Corporate Social Responsibility
Today, we are humbled and grateful to celebrate 100 years of hard-earned wins – only this time, we are celebrating free of formalities and fancies and with a renewed sense of purpose to drive change for a better world. The call to do good has never been greater than it is today. For us in the Aboitiz Foundation, the last 32 years prepared us for a time such as this. While we are grateful to have been given the privilege to help thousands of individuals and communities, there is much work to be done. Filipinos will always wear a smile come rain or shine, mask or no mask. But we would rather see them smiling confidently because they are prepared to overcome challenges. This is why we remain committed to co-creating resilient, empowered and sustainable communities. It is always about progress achieved not by one, but many – not in a day, but throughout generations to come.Maribeth L. Marasigan President and COO of Aboitiz Foundation
The Aboitiz Group’s commitment to giving back is a principle that traces its roots over a century ago when its forefathers first established their business in Leyte. This legacy has been instilled and passed on through generations of its corporate history, with one of its first leaders, Don Ramon Aboitiz, leading the Group’s corporate philanthropy efforts and actively looking after the welfare of his employees.
Over the past years, Aboitiz Foundation has been committed to its mission of helping people help themselves and pursuing its vision to be the neighbor of choice. It constantly delivers value to its stakeholders, including communities where the company operates. It focuses its efforts on education, enterprise development, and environment with the goal of co-creating resilient, empowered and sustainable communities.
Metrics that Matter
Responding to the challenges of the COVID-19 Era
As individuals, organizations, and communities around the world rethink their way of life and choices as a result of the pandemic, we found ourselves asking the same question of purpose: how can we make a more significant contribution to the communities we serve? The Philippines continues to be hammered by COVID-19, ranking second in Southeast Asia for the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths. It strained our healthcare system, exposing decades-old problems in service delivery, manpower and funding. But beyond the case numbers, the impact of COVID-19 rippled across the everyday life of Filipinos. Self-rated hunger is at its highest since 2014 as a result of job losses or underemployment. Five million or 14.6% of the labor force were either let go by their employers or had to look for additional work to meet their basic needs. In the education sector, enrollment dropped to 89% in both public and private schools combined, which means 2.3 million students are out of school. In urban areas where a large population sees a higher rate of transmission, the urban poor is disproportionately affected — facing hunger, joblessness, lack of access to basic services, and threats to their safety. COVID-19 has challenged the status quo of corporate social responsibility.
The need to address the digital divide.
Before COVID-19, the poorest 40% of households in the Philippines have the lowest access to televisions, radios, mobile phones, and computers. Only 4.35% of this group have a computer at home. Low digital literacy and lack of access to technology created undesirable conditions in the delivery of social services, such as distance learning for students.
Greater focus on inclusive recovery
We are uniquely positioned to not just serve the community as a whole, but also focus on tailoring programs for vulnerable groups such as women, children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly. Beyond demographics, there is also a need to help micro and small businesses to find ways to stay afloat especially during these hard times.
Underpin resiliency like never before
Resilience is more than just having a positive outlook — it is having the ability to prepare ahead and use resources to respond to, endure, and bounce forward from unfavorable situations. Disasters have taught us time and again that having a cohesive response and plan of action enable our communities to move the needle between wreck to recovery.
Since the late 1980s, its initiatives have evolved from CSR 1.0, which involves simple philanthropic activities, to CSR 2.0, which implements projects that are more sustainable for its beneficiaries and at the same time aligned to its businesses. This renewed focus calls on the Group to scale up CSR strategies beyond doing good to building good communities together. In 2019, 41% of its CSR projects, such as the Purposive College Scholarship, Mahalin Pagkain Natin, Classroom Rewiring, and the Community-Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Training, reached CSR 2.0 status. Moving forward, it intends to carefully select projects that would help it reach its goal of achieving CSR 2.0.
One notable project is the launch of its online crowdfunding platform, KINDer by Aboitiz (KINDer). Launched in 2018 in conjunction with the Foundation’s 30th anniversary, KINDer enables individuals to participate in various social campaigns, promote CSR projects, and share opportunities to help create a kinder world.
In 1965, Don Ramon gave a big part of his personal wealth to establish the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation, Inc. (RAFI).
