a current succession plan.


Some of the highlighted topics of Ms. Ramin's presentation are AZ's I&D initiatives in the Philippines:


  • Speak your mind, a way to avoid constricting thoughts and increase understanding. This also serves as a bridge for Managers to attend an effective listening workshop to hear employee feedback and ensure motivation on queries. AZ also encourages reverse mentoring by learning from young people.
  • Employee partnerships serve as a venue for Gender and Generational Equality resource groups. This also gives a safe space for the organization to communicate their mutual interests. Some programs include AZPride, which promotes LGBTQI+ employees through professional development opportunities. Women and Allies Network to promote gender equality and the inclusion of women's perspectives. Women as Winners acknowledges the critical role of women in the workforce and the household.
  • Employee well-being strives to maintain women's enhanced healthcare coverage and benefits in terms of mental health, critical illness, and same-gender partner HMO coverage for dependents. Programs like SafeSpace aim to break down the stigma associated with mental illness and serve as a reminder to workers that their minds matter. The goal of Cancer@work is to launch an initiative to ensure that coworkers affected by cancer are supported and connected in order to develop an environment that fosters an understanding of the physical, financial, and mental effects of cancer.
  • Based on the success of its programs and initiatives, AZ was able to quantify remarkable data outcomes which have a significant positive influence on society. Speak Up culture increased by 4% in 2021, and women held 44% of supervisor/management positions and 50% of senior leadership positions. The organization sent 12 Filipinos to roles and tasks abroad in an effort to support Filipino talent. In addition, AZ offers a safety net for Filipinos affected by the pandemic as 93% of its staff are supported.
  • According to Ms. Ramin, the global initiative has inspired the local headquarters to pursue their vision. Therefore, the organization's mission is to increase women's self-confidence, help them understand their place in society, and help them overcome the imposter syndrome, which limits their responsibilities. The discussion also highlights the importance of negotiation and comprehension in the household and finding the right support system that will help their decision-making in career and personal roles.
  • AstraZeneca's drive to improve equality, inclusion, and diversity has earned the organization major awards and recognition through collaboration, innovation, and performance.
Sustainability Committee Meeting Oct

The Committee meeting was followed by Ms. Joan Gonzalez's presentation of CEO Helena Helmersson's statement on Inclusion and Diversity (I&D). H&M Group has the vision to expand managerial diversity and integrate inclusivity in the workplace across all markets in the world. This vision is based on the idea of integrating inclusion and diversity in major markets in Europe and the US. The I&D vision of the H&M Group is to be steadfast in treating everyone with respect, battling discrimination, and having a responsibility to spread awareness and work to promote sustainability. Along with this, the company has established strategic plans for its clients and employees by ensuring that the workplace promotes inclusivity and diversity.

The following are some of Ms. Gonzalez's I&D discussion highlights:


  • The four identified I&D focus areas are: age, gender, tenure, and marginalized groups. The strategy for the age group is to interact more with the younger age group, keep sourcing and profiling channels for store employees, host virtual career talks to encourage young people to apply for jobs at the company, and work with various organizations to introduce and acquaint them with H&M as a brand. Additionally, through recruiting, promotion, and sourcing of applicants/candidates, the company provides equity, fair compensation, and representation to all genders. Moreover, H&M is dedicated to extending the term of its employees by reducing turnover. Finally, one of the brand's areas of concentration is to increase engagement with Youths, PWD, Senior Citizens, etc., in recognizing marginalized groups and non-governmental exposure and immersion.
  • The brand's pillar for bringing its people and resources into alignment is through I&D Education training. H&M has partnered with Love Yourself, a non-profit organization that supports the LGBTQIA+ community, to educate its employees about sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. In addition, the company regularly participates in the PRIDE March and runs a campaign called Beyond the Binaries that provides further information regarding sexual orientation and gender identity and expression as well as ideas for how to appreciate and promote diversity in the workplace.
  • Be Yourself & More is one of the company's branding campaigns, and its main objective is to recruit tomorrow's talent by showcasing H&M as an employer that values and develops distinctive abilities.
Sustainability Committee Meeting Oct

