I remembered when I was a freshman majoring in Political Science, I had so much difficulty in grasping the roles played out by businesses in society. I was so convinced that business, especially large corporations, was the source of greed in the world. It was the way that capitalists impose their will and greed to the people that gave in by buying their products. There was no way that I would want to work for these greedy businesses; I would want to serve others through the institution that really is about service to the people, the government. But, the last 6 terms since made me realize that I was so misguided about my opinions.
As a LIACOM major, I had the opportunity of studying two fields at the same time. I have my Development Studies program from CLA and my Business Management degree from COB. I was being introduced to marketing strategies to attract consumers to purchase products while being grounded on the prevailing societal issues that the Philippines faces. The first few terms that I started taking subjects in the College of Business really transformed my ideals and presumptions on the roles and functions of businesses in society.
Businesses are here for the purpose of profit and employing people. That is the narrow definition that I would use in describing the roles of businesses. What I previously thought inadequate and non-inclusive. During the course of my study, I have come to realize that businesses are not inherently greedy and bad, but they serve a purpose for instigating the much needed change that the society needs. They answer the call of the people by providing them the necessary products and services they demand; and sometimes, they even go the extra mile by giving back to the community to which they owe their success.
With that idea, shouldn’t businesses have made an impact by employing people? Wouldn’t their products be of service to the idea of improving the lives of their consumers? Sadly, it is not the case all the time. Sometimes, there is a mismatch between the intentions of the business and what the people expect out of them. The basic interaction of businesses with their consumers is through the transactions they make. Essentially, both parties agree that the price demanded by the business will be the equivalent value that consumers are willing to pay for that product or service.
The ideal situation is that both the business and its consumers agree. However, there are times wherein the transaction may seem legitimate, but it is being used as a guise for the hidden intentions of the former. They can exploit the customer for their money. I do not need to find any more proof of this because it is quite evident in media today. Businesses would go to the extent of neglecting safety standards of medicine, toys, and beauty products along with other products so that they would earn more by reducing the costs. They are willing to endanger lives so that they may earn money for themselves. These businesses only look at their consumer as sources of profit, nothing more.
In that process, the individual is being violated and manipulated. The business is not respecting the rights and dignity of that individual. It is a failure on the part of the business to recognize that the individual they are transacting with is a human person with feelings, emotions, esteem, intelligence and dignity. There is a strong sense of disconnect between what we perceive as the necessary behaviour and traits that is expected out of the business with what they show and apply in their practices.
So, what? Are we just going to accept that that’s the way things are? Or that has been the practice for so long, so what’s the point in changing it? No, we are not just going to accept this situation just because it has been this way for quite some time. It is time for us to realize that as consumers, we should learn how to protect our rights and welfare. We should educate ourselves on what can we do if we were put in a situation where the business is undermining our personhood. We should be able to stand up for what we know is right and for what we deserve out of them. Just by engaging to other people about this topic is a step in gaining the necessary momentum for businesses and consumers to finally treat one another with respect, dignity, and humanity.
It is only fair that the business should do their part in addressing the issue. It is not enough to empower consumers in the event of businesses undermining their personhood. Business should not even consider doing what is best for their customers; they just have to do it. Anything less than that would constitute as a violation of the rights and dignity of the people. These groups should be the one to initiate mutual respect with their constituents and stakeholders.
This can be easily be done by adhering to the generally accepted moral standards that society has in place. Obeying the minimum standards as indicated in the law; or at the very least, businesses should do no harm to others should be the minimum concern of a business. However, it simply is not enough today. More and more people realize that as businesses grow, opportunities grow and general living standards increase. But, there are still those that are ruled out from this progress and thus, poverty is still a huge concern.
I recognize that the business owners are very much concerned by the success of their enterprise and they commonly measure it through the profits they make. In the process of maximizing profit, they invest heavily on new equipment, methods, approaches and techniques that would make production more efficient by cutting down costs. This now begs the question: “To what extent would the business go so that they would make more money?” This is, for me, the most sensitive issue that any business owner has to deal with. Whether we like it or not, money is simply important and attractive to any person and we as individuals need to know how to handle it properly and ethically. Businesses have a heavier responsibility on this part; they create opportunities for others to develop and progress by providing people a place to work. They are the source of money for most people and that is why they play a critical role in promoting abundance and wealth in society.
Yes, the business should be concerned about their profits. But, their responsibility should not stop there. Now that we have addressed how the business plays an integral role in society, we should now focus on how the business would play its role in society correctly. Drawing from the sustainable framework that I learned in my class in Sustainable Development and applying that concept in business would be the most effective measure that I can think of in promoting progress, equitable wealth distribution and overall growth. The idea of sustainable development has three core aspects to it: economic, social, and environmental. Basically, the decisions businesses should make should adhere to what is best for those three principles.
