More than 150 leaders in business and government convened at “Fostering CSR in the Philippines: Conference on Responsible Business” for a joint effort to champion corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a way for companies to mitigate and address social and environmental challenges.
Organized by the Embassy of Sweden in Manila, Asean CSR Network (ACN) and the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF), the conference is aimed at driving momentum for a business community that protects not only profits, but also people and the planet.
Among the notabe leaders who spoke are Swedish Ambassador to Manila Ambassador Harald Fries, Asean CSR Network Chair Yanti Triwadiantini, League of Corporate Foundations Chairman Roderick De Castro, Chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights Philippine Representative Leo Herrera-Lim, CSR Ambassador of Sweden Diana Madunic, Department of Labor and Employment Undersecretary Claro Arellano.
The conference aimed to showcase the best practices in CSR by Swedish and Filipino companies, ranging from social initiatives—such as farmer empowerment programmes, protection of migrant workers, and initiatives to ensure communities making way for large infrastructure projects are resettled in a responsible manner – to environmental initiatives, such as sustainable packaging and waste management.
Swedish companies that shared their insights include IKEA, Scania, Tetra Pak, Ericsson and H&M while Filipino companies included Ayala Corporation, Jollibee Group, Nestle, San Roque Power Corporation, BPI and Bato-Balani.
Apart from the private sector, speakers for the conference also included leaders from the government, academia and civil society organisations. They are TeaM Energy Foundation, National Economic Development Authority (NEDA), Trade Union Congress of the Philippines, Fair Hiring Initiative, Asian Institute of Management, Municipality of San Felipe in Zambales and CEMEX Philippines Foundation.
The conference presented participants with an opportunity to understand why companies chose to operate responsibly, how they spearhead a movement in their own industries, and most importantly the business case for why more companies should follow suit. It was also an opportunity for Sweden to share its expertise and experience in implementing a strong and comprehensive CSR business model through extensive environmental protection, active measures to respect human rights and improve work places, and fighting corruption.
Participants learned about the current trends in CSR as exemplified by successful programs by Swedish pioneers, progress made in the Philippines, common challenges faced, future trends, as well as in-depth topics such as inclusive labor relations, inclusive supply chains and inclusive community development.