RAFI is a family-based foundation that is rooted from the conviction of its founder that “the dignity of man is best respected by helping him realize his hopes and by sharing with him the burden of his fears.” Its vision has consistently been “Touching People, Shaping the Future” while its current focus areas are integrated development, micro-finance and entrepreneurship, culture and heritage, leadership and citizenship, and education.
Aboitiz Foundation also continues to invest heavily on education-related projects. From 2014-2019, it has invested in the education of 302 college scholars and produced 262 graduates, of which 80% were employed. The technical-vocational scholarship has also seen 652 scholars and 578 graduates, with a total employment rate of 56% over the same period.
As it focuses on promoting integration and collaboration, it launched its Integrated CSR (iCSR) strategy, which is operationalized through the iCSR Regional Councils in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao composed of CSR teams in the said locations. These councils regularly meet to discuss, plan, and manage integrated CSR projects that highlight the pooling of resources and sharing of expertise of various Aboitiz business units and partners.
- Launched the Aboitiz Scholarship Microsite, a one-stop scholarship hub created for our scholars nationwide. This app is easily accessible to all scholars nationwide.
- Successfully conducted the Aboitiz Beyond Classrooms, a virtual learning series for Aboitiz Scholars which serves as a platform that combines all virtual learning activities targeting various education stakeholders.
- Launched the Aboitiz College Scholarship Application Online, moving the annual recruitment process from manual to fully digital.
- Successfully implemented the KINDer GC, a project that promotes a KINDer Christmas by encouraging the spirit of giving through KINDer Gift Certificates. From the initial target of PHP200,000 the project reached PHP1.5 million at the end of December 2020.
- Implemented Digital Coops in partnership with UnionBank’s GlobalLinker and DTI, transforming our coop-partners into digital coops so they can take advantage of emerging opportunities in e-commerce.
- Provided [re]start support to help communities recover their livelihoods that were affected by COVID-19. Launched the Community Products Microsite which supported the cooperatives in marketing their products online.
- Conducted E-learning Seminars on Cooperative Strengthening, and Business Continuity Planning and Disaster Risk Reduction, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Development Authority, and Go Negosyo which benefited 264 participants in 9 organizations nationwide.
- Launched the AXIS eLearning for CSR BU Officers, which aims to effectively educate the AXIS users of the system’s capability and functions to navigate the system with minimal assistance.
- Launched the CSR Academy Microsite, a platform that provides online courses and modules that the Foundation curated from various sources. Aboitiz CSR Academy responds and executes one of Aboitiz Foundation’s strategic pillar Capability Building, to enrich the CSR professionals in the Aboitiz Group so they can effectively deliver their social responsibility mission.
- Conducted CSR 102 and CSR Clinics, activities that emphasizes the details of using AXIS, project documentation and implementation requirements both in accounting and admin systems.
- Partnered with civil society organizations to implement 17 new various donation campaigns on our crowdfunding website, KINDer by Aboitiz.
- Spearheaded several relief operations to include Taal Volcano Eruption, Masbate Earthquake, COVID-19 Response, Typhoon Rolly and Ulysses.
- Implemented post-disaster livelihood rehabilitation projects for Taal Volcano eruption and Masbate earthquake-affected internally displaced people.
- Launched the BEST Bus (Business for Environmentally Sustainable Transformation), the first fully electric, free ride shuttle service in Mindanao, making Davao among the first pilot cities in the country.
- Pilot Adopt-a-City to promote disaster resilience via resource-sharing, to properly equip the city in times of emergencies and disasters, and to prepare it in terms of immediate recovery.
- Implement LCF WinS (WASH in Schools) in cooperation with the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) and other corporate foundations to ensure a clean and safe learning environment as we prepare for the resumption of physical classes across the country.
- Establish Digital Schools or digital learning delivery by building the capability of educators to teach online and to support the Learning Continuity Plan (LCP) of the Department of Education. We will do this by partnering with UnionBank and CitySavings on their implementation of HEROES 2021 and PROJECT AGILE.
- Continue to bridge education to employment by continuing our college and techvoc scholarship programs and pursue existing education projects aligned with our strategy. Expansion of Digital Coops Project / E-Commerce in more areas and exploring the use of digital technology in agriculture to help farmers access new markets or facilitate partnerships and processes across value chains.
- Evaluation of the pilot implementation of BEST Bus and explore expansion in other areas.
- Focus on watershed rehabilitation to include protection and conservation practices and agroforestry aside from tree planting.