MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III on Wednesday honored Asian businesses that have contributed to social transformation by carrying out projects through corporate social responsibility.
In his speech during the 13th Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility in Makati City, the President said businesses have changed for the better through the years.
He said that while in the past, businesses only considered profit as the end-all and be-all and viewed their responsibilities in isolation from the community, today’s manufacturing facilities think of how to minimize their environmental impact and waste, thus preserving the sustainability of their source materials as well as enhancing their relations with the community.
“When I see corporations focused on social responsibility, I see kindred spirits who, like me, have to tackle issues in their multifaceted forms and complications — who realize that, indeed, no man is an island,” he said.
To the institutions being recognized for helping redefine the concept of business, the President said corporate responsibility is good business.
“Your shareholders include your employees, consumers, and now, the members of the communities in which you operate, thus redefining value not only in terms of profit, but also in terms of the empowerment of others,” he said.
Citing examples, he said Jollibee Foods Corporation’s Busog, Lusog, Talino School Feeding Program, which provides lunch for undernourished students in kindergarten, and first and second grades, has resulted in 80 percent of the beneficiaries reaching a normal Body Mass Index, as well as a decrease in absenteeism.
The Farmer Entrepreneurship Program, which aims to support the livelihood of Filipino farmers by linking them to the supply chain of institutional markets such as Jollibee, has helped more than 900 farmers across the country become more productive and gain access to a broader market, he added.
The President commended the awardees for proving that the growth of companies and of private industry cannot be separated from the growth of the communities.
He further said that companies joining social reforms inspire him.
“These events never fail to inspire me—and I hope that they have the same, if not a greater effect on you and even your peers,” he said.
“Through your work, you have already shown that the simplest ideas can bring about the most profound transformations.”
Several companies were awarded during Wednesday’s event for their contributions to solving social challenges.
The awardees were the Jollibee Group Foundation for its poverty alleviation initiatives; the Dow Chemical Thailand for its works on preserving the environment; the Jollibee Group Foundation for its initiatives on education; PT Unilever Indonesia for its health care programs; the Valsad District Cooperative Milk Producer in India for providing livelihood to farmers; and the Magsaysay Maritime Corp. for producing highly skilled seafarers for the maritime industry.
The Asian Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility (AFCSR) is the largest annual conference on corporate social responsibility in the region.
It was launched in 2002 by the AIM — Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Center for Corporate Social Responsibility, one of the first research centers in Asia to concentrate on corporate social responsibility issues.