By taking into consideration those three in the decision-making process, we can be assured that actions we take now will not endanger opportunities reserved for future generations. While practicing sustainable decisions, we also promote the improvement of people, planet, and profit at the same time. Sustainable decision making would address that people would be treated with dignity, respect, and equality. Sustainable decision making would address that businesses can still grow and profit without endangering the environment. It would promote the promise of opportunity, enterprise, and innovation while adhering that people and the planet are being respected and treated fairly. It is a very difficult model to follow and not all businesses would want to engage in such a movement. But, companies such as Adidas and L’Oreal was ranked in the top 25 most sustainable corporations for 2015, according to Corporate Knights, a media company in Toronto, prove that you can take care of your employees, customers and the environment while earning large profit margins.
Looking back at the time that I had my misguided beliefs on businesses and their functions in the larger society, I would cringe and laugh on how uneducated I was to what I thought businesses were. What brought me to a more critical and intelligent understanding of business is the education that I am currently receiving as a student. I would place my bet that by educating people to what a business ought to be will really be a step forward in promoting innovation, wealth and opportunity for everyone in society. If it worked on me, it surely would be an eye-opener to everyone else.
CK Staff. (2015). 2015 Global 100 results: The results for the 2015 global 100 most sustainable companies in the World index. Retrieved 8 July 2015 from: http://www.corporateknights.com/reports/global-100/2015-global-100-results/.
Ever since I was young, my dad and mom would tell me that in business, profit is the most important thing and I would think “Yeah, isn’t it obvious?” As I grow older and see how the business industry works I started thinking “How do we give back to our employees or our customers though?” Sure they have the benefits from the government like the SSS, PhilHealth, Pag-Ibig, etc., but then how about helping them with their career? I would see big corporations abusing and taking advantage of their employees and think “They are the lucky ones, then why can’t they share it with the others?” and as usual it is just the rich that is getting richer, but are they really gaining anything in life? It is just like the saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” As I grew older, I realized that it’s better to share your skills to others, so they too can benefit from it. Why not train the people around you? Even way before entering college, I have always enjoyed helping around, making people smile, and just being a good company to the ones who need it. I have always enjoyed joining different social action programs. There are times that they are required for school, but I never did mind, because I knew that it is my way of giving back to what has been blessed to me. Giving back doesn’t need to be in a grand way, it just needs to be in a right way and knowing that they will gain something that they can cherish or remember for a very long time. As I get older though, it seems like it is “kulang pa,” especially when thinking about what I have learned in college and trying to apply it to everyday. It is a challenge, but with this challenge, I learn something new and try to make things work out. In college, you will see the real images of corporations, not just how they make profit, but how they try to also give back to others. Yes, at the same time you can see that they’re trying to promote their product or themselves, but that’s the point of managing an organization. Sell yourself, but don’t only focus on yourself, you must also bring others with you and try to boost them up. – SUGAR SANCHEZ (not yet done yo but yes I am here)
“You’re all business students, right? So you all want to be rich. Whoever opposes that idea can get out of this room now.”
Those weren’t the exact lines, but I remembered that moment well. It was Ms. Zamora who said those lines during her Arts in Advertising talk, one of the very first talks that I’ve attended in DLSU. The moment she said those words, I really wanted to go out of the room because I was the type of person who was against capitalism. Funny, right? A business student in DLSU who’s against capitalism. Looking back at my reaction, I realized that I was quite naïve and impractical to be a Marketing student who puts money as a secondary priority. As I got to enroll in my business classes, my perspective on capitalism changed because the knowledge and experience that I received made me less biased. My education in the College of Business allowed me to see the world simultaneously through the eyes of a businessman and a consumer. From that standpoint, my opinions developed and it made me less to the world of business enterprises. I was also able to generate ideas on how responsible corporations should go about.
On the first day of CSRGOVE, I heard the words that I was looking forward to hear throughout my whole three years in DLSU. I don’t remember the words exactly but it went along the lines of “it’s your job as a corporation to put profit first because you need money to help those around you.” It was so simple but it still needed to be heard and taught to existing corporations, and especially students who plan on entering the business world. They need to be educated on how they can alleviate the problems of society with the power and profit that they are privileged with.
In CSRGOVE class, we used the Catholic definition of human dignity, for me, human dignity simply means regarding a person with honor. It has multiple factors to consider such as physiological needs, legal rights, and psychological as well as cultural integrity; every person is different. The only means of creating value for a corporation is through human involvement – touching the lives of their employees, consumers, shareholders, beneficiaries, and society. For businesses to respect the dignity of a human person, they can start with their internal structure – their employees. Based from experience, there are some corporations, such as small-scale coffee shops, that can’t comply with the minimum wage standard for their employees. To compensate for this, they can focus on different sectors such as providing them with meals, being flexible on their time, and overall treating them, as unique individuals that play integral roles that give life to the business.
