Big businesses have been urged to translate their corporate social responsibility to the upliftment of the poor by coming up with projects that would include micro-enterprises in their supply chain.
Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), said in a speech at the 27th Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) Conference in Cebu City, exhorted businessmen to become meaningful agents of change.
“Let us transform our businesses into meaningful agents of change and development that uplift the lives of our less fortunate brothers and sisters out of poverty. Let’s translate corporate social responsibility to reality. Nothing is more concrete than real action. Poverty reduction is indeed businessmen’s business,” said Chua.
Hosted by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the conference focused on the theme “Asia Pacific: Catalyst to Global Recovery.” The two-day event, which concluded yesterday, was designed to provide a platform for CACCI members and invited experts to exchange views on measures that the business sector and governments in the region can undertake, amidst a global slowdown, to help sustain growth and enable the Asia-Pacific region to play a catalytic role in the global recovery.
Chua cited multinational corporations and local conglomerates that make good business by helping the poor.
In particular, Chua cited Nestle Corporation for providing opportunities for training, education, and a steady income to poor rural farmers in exchange for a consistent milk supply.
Nestle effectively integrated poverty alleviation into a business model that was mutually beneficial: the company has been able to increase its supply of fresh milk and in return poor communities have benefited from job security, improved nutrition, and a better standard of living,
Closer to home, Chua cited San Miguel Corporation and PureGold Price Club, two of the giants in the Philippine business community.
San Miguel is one of Southeast Asia’s largest publicly listed food and beverage companies. Today, it has grown to become a conglomerate of all industries. Since forty years ago, the company outsources its poultry and food products from various small agricultural producers. Its thriving outsourcing model for growers covers all of the 1,300 contract farms nationwide, he said.
He also noted that Ofel’s Poultry Farm, a contract grower of San Miguel began breeding chicken in 2005 with hardly any capital. Four years later, Ofel’s Poultry Farm has been earning well over P2.5 million a year.
The fact that Magnolia Fresh Chicken is one of San Miguel Food Inc.’s power brands made the poultry farm a sure-fire investment
“But San Miguel management also made sure that their contract growers and breeders are able to deliver the required volume and quality by intensively supporting them with technical assistance to improve their production, financial and management skills,” Chua said.
PureGold on the other hand, is one of the largest chains of supermarkets in the country. It is committed to support the small stores through the Aling Puring store concept that allows micro-entrepreneurs to successfully manage a business of their own. Aside from supporting start-up kiosk, Chua said, PureGold management provides free trainings and seminars that further enriches the entrepreneurial knowledge and management of micro store owners.
PureGold has been successful in bridging start-up businesses with micro-financing institutions. Today, Aling Puring stores have grown to 300,000 and growing. This model has successfully brought entrepreneurship to the rural areas.
“While CACCI is ahead of the curve, it is time we refocus our business’ role to center on empowerment, giving the poor a voice and representation in global markets. Help them acquire knowledge, resource and new technologies to gain access to entirely new economic opportunities,” he said.
He pointed that CACCI members have the capacity to influence the course of history not only for the affluent but also for the less fortunate brethren living below poverty line which is about two US dollars a day.
CACCI is a regional grouping of apex national chambers of commerce and industry, business associations and business enterprises in Asia and the Western Pacific.
It is a non-governmental organization serving as a forum for promoting the vital role of businessmen in the region, increasing regional business interaction, and enhancing regional economic growth. Since its establishment in 1966, CACCI has grown into a network of national chambers of commerce with a total now of 29 Primary Members from 27 countries. It cuts across national boundaries to link businessmen and promote economic growth throughout the Asia-Pacific region. CACCI is a non-governmental organization (NGO) granted consultative status, Roster category, under the United Nations. It is a member of the Conference on NGOs ( CoNGO), an association of NGOs with UN consultative status. (BCM)