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Rewards and benefits of CSR

The spirit of bayanihan continues to thrive in the corporate realm and is actively translated through varied Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs.  In pursuit of different advocacies, corporations initiate, pursue, develop and innovate CSR programs that are responsive to the plight of communities or address national issues.  Not settling for palliative measures, corporations continue to integrate CSR programs in their business cycles and in the process achieve excellence in sharing their resources to be socially-relevant endeavors.  In doing so, these corporations garner merits and accolades from award-giving bodies that recognizes the achievements in spreading the greater good. Established in 2009, the annual Global CSR Awards is one of the region’s most prestigious recognition awards program for CSR. The program recognizes and honors exceptional, innovative and world-class products, services, projects and programs that demonstrate a company’s leadership and commitment to ethical values as well as a company’s respect for individuals, communities and environment in the way they do business. In the recent 2012 Global CSR Awards, P&G Asia garnered two major awards : the Gold award under the Best Community Program Award category for P&G Japan, Thailand and Philippines Disaster Relief Operations and the Silver award under the Product Excellence Award category for P&G Purifier of Water for the Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program. The Gold Award for Best Community Program was given for the comprehensive aid the Japan, Thailand and Philippines Operations mobilized during the Japan tsunami, Thailand flooding and Philippines typhoon disasters. Other winners from the Philippines were: Kraft Food Philippines (Gold) for Environmental Excellence Award; One Meralco Foundation Philippines (Silver) for Best Workplace Practices Award; Ryukichi Kawaguchi of San Roque Corporation Philippines (Silver) for CSR Leadership Award. Another prestigious award-giving body is the AIM Asian CSR Awards Program that recognizes Asian companies for embodying the principles of corporate responsibility in their business philosophy and operations. Last October,  five companies from Singapore, Thailand, India, and the Philippines were awarded at the AIM Asian CSR Awards held at the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, Thailand. The event coincided with the Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) that was attended by more than 550 delegates from 30 countries, representing various sectors of society, including businesses, governments, NGOs/civil society, multilateral organizations, and the academe. Ayala Land Inc. won this year’s Asian CSR Award for Environment and Value Chain Management for its innovativeland development program that promotes sustainable communities.  Environment and Value Chain Management recognizes how a company manages its value chain in order to optimize its social and environmental footprint. For the Labor and Employee Engagement Award, HGST Philippines Corporation received the award as the company that addressed environmental, social, and economic sustainability issues by implementing programs for employee care, development, empowerment, and engagement with the business, with the local community, and with society at large. HGST has implemented a “CSR Starts at Home Program” that addressed employees’ needs and concerns for personal and professional development. The needs covered by the program include family welfare, education, and housing. The program has uplifted employee morale, which has then led to increased employee engagement and productivity. The Asian CSR awards program’s other focus areas also include Governance and Society, and Product Responsibility and Human Rights. “Recipients of the AIM Asian CSR Awards demonstrate leadership, sincerity, and commitment in incorporating ethical values, compliance with legal requirements, respect for individuals, involvement in communities, and protection of the environment into the way they do business,” explains Prof. Felipe Alfonso, conference director of the AFCSR 2012. “It is our belief that CSR can only be truly sustainable when it is integrated into the company’s business model and is considered as fundamental to its business strategy, and we hope that through the Asian CSR Awards, we are providing the private sector across the region with examples of best practices,” adds Alfonso, who also serves as the executive advisor of the Asian Institute of Management – Ramon V. del Rosario, Sr. Center for Corporate Social Responsibility. More than the international recognition, the corporate sector, through the best practices of CSR programs, are reaping rewards and benefits that cannot be recorded in the ledgers. With a solid CSR program, companies “share of responsibility for society” and create a long-range business plan.  It is said that the lasting impact of institution ensures the sustainability of any company.  This was noted by Unilever Philippines that heavily invests in making business operations eco-friendlier.  “We want to make sure that we’ll able to grow our business without raising the impact of our operations on the environment,” shares Chito Macapagal, vice president for Corporate Affairs of Unilever Philippines.  “Sustainability is the key here and by implementing such practices now, we achieve a two-fold mission-growing our business by bringing vitality to the lives of individuals and to the community.” In addition, the target clientele also benefits when corporations assume the social responsibility of meeting the customers’ needs with quality products at an affordable prices.  This sends a clear signal to the market the company’s core value of quality over profit. Internally, the best CSR programs improve company morale and employee behavior.  They tend to work harder and more efficiently with a sense of purpose being relevant to the local community.  This breeds loyalty and a sense of pride in the workplace.  This sense of belongingness makes for a happier working environment for workforce. When a CSR program includes a commitment to the communities where plants and offices are located, the locale throws support to the company in return.  Companies are known to build schools, local activities and support in disaster relief operations.  Being one with the community, companies receive overwhelming support from communities and local government in terms of road-building, zoning changes and other requested services. One good example is when Epson Precision (Philippines) Inc., Philippine Epson Optical Inc., Epson Philippines Corporation, and Seiko Epson Corporation donated P1 million to families affected by typhoon Pablo last December.  Aside from the donation, employees from the three local Epson companies also cooperated with Philippine Business for Social Progress in the distribution of relief goods to the affected areas. Since the best CSR programs rarely go unnoticed, these good deeds pile up and exponentially create a positive image for the company.  For sponsoring worthy causes, communities spread the good news on their own accord, a boon for public relations.  Solely based on goodwill, this mileage is achieved without having somebody or some entity paid to speak for the company. Another benefit of having an effective CSR program is attaining greater efficiency and less material wastage that lessens the impact of production in the environment.  One such program is the Geocycle waste management program of Holcim Philippines also called as co-processing.  “In co-processing, the hazardous components of a waste are totally eliminated, while at the same time capturing its energy and mineral content which will be used in the production of cement,” explained Engineer Dela Cruz, Holcim’s Geocycle technical manager.  He added that in co-processing, there are no solid or liquid residues displaced that can contaminate the area thus eliminating the need for incineration or landfill facilities. As more and more corporations are taking the responsibility of being relevant in society, communities  stand to reap the benefits of having a better life.  As Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great” puts it, “In a truly great company profits and cash flow become like blood and water to a healthy body:  They are absolutely essential for life but they are not the very point of life.”
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