A few terms ago in my STRATMA (Strategic Management) class, I was assigned to read “Toward the Common Good of the Firm” by Prof. Benito Teehankee. He explains that the common good is something that is good for everyone and not just for most of the people in society. He also gives examples of the common good such accessible and affordable public health care system, effective system of public safety and security, peace among the nations of the world, a just legal and political system, an unpolluted natural environment, and a flourishing economic system. Given those examples, the common good is a concept for an idealistic world, but corporations can promote the common good by creating value for everyone, not just those who are directly involved in their business. An example would be that corporations could integrate a CSR branch that promotes the welfare of a group of people that do not directly have any connection with their business, but whom they can sustain with their business operations.
Incorporating the concept of principal subsidiarity in a corporation can give the organization’s employees a sense of freedom to organize their work, take initiatives, to be responsible, and to make decisions within the unity of the organization. The role of the government or any other external organization is to simply support and be the last resort for a conflict to be resolved. Corporations can encourage subsidiarity by trusting their employees as well as dividing them into groups within the corporation. For a corporation to be successful, it has to engage with the community. Applying the lessons I’ve learned in CSRGOVE, for a corporation to be involved in making the lives of the community better, their plan must be in relation to the nature of their business in order for it to be sustainable. There has to be a mutual relationship of a firm and the community for both sides to have camaraderie; the firm nurtures society, and the society respects and contributes to the firm in return. Building this relationship with the community also establishes solidarity among the people to help each other. As a business leader, there is also the responsibility of not only to your corporation but also to the community. My mother has always been my role model, especially as a businesswoman. During the rainy season, she has to stop the operations for the development of subdivisions so she, as well as her employees, do not generate income. She made her workers plant crops on the site that they were developing and she made them clean the surrounding barangay while paying them less than what they usually earn but her aim was to provide their families income and food from the produce that they planted. This program did not only benefit her employees but the corporation was able to establish a relationship with the barangay as well.
As a businessman, there is also an economic responsibility that one must be aware of: the profit for the corporation itself as well as the economic state of the country. Michael Porter in The Competitive Advantage of Nations explains that “by providing jobs, investing capital, purchasing goods, and doing business everyday, corporations have a profound and positive influence on society. The most important thing a corporation can do for society, and for any community, is contribute to a prosperous economy (Porter & Kramer, 2006).
During our most recent lecture in class, we discussed about CSR and the environment. Businesses can promote environmental responsibility in three ways: market, regulatory, and sustainability approach. The environment does not target to a specific group, but it affects all that inhibit the Earth. Corporations benefit from the environment, it is with natural resources that they are able to construct their factories and manufacture goods. Businesses can lessen their impact on the environment by adapting their practices to more naturalistic methods, or at least by replacing what they took.
From everything that I’ve gathered from my education, experience, and my own input, I leave with a quote that has summarized Corporate Social Governance in the simplest way: “Goodness is the only investment that never fails” – Henry David Thoreau
Porter M. (June 1, 2998). Competitive advantage of nations. Simon & Schuster Inc: NY
Teehankee B. (2014). Towards a common good model of the firm. DLSU Business & Economics Review 24.1, pp. 1-12
As the saying by Albert Einstein goes, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Ever since high school, it has brought me so much joy to be of service to others – to be able to contribute my time, efforts, and little resources that I have to the community and people who needed it the most. It was fueled when I first volunteered to help in our school’s Christmas outreach, which served as an eye-opener, daunting on me the harsh reality of life and realizing life’s simple blessings. Since then, I have looked forward to outreaches and community projects that allowed me to witness genuine smiles of my unfortunate Filipino brothers and sisters. In college, the community projects I was immersed in were consistent and somehow, sustainable. During my freshman year, I was enrolled in the Civic Welfare-Training Service (CWTS) program, requiring each of us to teach core subjects (E.g. Math and English) to a child in the community every Saturday for approximately 10 weeks. Recently, we were tasked to come up and implement our own service learning project with the focus on raising awareness on health and wellness among Filipino children, because health plays a vital role in achieving one’s dream. This time though, it was essential to guarantee the project’s sustainability and to leave a legacy for others to continue. As an individual citizen, I was able to leave an impact to our beneficiary, Missionaries of the Poor, along with the help of my groupmates.
With more capital and resources, other citizens of our country, such as business leaders, can do even much more than what we did to make a notable difference in the lives of others. Although, from the perspective of a Business student, the main purpose of a business is often to provide products and services to its customers and to generate revenue, which is actually relevant in ensuring sustainability of projects. Still, these organizations should make a significant impact to stakeholders involved – the employees, the customers, the shareholders, the government and most especially, the community – and to create solutions for social issues as I have learned in my Corporate Social Responsibility class. In fact, businesses are also active members of our country, who have a significant role in governance – to play a part in the development and welfare of the country, to cooperate with the political authorities, to support the constitution and obey the laws (Rivas and Nael, 2010), and to make a difference in our society. Interestingly, these organizations have the ability to promote the dignity of the human person, the common good, principle of subsidiarity, people’s participation in community building, solidarity among citizens, equitable distribution of wealth, sustainability, and the proper use of the earth’s remaining natural resources. Given so, such firms are presumed to engage in corporate social responsibility, which achieves a balance of three aspects, namely economic, social, and environmental.
