Author Archives: janusalmighty

About janusalmighty

Janus Almighty is an avid sustainability junkie. While shamelessly promoting sustainability of the corporate kind, he only does so to advance the practice of disclosing sustainability performance in the Philippine business sector

Corporate Sustainability from the Millennials’ Perspective


In the tradition of storytelling, allow me to revive this blog by sharing with you a talk I made at the 3rd National Sustainability Conference: The Future Leaders’ Summit. A millennial myself, the idea of embracing this creature called corporate sustainability is something that our generation is starting to understand. I see young entrepreneurs and professionals passionately pursuing sustainable practices in the conduct of their enterprise and the outcome is very enlightening and refreshing.

Below is the abridged version of the slides converted to pictures for your reading pleasure.

All the best!

Is this true?

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FUTURE LEADERS’ SUMMIT ON SUSTAINABILITY


The University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Social Responsibility will be holding its 3rd National Sustainability Conference tomorrow, 20 November at the Dizon Auditorium, University of the Asia and the Pacific, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.

3rd NSC Poster

This year’s conference highlights  the role of the YOUTH in creating a sustainable future as well as on BUSINESS innovations that can best contribute to the creation of shared value and inclusive growth. This combination of young leaders passion and business CEO’s insights will offer unrivaled generational perspectives on how best to shape a sustainable future for the Philippines.

The organizers has reformatted the program to allow more participants interaction, spontaneous peer-to-peer sharing and hands-on experience. Specifically, the morning session will be devoted to the student and youth participants while the afternoon session will have an interactive set-up involving the youth, corporate participants, academic experts, social media practitioners, and civil society leaders.

Here are good reasons why you should take part in this year’s conference:

  • Fresh learning opportunities on the latest and future trends in sustainability practices, and a chance for you to learn how they can be applied to your own work;
  • High quality and cutting-edge insights from the country’s respected business executives, youth leaders, academic and professional experts;
  • The opportunity to expand your network and interact with more than 200 participants especially the youth through the Philippine Education Network (PEN), a group of 30 colleges and universities nationwide, along with student leaders from top universities in Metro Manila
  • Unique platform to impress upon the participants the business sector’s contribution to a sustainable future, thereby, influencing the youth’s career options for employment

Want to know more what’s in store? Take a look at the roster of topics and speakers:

Morning Session 

The Future We Want: Seeing Sustainability through the Lenses of the Youth 

  • What is Sustainability?  by Ms. Marilou Erni, General Manager, Petron Foundation 
  • Enabling the Youth to Promote Sustainability through Social Media  by Ms. Maria Ressa, CEO, Rappler
  • Best Practices and Innovations in Youth-Business Partnerships  by Ms. Agnes De Jesus, SVP, Energy Development Corporation (EDC)/Mr. Dave Devilles, Senior Corporate Communications Specialist, EDC 
  • Youth and Sustainability Issues in Everyday Life: How young People can  Make a Big Difference through Small Concrete Steps  by Ms. Techie Cano Lopez, AVP, TeaM Energy/ Mr. Ricky de Castro, SBEP & Executive Director, TeaM Energy 

Lunch break

Afternoon Session 

Sustainable Philippines: Business Contribution to Creating Shared Value and Inclusive Growth

  • Moving Toward a Sustainable Philippines: The Crucial Role of the Private Sector and the Youth by Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Professor, UA&P
  • Creating Shared Value and Inclusive Growth: Perspectives from the Corporate Practitioners

Panel of Speakers:

Ayala Land
Philippine Long Distance Company
TeaM Energy
MMDA
Petron Corporation
Chamber of Mines of the Philippines
Center for Food and Agribusiness, UA&P
San Roque Power

For reservation and any inquiries, please contact Mr. Carl Moog (carl.moog@uap.asia) at 6370912 loc. 302
or 360. Thank you and we hope to see you at the conference.


Master Class on Strategic Communications, Employee Engagement and Personal Branding


Interested in sharpening your strategic communications skills? Do you want to know more about effective employee engagement strategies? Or do you simply want to stand out as your own brand?

Friends and fellow communications practitioners, I would like to invite you to participate in the upcoming master class on strategic communications planning, employee engagement and personal branding this Nov. 11, at the Energy Development Corporation HQ, 38th floor, One Corporate Center, Ortigas, Pasig City.

This rare opportunity is brought to you by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Philippines Chapter. No less than IABC International Chair Robin McCasland and past Chair Adrian Cropley will be delivering the master class sessions. Get in touch if you would like to participate.