Finally, the last on the panel of speakers is Atty. Lester Nazarene Ople from Sprout HR Evangelist. Atty. Ople began his presentation by explaining how Sprout Solutions came to be, beginning as HR work and eventually spanning all platforms required for the future of work. One of the highlights of Atty. Ople’s presentation is the value of statistics to detail wage inequalities. According to their data, they have over 100,000 on their system, which allows them to share observations and experiences and adapt these observations to gain new insights.

Atty. Ople has made the following significant observations:


  • It is embedded in the Philippine Laws to prohibit discrimination. The commitment of the Philippines is parallel to the country’s adoption of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (UN CEDAW). As a signatory of the said convention, the Philippines has enacted the Philippine Labor Code that prohibits discrimination against any woman and any person on account of age (Art. 135 & 140 of the Philippines Labor Code). One of the issues that Sprout noticed was the absence of publicly accessible data from the Philippine Statistics Authority's Gender Statistics on Labor & Employment since 2018.
  • Sprout Data 2022 shows a remarkable Gender Distribution with 52.5% occupied by Females and 47.5% occupied by Males, compared to the 2015 PSA Data, which had Female 39.6% and Male 60.4%. Furthermore, Sprout Data reveals a balanced distribution of personnel levels, including Rank-and-File, Officer, and Manager.
  • Sprout Data also discovered that certain businesses require a greater proportion of one gender. Women make up a significant number of the health, social work, finance, and insurance industries. Meanwhile, men dominate the construction, power, agricultural, water management, lodging, and food and beverage industries.
  • Sprout sees that gender and inclusion are not HR levers in the Philippines when it comes to hiring new talent. According to their data, if a company offers benefits like an allowance, mental health and wellbeing programs, and health and fitness, employees are more likely to accept a job offer.
  • Data science and analysis are critical for diversity and inclusion because they ensure that efforts are being tracked. Following the collection of all baseline data, a target for diversity and inclusion can be set, and measures to attain the intended outcomes of gender sensitivity, gender ratio, learning, and development ratio, and gender pay gap can be implemented.
Sustainability Committee Meeting Oct

A brief brainstorming session was held after each of the three presentations. The following are some of the discussions' key points:


  • Companies to start tracking gender and other special interest groups
  • Companies to be more intentional in recruitment including in the job advertisement
  • To include PWD-accessible facilities and infrastructure and PWD support in hiring an employee
  • Baseline data in measuring metrics and progress
  • Removal of photos and educational background in the resume
  • Importance of values than general appearance
  • Provide opportunities to start up mindset vs. traditional
  • Use of pronouns on email signatures
Sustainability Committee Meeting Oct

The committee meeting is the 6th meeting of the Sustainability Committee by NordCham. The NordCham Sustainability Committee aims for more collaboration across industries and to learn from each other and experts. Going forward, the Sustainability Committee hosts 9 annual meetings of varying sustainability topics with resource speakers and sharing of best practices, opportunities for networking and building partnerships, as well as collaboration with government units.

The upcoming Sustainability Committee meeting will be on the 23rd of November from 3:30-6:00 PM at Spaces, World Plaza in BGC. The topic will be "SDG 6 - Clean water and Sanitation" with speakers from Maynilad Water, NIRAS International Consulting (TBC), and Veolia (TBC). You can register through this link

The Committee is intended for business partners of NordCham, but guests are also accepted. We usually have between 20-30 attendees representing large companies, e.g., IKEA, AstraZeneca, Globe, Converge, SN Aboitiz Power, Arla Foods, etc. Interested guests are welcome to contact Executive Director, Jesper Svenningsen at js@nordcham.com.ph

NordCham Philippines looks forward to sustained collaboration and showcasing the sustainability initiatives of business partners while contributing to positive change by forging stronger relations with the government.