As businesses are involved with various stakeholders, they must uphold and protect human dignity, which often arises through interaction. These organizations must ensure that their structures, policies, and practices actually promote human dignity and avoid exploitation of stakeholders. In fact, these firms must start with following the rules and certain standards imposed by the government with regards to running a business. Firms must treat its employees as human beings with dignity and autonomy by fulfilling their duties with provision of a healthy and safe workplace, fair wages, and job satisfaction as well as giving them the liberty to decide on how to perform their jobs. At the same time, employees must be valued and listened to, regardless of the position they hold in the company. With the customer as king of the business, enterprises must treat them with dignity as well by respecting them, allowing them to freely consent to transactions, providing actual benefits of the product or service, and grounding the business on social values, such as fairness, justice, and health and safety. Consistency, quality, and safety of products and services are some important considerations that must be provided to customers, especially those that could risk the lives of the customers. Thus, it is needed for the company to do what is moral minimum and do its responsibilities faithfully to promote dignity.
Many businesses have realized a wider objective than generating profit, which is to promote the well-being of the community. Through creation and implementation of sustainable CSR activities that are in line with their business and universal values, firms address certain issues and alleviate social and ecological problems as well; thus, promoting the common good. For example, Nestle Bear Brand’s Laki Sa Gatas program raises awareness among public school communities on the importance of healthy nutrition and deals with the main problems faced by public school children, such as malnutrition. Firms do so because the success of business does not only lie on profit alone, but also on its long-term sustainable impact on the society. Moreover, these companies are more capable of contributing different types of capital – physical, environmental, human, and social – to act on certain issues than the government is (Williams, 2013).
With many issues faced by the country, businesses are to promote the principle of subsidiary. Rather than relying on the government’s actions, families, businesses, and other members of the society must work together to resolve issues and problems faced by community. For example, Ayala’s Center of Excellence in Public Elementary Education (CENTEX), aims to eradicate poverty and provide quality education to unfortunate and intellectually gifted kids, in order to give them an opportunity to a brighter future through operating two schools – one in Tondo and another in Batangas (Ayala Foundation, Inc., n.d.). As a result of providing educational opportunities to deserving students, Ayala is able to develop the skills of the community, allowing them to invest in people, who could add to their success in the future.
Moreover, businesses promote participation and solidarity of people in community-building by involving their employees and other stakeholders, such as customers, in their projects. Employees will not only serve as volunteers in their company’s activities, but also contribute in planning, managing, and evaluating. Through this, they will be able to enhance skills, voice out concerns, and become an advocate of change themselves. Moreover, firms must maintain effective community relations to realize its priorities and responsibilities to the community, which may involve economic, legal, ethical, and philanthropic issues, and to promote participation among members of the community. This way, enterprises are able to work hand in hand with a variety of stakeholders in creating and implementing projects that deal with social issues and promote meaningful involvement among citizens.
In addition, firms deal with the economic aspect of CSR through promoting equitable distribution of wealth, which is defined as “a comparison of the wealth of various members or groups in a society” (Boundless, 2015). Companies, somehow, have the capability to distribute its wealth equitably to its stakeholders. These organizations should give equitable distribution of company’s excess profits to shareholders and provide fair compensation based on work rendered to its employees. Moreover, firms can purchase local products and services and can generate jobs for members of the society in order to further promote equitable distribution of wealth.
Lastly, companies tend to use majority of the earth’s limited and decreasing natural resources, yet. Moreover, these firms are considered as the biggest polluters of the environment. For these mentioned reasons, they are supposed to reduce their impact on the environment, even if it means incurring higher costs. This includes investing in new machines that cut down gas and chemical emissions, separating biodegradable and non-degradable waste in stores to promote recycling even among customers, using recycled materials in office supplies and even in production, sourcing energy and electricity through solar panels, conserving resources that are now limited, and properly eliminating waste. For example, Audi invests in technologies that increases efficiency of TDI engines and reduce waste manufacturing processes to cut down on carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, it saves and reuses water, reduces carbon footprint through usage of different sources of energy, refuses to use materials that contain CFCs and adhesives to reduce solvent emissions, and the like (Audi United Kingdom, n.d.). Specifically, through my Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance Class, I further learned three approaches in ensuring sustainable development of the environment – market, regulatory, and sustainability. By implementing the sustainability approach, enterprises, are able to uphold social justice through the concept of intergenerational equity – leaving a productive world with enough natural resources to be used by the generations to come.