You may also share this invite to your friends and network.

Hope to see you there.

 IABC Phils. Master Class e-flyer


Back from the Hiatus


Hi everyone!

It’s been a while since I posted in this blog. The past three months had me juggling projects like producing the integrated annual and sustainability report and preparing for an internal branding program in a change management setting.  In the next few days, I will be posting about the recent sustainability reports that have been published here in the Philippines to check the pulse and where reporting is headed. I will be posting about my recent experience in New York during the 2013 IABC World Conference. Lastly, I will be echoing the discussions that happened in the forum of the University of Asia and the Pacific’s Center for Social Responsibility tackling the changes of the new GRI G4 guidelines.

Keep checking back my blog for these posts. I will find time to distill my thoughts and share them with you.

Rainy season has started here. Stay dry my friends.

Below are photographic snippets to whet your appetite. All the best!

This was the infographics-stlye rendition of an IABC member that captured the discussion on CSR Strategy and Communications

This was the infographics-stlye rendition of an IABC member that captured the discussion on CSR Strategy and Communications

Energy Development Corporation releases its 2012 integrated annual and sustainability report, GRI A+

Energy Development Corporation releases its 2012 integrated annual and sustainability report, GRI A+

The name has a face -- Prof. Craig Carroll's body of works on CSR has been my reference when I took up my Masters in the UK. It was a very pleasant experience to finally meet him in person.

The name has a face — Prof. Craig Carroll’s body of works on CSR has been my reference when I took up my Masters in the UK. It was a very pleasant experience to finally meet him in person.


Corporate Social Responsibility Pinoy Style


Communicating CSR programs in the Philippines would inevitably focus on the levels of interactions with the local community stakeholders. As a general rule, the firm needs to explore the meaning and experience of business-community relations at the local level, giving importance to the Filipino’s aspirations as a people. Knowing what kind of citizenship the firm will assume will determine greatly the CSR path it will pursue in the host community. Tapping into the wealth of values that the community espouses becomes useful when analyzing the multiple claims or interests that stakeholders hold while matching the citizenship role that the firm intends to assume.

To serve the company’s strategic business thrusts, CSR must be rooted in the nature and demands of its operations and reconciled with the needs and expectations of the stakeholders. Although laws and regulations dictate that the firm must comply, going the extra mile will provide added business security in the long run.

CSR and Filipino Psychology

The bayanihan spirit, the symbolic value of a community acting together to help its members, best captures the essence of Filipino generosity. Pakikipagkapwa (a shared sense of humanity),  pagtutulungan (mutual aiding), and kawanggawa (charity) are cultural traits that tend to underlie Filipino philanthropy.

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According to Virgilio Enriquez, the Father of Filipino Psychology, Sikolohiyang Pilipino is defined as ‘‘the study of diwa (‘psyche’), which in Filipino directly refers to the wealth of ideas referred to by the philosophical concept of ‘essence’ and an entire range of psychological concepts from awareness to motives to behavior.” It is based on assessing historical and socio-cultural realities, understanding the local language, unraveling Filipino characteristics and explaining them through the eyes of the native Filipino. These resulted in a body of knowledge, which includes indigenous concepts and methods. This particular field of study is thus designed to be a psychology of, for, and by Filipinos, one appropriate and applicable to dealing with health, agriculture, art, mass media, religion, and other spheres of everyday life.

Filipino psychology locates the identity of the individual in terms of the web of his social relations. For instance, the experience may be a response to colonial oppression (Philippines was a colony of Spain for 300 years, USA for 30 years and Japan for 3 years during the occupation). In terms of areas of protest,Sikolohiyang Pilipino is against a psychology that perpetuates the colonial status of the Filipino mind. It is against a psychology used for the exploitation of the masses. Hence, CSR programs must treat community members as partners and not as passive recipients of dole outs.

Enriquez and his school of thought unfolded the concept of kapwa (shared identity), which is at the core of Filipino social psychology, and which is at the heart of the structure of Filipino values. He discovered that it is not maintaining smooth interpersonal relationships that Filipinos are most concerned with, but pakikipagkapwa, which means treating the other person as kapwa or fellow human being. In this realm, the Filipino views someone as ‘outsider (ibang tao) and ‘one of us’ (hindi ibang tao). Understanding the nuances of these perceptions will enable the communication of CSR program to be more effective because the rapport will have to be established at a higher level of personal interaction.

