Browse through a listing of the Philippines’ top 100 companies and you can find upon closer look that these companies focus not only on tasks that relate to their business operations, but also on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as part of their programs. There is a lot to gain even with activities that do not directly deal with your business. CSR has helped these companies not only promote their respective institutional image and build their reputation, but also to sustain consumer awareness and patronage of their brands and services.
However, CSR does not necessarily equate to charity or mere philanthropic dole-outs. One does not simply “give a man fish,” rather, it is more important to teach him how to fish. More meaningful CSR efforts are on people empowerment. They provide consumers the means for a stable livelihood, which could eventually stimulate the market and help contribute to sales growth of the products or services that the companies are providing, and ultimately build a better nation for every Filipino.
A good example of CSR through a successful people empowerment program is the STAR (Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources) Program of Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, the country’s leading soft drinks manufacturer. This program was launched in 2011 in partnership with the government’s Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA). It benefits women micro-entrepreneurs who own and manage community sari-sari stores or small carinderia eateries.
STAR helps these women overcome barriers and achieve success in their micro-ventures by giving them access to resources, TESDA training, and peer mentoring. This way, the program improves how the women deal with their small sari-sari stores, indirectly affecting Coca-Cola as these outlets contribute a huge amount to Coca-cola’s annual sales. As of the first half of 2017, this program was reported to have impacted the lives of over 80,000 women.
Cultivating a better community
San Miguel Corporation (SMC), one of the Philippines’ and Southeast Asia’s top business conglomerates, has another noteworthy CSR initiative that seeks to foster a better place to live in and help create communities more conducive to business. The San Miguel Foundation, CSR implementer for SMC, was recently reported to build a drug rehabilitation facility in Bataan.
SMC has committed to build and fund several of such facilities under its billion-peso assistance to the government in combatting the drug problem in the country. The Department of Health will run the Bataan facility, while a nonprofit organization, Pilipinong May Puso Foundation, will develop and provide programs for the recovering drug dependents to attain capability-building and sustainable livelihood, thus becoming productive members of society.
Heart for Volunteerism
Globe recognizes its employees’ passion for service and their desire to be agents of change. In fact, everyone is provided with two (2) days of Volunteer Time-Off annually, specifically to participate in volunteerism or CSR activities of their choice. Internally, the company provides activity-based and skill-based volunteering to support the work of a partner group or community, gathering employees who want to join various advocacies and provide pro-bono services, skills transfer, or capacity building.
As a company, Globe is very proactive in reaching out to partner with organizations and pursue causes that will aid in “Creating a Globe of Good”. As one of the top mobile solutions providers in the country, the company reaches out to local communities impacted by its business operations and put development programs in place to help improve their quality of life and provide livelihood opportunities.
To establish a good foundation, Globe aims to provide quality education that enables students to have talents and skills that will sustain them for their future endeavors. Through its five-year expanded Global Filipino School (GFS) program, the company intends to transform select public schools into centers of excellence in ICT and innovative teaching methods. The program is expected to benefit all 218 school divisions of the Department of Education (DepEd) nationwide by 2020. GFS started four years ago, and is now operating in 80 public schools around the country, cumulatively influencing 5,788 teachers and benefitting 151,526 students.
The company has also pursued partnership with San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Kiva, providing crowdfunded loans to deserving micro-enterprises in the areas of agriculture, food, retail, and services in the Philippines. Through SMS capabilities, GCash mobile money service, and Globe Rewards, the program makes a difference in the lives of millions of local micro-entrepreneurs who are most in need of financial assistance to build their future. Globe is one with the country and its partners in creating a Globe of Good, as the ultimate goal is to build a better nation and improve the quality of life of the Filipino people.
These corporate undertakings of Coca-Cola, San Miguel, and Globe show that successful companies are now exercising corporate social responsibility in a more engaging manner, and that these programs actually do more for the business AND the country, beyond just monetary funding.
Gone are the days of companies merely donating to charities as their way of repaying back communities and consumers for their patronage. Corporations and enterprises are now more involved and proactive in providing CSR activities that create opportunities—building an environment where not only their brands can grow, but also where our nation can grow, one community at a time.