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Text and photos By Monsi A. Serrano

Companies that exemplify the commitment to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were the big winners in this year’s Nordic Awards Night at the Fairmont Hotel Makati Ballroom on Wednesday, October 23.

Organized every since 2014 by the Nordic Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (NordCham) with this year’s awarding theme of the “Northern Lights” is a tribute to companies that share the Nordic values in business that of equality, innovation, and growth.

Mr. Bo Lundqvist, President of NordCham Philippines giving his welcome address during the 6th Nordic Awards Night

NordCham Executive Director Joona Selin had earlier underscored the uniqueness of this sixth year of the annual awards in business and industry, noting an additional fifth award category and an increase in the number of nominees.

Mr. Joona Selin, NordCham Philippines Executive Director during the opening of Nordic Awards Night

The judging process has also become more prestigious as it is the first time that NordCham has involved the Embassies of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden in Manila; the Embassy of Finland in Kuala Lumpur; and the Norway Business Council.

Winning the new category introduced in the awards this year was Aidea. It topped a roster of four other finalists – Ericsson, Ocean Sun, Connovate, and IMI – to be named “Innovation Company of the Year”. For Innovation Company of the Year which emphasizes on the degree of innovation and sustainability, as well as international potential and likelihood of success are key criteria.  

Arch. Abelardo Tolentino, President and CEO of Aidea giving his acceptance speech during the Nordic Awards Night wherein Aidea bagged the Innovation Company of the Year award

H&M which is named as the Corporate Sustainability Company of the Year and was co-presented by Trends & Concepts. It was chosen from among equally deserving companies like Ericsson, IMI, Novo Nordisk and Grundfos.

Mr. Sylvain Crouzat, Country Sales Manager of H&M Philippines giving his speech during the 6th Nordic Awards Night where H&M which is named as the Corporate Sustainability Company of the Year

For an organization to qualify to be nominated in the Corporate Sustainability Company of the Year award, it must give emphasize on taking care of the environment, human rights and working conditions, and anti-corruption measures and business ethics. 

While for the Growth Company of the Year, which was co-presented by BDO Unibank, it was KMC Solutions who bags the award. Other finalists are NNIT and Integrated Micro-Electronics.

The Growth Company of the Year and SME of the Year categories both highlight employment generation and revenue growth.

The 2019 Outstanding Employer of the Year covers gender equality, health and well-being, and equal development opportunities are key considerations, and Döhle Shipmanagement bagged this award. Joining the Döhle Shipmanagement are finalists from H&M, OSM Maritime Group, NNIT and Nokia.

Mr. Tore Henriksen, President/ Managing Director of Döhle Shipmanagement Philippines giving his speech as Döhle Shipmanagement bagged the 2019 Outstanding Employer of the Year at the 6th Nordic Awards Night

While this year’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) of the Year is OnlineFactory with Connovate and Aidea as finalists. The SME of the Year Award was co-presented by KMC Savills.

When asked about how he feels about the 2019 Nordic Awards Night, the Nordic Chamber Executive Director said, “We are happy. We thank everyone who take part of this advocacy that we have started 6 years ago. Our gratitude with the various embassies and also the ambassadors who really help us a lot to make sure this will be well attended.”

“Our generous sponsors, we also express our deep gratitude to them as well, as they believe and share this simple contributions we can give to the world by starting here in the Philippines. And when everyone does his or her share, there is no reason why we will not have a better world to live,” Mr. Selin added.

“And this is also the reason why Nordic Awards came into being, as this is our way of recognizing companies who live by the values that we stand for in the Nordic countries such as  innovation, sustainability, equality, education, and growth,” the Executive Director of NordCham Philippines explained.

As for the process on how are the finalists and winners are chosen, the NordCham Executive Director said, “The judging process is not really simple. We set the criteria for  the five award categories, and we have also put a focus on sustainable development goals in each of the category and made sure that these values reflect in the companies that are nominated, selected and awarded.”

For the Nordic Awards Night 2019 knowledge partner PwC Philippines, their Director Dakila Socrates B. Lavilla speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS said, “It was not easy to choose from creme de la creme.” 

“The process of the ranking and until we choose the finalists need to go through fine combing. While we facilitate the process, we have venerable board of judges from both public and private sectors who took part in choosing who amongst the nominees deserve to win,” Lavilla explained.

The 2019 Nordic Awards Night judges are Ms. Carol Dominguez, Board of Governors Secretary, Management Association of the Philippines, His Excellency Harald Fries, Ambassador of Sweden to the Philippines, Bjorn Jahnsen, Ambassador of Norway to the Philippines, Petri Puhakka, Ambassador of Finland to Brunei, Malaysia, and the Philippines, Grete Sillasen, Ambassador of Denmark to the Philippines and Ms. Elizabeth Sy, Consul General (a.h.) of Iceland.

In the sideline interview with Sweden Ambassador to the Philippines Harald Fries, the Swedish Ambassador expressed his profound happiness in the 2019 Nordic Awards Night.

Speaking to THEPHILBIZNEWS, Ambassador Fries said, “We are now growing in numbers. With the help of media company like you, we are very confident that you would be able to share our advocacy in promoting the values that we espouse and believe as Nordics.”

H.E. Ambassador Harald Fries Embassy of Sweden in Manila giving his message during the 6th Nordic Awards Night held at the Fairmont Hotel last October 23

“And by doing this, we promote to every individual and in the Philippines the importance of innovation, sustainability, equality, education, and growth which have long term effect in our lives. So we hope that in 2020, the participants will be more and at the same time the awareness will increase every year,” the Swedish Ambassador concluded.

Interestingly, the 2019 edition of the event gathered more than 200 C-level executives, entrepreneurs, leaders of local and foreign chambers of commerce, ambassadors, members of the diplomatic corps, government, and media.

The event is part of the 2019 NordStar Event Series on Innovation and Sustainability, supported by Nordic Co-operation (Norden).

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