Social Innovation in the Philippines From Aboitiz Sustainability

Social Innovation in the Philippines From Aboitiz Sustainability

February 16, 2023

When we think of the word “innovation,” the image of new technologies and digital spaces comes to mind. However, there is much more to this concept than just engines developed for the growth of companies and the economy. 

Under this concept is the idea of social innovation, which is what helps our people and our society prosper. Today we’ll dive deeper into social innovation in the Philippines, and why we at Aboitiz Group invest in it each year. 

What is Social Innovation?

Social innovation is the process of developing effective solutions in response to prevalent social and/or environmental issues. Whether this involves changing business policies, setting up new outreach programs, or collaborating with governmental agencies, these innovations help businesses meet their stakeholders’ social needs better than before. 

Social innovation can either target internal or external stakeholders — what’s important here is that such changes have a positive long-term impact at a large scale. 

Why is Social Innovation Important?

Why is Social Innovation Important?

Traditionally, we thought of a “prosperous” society as one with a healthy economy — i.e., one with a high GDP. 

But that’s not always the case. After all, the World Happiness Report found Finland to be the happiest place in the world — and for the fifth time in a row! They don’t have the highest GDP, and yet they have one of the most prosperous societies. 

So why are the Finns more content and fulfilled? Many studies found that Finland is one of the most socially innovative countries, offering a great quality of life (and stability) to its people. These innovations also bring greater value to what public and private organizations provide to their people, leading to them being recognized as one of the fairest countries for even traditionally marginalized citizens. 

What does this tell us? That today’s hyperconnected world means that societal problems are deeply intertwined with economic growth, financial stability, the political climate, and the general happiness of a country. These problems must be addressed, one way or another, for society to be truly prosperous. 

When we look at the idea from this angle, we see that social innovation is the key to achieving it. This is because social innovation brings about necessary and effective change that directly addresses societal problems, which in turn helps sustain economic and social growth.

In a nutshell, embracing social innovation is about making sure your business does good for society, and fuels positive development — both internally and externally.

How Aboitiz Group Uses Social Innovation to Address Community Problems in the Philippines

When it comes to problems within our society, we often look to our government to address them. In an ideal world, they would have the capacity and the means to make substantial changes and meet the needs of our people.

This is not always the case in reality — but that’s where businesses like us come in. We know we have the power to help address these problems within our organization and host communities, so we step up and create the change we need. 

That is, in fact, part of our Aboitiz Way. One of our core values is innovation, which we instill in our A-people and use to carry us through disruptive times. It’s how we help everyone that depends on us. 

Throughout our various businesses (AboitizPower, Aboitiz InfraCapital, AboitizLand, Aboitiz Construction, UnionBank, Pilmico, and Republic Cement), we make collective efforts in using innovation in our policies and operations. As a result, we can provide better services and products, and further improve the value we create for our society. 

For Our A-People

We take care to create a just and fulfilling workplace for our A-people. In that, we implement sound labor practices, ensure we operate responsibly, and empower our people to take part in what we do. This is possible through meaningful engagements we make with our team members. 

First, we create a high-performing organization through our Aboitiz Academy Core and Effectives, mentorship partnerships, Project Me, and performance management initiatives — which equip our team with the skills and knowledge they need to create great work!

Second, we help develop aspiring leaders and support growth. This is possible through our leadership programs that take in those with high potential and tap into their latent strengths and competencies to mold the next generation of leaders in Aboitiz Group.

Build the talent pipeline and develop leadership to support growth

Next, we take steps to cultivate our core values and the right environment to nurture talent. We implement engagement programs, recognition programs, and total rewards management to encourage our people’s growth in a meaningful way.

Lastly, we ensure we deliver an engaging experience to everyone that joins our team. From onboarding to retirement, each step of your professional life with us is inclusive, optimized, and made to bring out the best in you! 

For Our Host Communities

For Our Host Communities

Each of our business units takes part in our goal for social innovation in the Philippines. To make sure that each project we undertake can deliver the much-needed changes for advancing our communities, we follow a specific framework: our CSR 2.0. This helps us design projects that are inclusive, collaborative, and scalable. 

We also have iCSR regional councils: operationalized teams that deliver and manage integrated CSR projects in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Our iCSR councils meet and plan for such projects, and make sure they make the best use of the pooled resources and expertise from our business units and partners.

One example of our ongoing projects is the Cebu A-Park, spearheaded by our iCSR Visayas regional council. Not only is this project set to rehabilitate a 150-hectare area in the Buhisan Watershed, but it will also establish tree nurseries and plantation areas to bolster the local economy. Partner organizations within this community will also be trained by experts in project management and Disaster Risk Reduction Management, to improve their livelihoods and resilience.

Another example is led by our iCSR Mindanao regional council, a Cacao Agribusiness project in Davao city. Here, we partner with the Apo Farmers Multipurpose Cooperative (AFAMULCO) to teach them more effective farming methods, and new ways to participate in the cacao value chain and provide important connections for market selling and financing. This empowers them to not only earn more but also engage in more sustainable farming methods — which will be hugely beneficial for them and their families in the long run! 

These projects are a part of a larger social innovation campaign: Aboitiz’s “25 Good Communities by 2025.” In this campaign, we take part in building resilient and innovative communities, with empowered members of society, and a strong and inclusive economy. 

That said, this only scratches the surface of the social innovations we fuel and lead within our organizations and communities. Click here to see our contributions to this aspect of sustainable development so far!

Key Takeaway

There is a strong connection that links social innovation in the Philippines to our country’s well-being and growth. Only by investing in facing societal challenges, and scaling up our efforts in this arena can we build good, happy communities. 

And that’s what we do — at Aboitiz Group, we co-create safe and sustainable communities in the hope of nurturing more prosperous generations of Filipinos everywhere. To learn more about how we deliver positive outcomes, visit our website!

Social Innovation in the Philippines From Aboitiz Sustainability

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