In fact by promoting these ideas, elements, and principles, the firm also benefits as well — giving the firm a competitive advantage over others. Trust, loyalty, commitment, creativity, and initiative are some of which will flourish within the company and even within the community. To reiterate, “Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” This, I believe, is also applicable to the life of a business – as a good corporate citizen serving and transforming the lives of others faithfully, it will continue with its success, carry on a legacy, and leave a remarkable change in our nation.
Through these learnings in my Corporate Social Responsibility and Governance, I hope, that one day, I will be able to look back and make a significant change in the society, especially as I become the owner of my own business or a manager of a multinational corporation. If not us, then who else? It is up to us, the current generation, to spark a change towards one goal – the progression and betterment of our nation. As Filipinos, let us do these things for God and for country with the assurance that each of us will be waking up to a better tomorrow.
Audi United Kingdom. (n.d.). Environment. Retrieved: July 9, 2015, from: https://www.audi.co.uk/about-audi/corporate-responsibility/environment.html
Ayala Foundation, Inc. (n.d.). Centex. Retrieved: July 8, 2015, from: http://www.ayalafoundation.org/ourprograms/education-2/centex/
Boundless. “Distribution of Wealth and Income.” Retrieved July 9, 2015 from https://www.boundless.com/sociology/textbooks/boundless-sociology-textbook/global-stratification-and-inequality-8/a-comparative-analysis-of-global-stratification-in-mexico-71/distribution-of-wealth-and-income-416-10395/
N.a. (2010). ‘Laki sa Gatas’ holds nutrition lectures in local languages. Retrieved: July 8, 2015, from: http://www.philstar.com/science-and-technology/546085/laki-sa-gatas-holds-nutrition-lectures-local-languages
Rivas, D. & Nael, M. Politics, governance, and the Philippine Constitution. Philippines: REX Book Store.
I will start my reflection with first defining what CSRGOVE truly is in its most native and pristine form, and for that matter it may well be considered as rawest principle of everything that is taught under CSRGOVE. This I believe will be being good and being kind. Throughout the course of CSRGOVE our professor has tried to instill in us some of the beliefs he had about particular realities that is common across the globe. He shared his perspective on numerous topics and tried his best to make an impression that he hopes will last well beyond our time inside the four corners of the classroom every Tuesday and Thursday at 12:30 to 2:30 of the afternoon.
We talked about the dignity of the human person and how each and every individual, regardless of race, education, age, history, or of who they are, that they should be treated with utmost respect even if one absolutely knows nothing about that person. Our professor tried to teach his students the importance of treating customers with dignity and respect when it comes to doing business. After sharing examples ranging from small time merchants who take advantage of their customers by selling substandard products or services, to the behemoth of the businesses that are having malpractices in their respective businesses. I imagine it is easy to forget about the customers that our business depend on for them to thrive when the business is well established. But I do believe that for a business to truly thrive and prosper, businesses need to focus on providing value to their customers.
We talked about the basic needs of a human person and the sad reality that not everyone is given the luxury of having the opportunity to better themselves without thinking of whether they will be able to survive the day which as a matter of fact most of us who are blessed, take for granted. During class, we are shown the abuse done to those who are only looking a means by which they could survive another day. Making people work more hours that they’re bodies can handle is conveying it in such a way that words will never be able to fully paint the picture. People work tirelessly only to be paid a wage that is hardly adequate for any human being to live on give this time and age. Workers actually kill themselves just to escape this, dare I say, atrocities, and instead of the companies addressing the needs of their laborers in a decent , humane and fair way, the companies actually continue their malpractices and instead of providing for their workers to prevent them from committing suicide.
We also talked about the importance of being a good member of the community. Wherein that responsible member is held accountable for the development and the upliftment of his/hers fellow individual. In class, our professor tried to instill in us that we as a community should work together to build a better and brighter future for the next generation. Our professor tried to emphasize the fact that to solve the problems that we are currently facing, the world and its citizens must realize that there is no them, there is no I and there is we, there is only us. Us who are responsible for taking care of the environment, us who are responsible to take care of the community and us who are responsible for one another.
In this day and age, when technology seem to be well integrated in the daily lives of the people, humanity I’m afraid is getting less evident in the majority of the people. I may be wrong here and surely, I want to, but the realities that this world faces by the hands of none other than ourselves is hard to refute. People, I’m afraid are losing their sense of solidarity by focusing too much in their individuality. While I’m not saying that our individuality isn’t of importance, I believe that we should strike a balance between the two. While individuality is important, as it is a reflection upon ourselves and how unique each and everyone are, we must use that uniqueness not as a means to categorize our fellow human beings but use that to better the community and the world that we live in. Whether in business, by having equal distribution of health, or to the environment where in we band together, use our different skills and talents to take care of mother earth for the next generation. Solidarity therefore is something that we should have together with our individualities to address any of our current problems.