Some CSR Practices in the Philippines

Figaro Coffee: Saving Local Farmers

The Philippines was historically one of the world’s top producers of coffee, with export earnings of at least US$150 million before 1986. However, the situation started to decline in the 1990s until only 500kg per hectare can only be produced. This change affected 60,000–80,000 coffee families, the majority of which are small farmers. Demand had fallen because of imported Arabica and large-scale domestic production of Robusta by large corporations. In 1998, the Figaro Coffee Foundation was formed to boost Filipino coffee production, particularly Barako, the indigenous liberica coffee species grown in the southern regions of Luzon Island. The company’s view of its community has subsequently expanded from its consumers to the farmers that produce its products. While the task of rehabilitating the local coffee industry and saving the Barako remain challenging, Figaro and its various partners have developed the right channels and networks to solidify and integrate their efforts as a collective unit making longer-term success achievable.

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The ‘Save the Barako’ cause has somehow given the coffee added value as portion of the bean sales is channeled back to into a project to promote the revival of the Barako. The project encompasses awareness programmes, new plantings, research, and targeted marketing, and is coordinated with the Figaro Coffee Foundation. The waning supply of Barako beans prompted the company to be more aggressive in securing supplies. The ‘Save the Barako’ campaign is its showpiece effort, and has earned the company a reputation as a company that cares for the coffee farmer. More than just to sustain its core product or core business, Figaro has become the trailblazer on how ‘out of the box’ ideas can be used to encourage farmers to plant the Barako again, motivate local governments to do their part and get cooperatives working toward one goal.

 

Food Wrapped In A Leaf: The Story of Binalot

The Philippines is a culture of tradition. Its colorful and vibrant traditions are a product of many influences. Three hundred years of Spanish colonization inspired the local food and fiesta culture. The most popular form of public transportation is the Jeepney, an adapted military jeep left behind by the Americans after World War II. It was from this idea that the business of Binalot was created – a company that is both socially responsible and culturally sensitive. Binalot wanted to recreate and reintroduce a lost piece of Filipino culture to modern urban dwellers. The company also wanted to make Binalot the number one fast-food chain in the Philippines by promoting Filipino humor, values, and culture. Binalot started serving food to its customers the traditional way—wrapped in banana leaves.

Binalot

As the business grew, its founders realized that there was another, equally important purpose behind the business. What is uniquely Pinoy (slang for Filipino) is the practice of hospitality, that sense of community, and the strong belief that each is responsible for one another. In most villages, banana farmers earnings barely afford them the necessities of life. This led to creation of the Binalot Foundation to help farmers find diverse uses for the banana, such as making flavored banana chips or finding a bigger market for the banana flower as a vegetarian delight. The result was the Binalot DAHON community. DAHON is an acronym for Dangal at Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon, which means “Livelihood and Dignity for the Rural Community.” Under its CSR program, the company has helped the farming community by getting banana leaves direct from the farmers to eliminate the middlemen, and teaching the village women to cut and pack the leaves, which provides jobs. Soon, the women became more skilled and could finish the job in ninety minutes, and their rate of pay rose significantly. They also trained villagers to make banana chips, which were sold in Binalot stores, giving them another source of income. Binalot buys all the harvests from these communities, ensuring their market and income, and in turn, building a happy supply chain partner.

From the cases of Figaro and Binalot, one could observe the cultural underpinnings that drove both companies’ CSR programs.  CSR itself should be seen in socio-cultural terms aside from political economy settings. Communicating the CSR policy and activities of a transnational company would certainly require ample understanding of Filipino psychology if the message must be transmitted and interpreted properly.

Values-driven CSR

cartoon credit: www.elcamedia.co

cartoon credit: http://www.elcamedia.com

Sharpening one’s shared inner perception or pakikiramdam is a particularly desirable skill in many situations involving Filipino social interaction. Pakikiramdam is especially useful in conducting community extension work that may be part of the whole CSR process. If time were allowed to understand the local community’s cultural ways, they would feel comfortable enough to disclose their opinions, knowledge and experiences to the company. How the company is placed in the Filipino stakeholder’s perception determines the level of interaction that will be afforded to it. For example, if one is regarded as ibang-tao, the interaction can range from civility to interaction, conformity or getting along with. If one is categorized as hindi-ibang-tao, then the firm can expect acceptance and being one with the community, which is the desired state of interaction in order to make the CSR program truly effective.

 

The views presented here is that of the author’s only and do not represent the organizations or entities mentioned.