By Gen Dela Cruz
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR, aims to pioneer social change through an effective evaluation and implementation of projects aligned with the business’ operations and strategies. Beyond this, benevolent CSR programs are seen as beaming lights of hope as its objective is to help others with marginalized advocacies or those in vulnerable communities where social services are weak. It serves as an avenue where companies engage with their clients or even their personnel on a personal level, outside a corporate setting. In a developing country such as the Philippines, there is an incessant call to give aid to those who need it the most. Given the state of the country where there is a lack of support for social services, growing inflation rate for basic necessities, and underdevelopment, businesses must not be oblivious to the plight of our society. With the resources accumulated by companies, charitable CSR projects make a great impact on communities, giving them an opportunity to better themselves.
The first step to effective CSR is to analyze and reflect if the company is conscious of social realities. Corporate Social Responsibility does not require only external intervention. It can also be done in a company’s internal management. Ensuring the wellness of one’s labor force and adhering to fair and just labor practices also answer the call of social responsibility. Moreover, it is crucial that a company assesses the social impact of its business operations, whether it is on the environment or on society. When it comes to external intervention, it is important to take into account where the company’s competencies and abilities meet society’s needs to ensure maximum impact. This will be the ultimate starting point of all CSR endeavors as they strengthen public trust through intervention in vulnerable, underprivileged communities.
When and where do we begin?
There is an opportunity to associate a company’s CSR programs to focus on proactive projects that advocate for a holistic sustainable development to give the underprivileged an opportunity for social mobility and a better quality of life. The Philippines is currently faced with a plethora of challenges, among these are:
In a country that ranks 3rd highest in terms of vulnerability to climate change and 4th most disaster-prone country in the world, the Philippines stands defenseless against the wrath of the environment that has already washed away lives of many Filipinos such as in 2015 when Typhoon Haiyan hit Leyte and took at least 6,000 lives.
There are also problems in health as for the growing HIV infection rate with 11,103 new reported cases in 2017 (DOH) and the significant rise in the suicide rate wherein at least six individuals commit suicide every day. In poverty-stricken areas, hunger and malnutrition remain to be the pressing problem among children. For the Philippines, general and even mental health which has become consequential concerns.
Despite the ability to produce quality and driven student, Filipino public schools are in deep need of classrooms and supplies to support their schooling. Because of the growing population and poverty, more and more children fail to grab the opportunity of going to school, which is why scholarships and donations are one of the main things that underprivileged people look forward to.
4. Other sectors
Aside from the aforementioned, there is a myriad of sectors where help would be appreciated such as landless farmers who were slighted by the poor implementation of agrarian reform, indigenous people who are being harassed out of their ancestral lands, orphans, out-of-school youth, internally displaced people who came from conflict areas in Mindanao and many others. There is no shortage of sectors, areas, fields or regions that could use extra assistance.
With everything society is facing, the pressure to address these key issues and to aid these marginalized sectors is tremendous and although it will be a long arduous process, society has to act with urgency and attentiveness. Now is the best time to take part in helping others. If not now, then when?
Improving Corporate Social Responsibility