Before I conclude I would also like to talk about the environment and how our professor tried to show us the realities that some of may be ignorant of. It is true that Global Warming has been happening hundreds of year before we were even born, but I believe that this is not a reason for us to neglect the proper stewardship of this Earth that we all live in. Humans, blinded by their constant growth through technology, have been slowly participating in the destruction of mother earth that we should be taking care of. I’m afraid that we as human beings, are so consumed with technology and the wonders it gives that we forget that natural wonders that are already there. I do believe even before my CSRGOVE class that we should be responsible for the actions that we make, especially with mother earth which will be one of our many gifts to the next generation.
I just want to share what I strongly believe in as the solution of all the problems that we are facing. I believe after everything that is happening the only solution is the being good to others and especially being kind to one another. I believe that the goodness and kindness in each and every person is the only solution to any problem that we are facing and we will face. Therefore I urge, everyone to practice and show the goodness and kindness that I believe is inherently inside each and everyone of us.
Community has played a major role in our lives. Back in history, even before the Spaniards came Filipinos already have established their form of government. At the same time it was because of community that Filipinos were able to abolish the conquerors in 1898. Today, with the developing technologies and flourishing businesses, we can see how Philippines have evolved throughout the years. Although, despite of its improvements, it has been a struggle for our country to quickly innovate as a society in comparison to countries, such as Singapore and South Korea, that used to be in worse conditions are now actually more progressive than us. The prevalence of problems in corruption, poverty and lack of local opportunities continue to hinder Philippines to maximize its full potential and succeed in building up the society. However, business enterprises should take advantage of corporate social responsibility in influencing their members through support & belief of a goal, collective wisdom, and accountability which are qualities of having a strong community. This is vital until it ripple its way until majority of people are participating in building society.
Studying corporate social responsibility has opened more doors for my learning. By, having a degree program on behavioral science one aspect is that we were taught about manager who is able to take care of his organization and its stakeholders. But, in CSRGOVE it gave me a more technical and a wider perspective when it comes to the responsibility of businesses in taking care of the people especially those who belong in the marginalized sector of the population.
Business corporations must realize their impact to those surrounding them in a way that they could provide programs that seek to promote progress in our country. Through this kind of goal these organizations should set an example to the citizens by making their members actively partake in their efforts. Not only they should support the goal, but importantly have the belief to achieve them with this gesture the members would be able to take note of how vital the goal is in the mission of the company, which also increases their motivation to contribute. In having a goal it is important to always take the first step, which was taught to us in CSRGOVE in leading a group that is significant in the case of these organizations since they have much more impact with the public.
Organizations should also have a collective wisdom about the target issue. They should be able to assess the problem first and let their members understand the importance to address it, wherein it answers the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and ‘how’ questions. Informing the members is a way to initiate suggestions and helping them that what they are doing is not only for themselves but also for everyone else. This is also to prevent resistance in doing executing the programs, yet at the same time giving them the macro perspective of the situation. Similarly, it translates that the members have the opportunity to voice out their opinions in formulating strategies or other ways to spread out the message. Furthermore, through the members they would be able to emphasize their agenda to the citizens, educating them about the benefits it has for everyone, therefore sparking their interest.
Creating programs for the community is just a part of a jigsaw puzzle. What should the company be more careful of? Accountability. When we say accountability, we are basically responsible of the risks that belong to our efforts. And this should not demoralize us from doing the right decisions, as this also can be translated to have garnered the trust and rapport from the community. Then, one thing the organization must do is to let this people realize of the problems that cannot be easily ceased as if it has already been in a cycle. In this way, they get to see the big picture of the causes and its consequences, in which they would have time to reflect on their actions.
The subject CSRGOVE has somehow enlightened me the realities of what is happening in our society. I saw the social cancer based from the historical books, and to my disappointment even up to now. For me, it is not enough that we are aware of these and what concerns me the most is the lack of initiative by most of our fellow Filipinos who has already seemed given up. Like what we all say, there is still a chance. Given the fact that we already have the resources and the capacity to do such it should not keep us within our comfort zone and it is time for us alleviate these problems in our society. The social media has been a great platform for the people to finally voice out their repressed souls. In my opinion, these business enterprises and organizations must take a stand with what is happening, as they have the capacity to prompt the people of what they can do for a change. And with regard to the people, they must realize the power that they have as a community. Personally, I do not trust the government anymore, but because of CSRGOVE it made me create new options as to how as a citizen should address these issues. Cliché as it may sound, but really change is within the people and should not be consumed by the system and businesses could have the ability to negate the corruptible workings of the government, set an example, and instill discipline. CSRGOVE has paved a way for us future business leaders by exposing us in these activities that cater to the people in need. It is a reminder that aside from gaining profit, we must realize that there are other sectors affected by their actions. Overall, considering the influence that these businesses have they should have the decency to put it into good use. And, with corporate social responsibility it is an instrument for us to keep ourselves grounded when it comes to dealing with the society and business.
