Shooting for ‘quintuple bottom line’
LCF mounts 11th CSR Expo in July to encourage CSR among PH firmsBy Tina Arceo-Dumlao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In a perfect world, all companies in the Philippines regardless of size—be they micro, small, medium or large—strive to have a healthy quintuple bottom line, as they believe that the business of business is not just business.
Unfortunately, the Philippine corporate world is light years away from being perfect, with only a handful of companies operating in a way that contributes to the country’s social, environmental and economic development within an ethical framework while ensuring sufficient financial returns.
It’s hard enough to meet the so-called triple bottom line that looks after people, planet and profit, and now the emerging global trend is to add two more parameters to define a “good” company: ethical framework and sustained economic development.
But hope springs for the 15-year-old League of Corporate Foundations, which believes that while the number of Philippine companies that subscribe to the quintuple bottom line is still small, it is definitely growing because players in the private sector do understand that the Philippines needs their help to make it to the ranks of the world’s fastest-growing economies while reducing the number of Filipinos living below the poverty line.
LCF is a network of over 70 operating and grant-making corporate foundations and corporations that promotes and enhances the strategic practice of corporate social responsibility among its members and the larger business community, towards sustained national development.
According to LCF chair Augusto Carpio III, who is also managing trustee of Aboitiz Foundation, what could be holding most companies back from embracing the concept of going beyond merely making a profit are lack of inspiration and options on how to implement corporate social responsibility projects that they can sustain over the long term to make a real and measurable impact on poverty alleviation and economic development.
Seeking to point these willing companies in the right direction, LCF mounts various activities such as the annual CSR Expo to promote the adoption of CSR among Philippine firms.
This year, the theme of the CSR Expo, which will be held on July 5 and 6 at the SMX Convention Center, is “Transforming the Business of Giving Back,” in recognition of the need to continue evolving the practice of corporate social responsibility given pressures such as the struggling global economy and the growing social problems in the country.
According to Carpio, the practice of CSR must evolve continuously for the programs to respond to the changing needs of society.
Thus, from pure philanthropy in the 1970s, or the practice of simply signing checks for charity work, CSR now entails developing business solutions to social problems. Companies today also strive to make CSR an integral part of doing business, which explains for example why food companies now adopt farmers who produce the raw materials they need to produce their line of goods.
The fact that there is a slow yet sure increase in the number of CSR projects in the Philippines has made the country one of the leaders in the region when it comes to the practice of CSR among private companies.
Another reason is that the Philippines has a long history of CSR practice.
As early as 1970, long before corporate social responsibility became a buzzword and a topic in local and global conferences, leading companies at that time banded together to form the Philippine Business for Social Progress. Today, it continues to implement projects designed to alleviate poverty and incorporate good corporate citizenship in the way companies do business.
Many groups and companies here and abroad have followed suit, and Carpio says that the LCF is not about to stop efforts to stay a step ahead of the changing trends in CSR work while encouraging more firms to join the movement toward making the quintiple bottom line concept more of the rule in the Philippines, rather than the exception.
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