Sunday, February 14, 2010

Binalot's Leaf of Faith

Real CSR means Sustainability
Corporate Social Responsibility has become a key endeavor for a lot of companies, both local and multi-national, the idea being to give back something to the community it serves. However, a lot of CSR activities are focused on providing short-term assistance only (i.e. dole outs) instead of developing a long-term program.

Recognizing this, Rommel Juan thought of developing a sustainable program that benefits both the company and the community. “For CSR programs to make sense, a project should be a “win-win” proposition that can be sustained over a long-term instead of a one-shot deal,” explains Juan adding that this is the reason why his company – Binalot Fiesta Foods – came up with the DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program.

The DAHON program was launched in 2007 to help banana farmers from Nagcarlan, Laguna, where Binalot sources the banana leaves used to wrap meals. “The program helps them earn more by buying their banana leaves, which assures them of income on top of banana sales and ensures a steady supply of banana leaves for us,” explains Juan.

Aside from economic sustainability, the program has also empowered the women and elderly of the community according to Robie Mateo, Program Coordinator. He further shares, “Women now earn around 200 pesos a day from cutting banana leaves while the elderly are given a sense of purpose because even at their age they are being productive by assisting in cutting and preparing leaves.”
The environment also benefits since leaf trimmings are used as compost material at the community level. “Our commissary used to throw the banana leaf trimmings away but the community found a way to make use of them. This has helped strengthen our commitment to the environment,” explains Mateo.
Binalot now wants to expand its CSR operations by adopting more communities. “The program has been going on for the past two years and has helped a lot of banana farmers and their families. We want to see this happen in more communities. Of course, we would need help from other organizations and individuals in replicating and spreading it.”

For more information about Binalot’s DAHON Program, contact Robie Mateo of Binalot Foundation Secretariat 481-6155, 0922-8573284.

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