– Kem Limpiado
I started my journey in DLSU under the degree program of International Studies – Major in European Studies. Love for country and love for culture have always been important to me, and they started because of the various activities that I was exposed to as I grew up. At an early age, my mother taught me the importance of Philippine history, as she frequently took me on field trips to different places around the country. Every trip had a different experience to offer, and I find myself constantly seeking meaningful experiences. I grew a specific interest in everything and anything to do with arts, culture, human rights, history, the environment, international cuisines, and travel. My heart wants to build a greater Philippines, and I feel that it is my obligation to do something for my country because I know I am capable of making a difference. I came to the belief that a good way for me to help my country is through Foreign Service, because this avenue would give me a voice that would be recognized by the government, and anyone who would care to listen. However, I’ve shifted to a Business degree under the instruction of my parents, and this has forced me to take a different perspective on how I can still help build a better Philippines. I’d like to live my life in such a way that I am a person who is of service to others. I remind myself that is it important to live a life for something greater than myself. Regardless of the degree I take up in college, I do not feel any less capable of achieving my dreams. Through the class in Corporate Social Responsibility, my personal beliefs in helping people are affirmed, because now I am sure that businesses can still operate successfully even while being a contributing member of society. The class opens my eyes to what kind of corporations I’d like to work with, and it changes my definitions of what a “good” company is. As a business major, I think it is important that everything I do reflects my principles, so my business decisions need to echo those principles. Corporations and business enterprises have the power to do great, impactful things, simply because of things like size, purchasing power, and influence. These businesses have a lot to do with people; there are people who are directly involved in operating the business, like the owners and the employees; the people directly affected by these businesses, like customers, the competition, and those located near the businesses area of operations; and then there are people who are indirectly affected by the business operations, like the families of the employees, and mother nature. Businesses need to protect the welfare of all of these people, especially Mother Nature.
I’m actually glad that this is a course being taught in the curriculum, because a lot of businesses nowadays forget to treat people like people, to consider the environment, and to have ethical business practices. Some business only think about the profit. I like that the class teaches us to appreciate the good practices of corporations today, and it inspires us to emulate these practices when it is our turn to run out own businesses. Businesses of the future need to be more than just profitable, but they have to be sustainable, and geared towards the common good. I’m hopeful that in the future, Corporate Social Responsibility will not just be a trend, but a commonly accepted business practice; ingrained as an essential component of running a business. I am also in full support of the principle of subsidiarity, especially because in the Philippines, we do not have the best government, so those who are experts in their field should be entitled to deal with the matters they have set on their plate. If the government cannot be expected to take care of our farmers, our teachers, our roads, and our people, what more entrust them to deal with matters that family units or communities are very well capable of handling? I believe that Filipinos are ingenious, and it isn’t just the people we’ve elected in government who have functioning brains. I think the government needs to invest in our people, take a chance on our people, so that we may be educated and grow, and so that we can take a step closer to a brighter future. I am a firm believer that education is a key element in improving everyone’s quality of life, because knowledge is power, and why would we want to prevent progress in our country? Let the people participate in building our society because the Philippines and its laws exist not just for the benefit for the few who are wealthy, not for many who are paying their taxes, but for all living beings who exist in this land! It is when people stop thinking in terms of “I”, and start thinking in terms of “We” that we can create genuine, heartfelt impact on society. As the saying goes “For united we stand, divided we fall”, and I think this holds true for any unit, from small to big; If you do not work together to achieve your goals, you will have a hard time succeeding. I think it needs to be agreed upon by business practitioners that they have to operate under certain rules that take into consideration things like the environment, social issues, moral obligations, and community service. Businesses can generate so much wealth, and with all the inflows and outflows of money, I think it is important for those in power to be able to equally distribute wealth. My generation should not just be part of the statistics of people who allowed the rich to get richer, and the poor, poorer. Businesses generate jobs, so it is also our responsibility to make these little changes in our business practices, because it’s the collective effort of these little changes that can make the big changes. If you are capable of helping, of making a change, why don’t you? If there is anything that being in La Salle has taught me, it’s that I need to be the change I want to see, because the change begins in me. I carry more than just my own dreams, but the dreams of the country for a better a future.
– Sophia Bagatsing
Truly I’ve learned so much from my CSRGOVE class. After every session, I am left with a lot of realizations and contemplations on how I will be able to apply everything that I have learned, principles and values of corporate social responsibility in the future, whether as an employee in a company, a manager or an owner of a certain business. But my key take-away from all that was taught in class is that corporate social responsibility is not simply companies donating to the society but it is a means of companies being accountable and responsible to the society and community where it operates as well as to its consumers. Yes, companies need to be profitable to give back to society, but what corporate social responsibility is all about past being profitable is when a sustainable value creation is made by business, within the society, aiming to be able to alleviate the hard burdens and bearings of the society.
One way to start is to first look at the significance and worth of the dignity of the human person. More often than not, businesses have this thing of cheating its consumers and abusing its workers in many ways than one even knowing the harsh and negative consequences that would occur. One known company known for deceiving its consumers would be Monsanto, who is most hated for its role in creating and utilizing GMO seeds, and herbicides that have killed and diseased millions of people. Another example would be FIFA who has seen and told to be a supporter of slave labour and murder, obviously not being concerned with the welfare of their employees or better put – their slaves. And I’m pretty sure many other companies have misled and betrayed its consumers by using simple ploys that most people oversee, the most common would be withholding information.
Really, it is just so frustrating how companies would go indefinite lengths just to minimize their costs even if it means putting lives at stake. Instead of channelling much energy in foolish and dirty tactics, why don’t companies just formulate and or create strategies that would be in alignment with the common good? I find it a much better investment for companies to in produce and invent products and services that has true benefits for the community and society. Businesses are incurring costs anyway even including their corrupt strategies, so why not incur costs that would benefit everyone, helping make the world a better place to live in and create a good sustainability value chain.
On the other side of the page though, consumers, communities and the whole of society shouldn’t depend greatly on business organizations and to wait for them to just keep on providing needs and solutions and to expect them to be the sole role models to uplift the problems present in the nation but rather every individual should have a genuine and active participation in building up the society. From what I have observed in the Philippines, is that citizens here rely so much on the government to develop a better country, and then when expectations are not met, they complain extensively. But the question is this, who are you, to complain when you yourself haven’t done anything to make to country even just a little bit better?
There are numerous ways on how to contribute in society. An instance would be to partake in socio-civic activities. In primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities and even offices – they create programs where students and employees can volunteer in. Additionally, there are a lot of non-government organizations, who would really appreciate the support. Case in point, business organizations are not the only ones responsible for society but every one of us is a tool for the betterment of the community. Also when active participation is coupled with the people’s unity in the community to form a strong bond towards a goal hand in hand, that would undoubtedly cause an enormous and hopefully a positive change in the society. Aligned with this, corporations can be the pathway for people to have a sense of purpose in society. One simple way for a corporation to encourage people in more of this would be to have a mission-vision that focuses on making the world a better place to live in and then hiring those interested in the same cause.
Moreover, corporations should value the equitable distribution of wealth to its people and society. There are many companies that prioritize their profits for its shareholders rather than be fair to their workers and allocate an amount for corporate social responsibility. Also they become very selective of the people they would hire to receive the benefits of their company. Preferably though, the choice should be that businesses should give frequent and various opportunities to the public. Detach prejudices and selfishness for these are the obstructions to living and working in a healthy society.
Related to living in a healthy society, would be that corporations should use the Earth’s natural resources wisely. We are in a world right now that already has countless environmental problems and issues that are truly hard to eradicate and businesses should not turn a blind eye to that. There are several methods to make businesses go green and environment-friendly. Some ways are even quite simple to apply and would cost very little which in turn companies could save more on cash and assets. Examples would be switching to recycled or also known as post-consumer waste products and materials which would be eco-friendly papers and packaging, digitalizing receipts, changing the mode and vehicle of transportation so-called green shipping and many many more.
(Find more ways in these link: 10 Ways to Green Your Business and Save Money http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2013/02/07/10-ways-to-green-your-business-and-save-money/)
Corporate social responsibility goes beyond philanthropy, it is so much more and it can impact the lives of many greatly. If corporations take into consideration these values and principles rather than just focusing on gaining profits , it can really change the perception and actions of the people in their society and create a positive outcome.
– Kathleen Kato –
10 Famous Companies With A Shocking Human Rights Problem – Listverse. (2013, November 9). Retrieved from http://listverse.com/2013/11/09/10-famous-companies-with-a-shocking-human-rights-problem/
10 mammoth corporations that will do anything to cheat the free market — and their consumers – Salon.com. (2014, April 26). Retrieved from http://www.salon.com/2014/04/26/10_mammoth_corporations_that_will_do_anything_to_cheat_the_free_market_and_their_consumers_partner/
10 Ways to Green Your Business and Save Money – Forbes. (2013, February 8). Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/kateharrison/2013/02/07/10-ways-to-green-your-business-and-save-money/
5 Companies Helping the Environment in Creative Ways. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.cheatsheet.com/business/5-companies-improving-the-environment-in-creative-ways.html/?a=viewall
How Companies Cheat Customers – Business Pundit. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.businesspundit.com/how-companies-cheat-customers/