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Giving back to the community

By MST News | Feb. 11, 2013 at 03:20am
The domestic automotive industry is a  multibillion-peso-business with 20 major players fighting for a slice of the consumer pie. With investments spread across the country, these corporate entities and related industries contribute a lot to our economy. Aside from the taxes earned from their business and sales operations, automotive firms also do their part in providing much needed jobs and reforms in the rural countryside in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects.

Down the years, the automotive industry has taken a more conscious stance in terms of environment protection and social awareness programs. Every year, a huge chunk of money earned from car sales are earmarked for social and environment programs.

Corporate social responsibility (CSR, also called corporate conscience, corporate citizenship, social performance, or sustainable responsible business/ Responsible Business) is a form of corporate self-regulation integrated into a business model. CSR policy functions as a built-in, self-regulating mechanism whereby a business monitors and ensures its active compliance with the spirit of the law, ethical standards, and international norms. “CSR can also be defined as a process with the aim to embrace responsibility for the company’s actions and encourage a positive impact through its activities on the environment, consumers, employees, communities, stakeholders and all other members of the public sphere who may also be considered as stakeholders,” explains Art Balmadrid, SVP for Business Development of Isuzu Philippines Corporation.

The term “corporate social responsibility” was coined in the late 1960s  after  which  the term stakeholder, meaning those on whom an organization’s activities have an impact, was formed. It was used to describe corporate owners beyond shareholders,  a result of an influential book by R. Edward Freeman, Strategic management: a stakeholder approach in 1984.

CSR proponents argue that corporations make more long term profits by operating with a perspective, while critics argue that CSR distracts from the economic role of businesses. Others couner that  CSR is merely a window-dressing, or an attempt to pre-empt the role of governments as a watchdog over powerful multinational corporations. “The bottom line here is that in the case of Isuzu, our mission is to spread the wealth and blessings to the people,” Balmadrid says.

Isuzu tradition

Isuzu Philippines Corporation began the tradition of celebrating its anniversary with a CSR project in 2002, when it organized an environment-themed show for the children of Biñan, Laguna. This was followed in 2003 with the donation of a river garbage trap to Santa Rosa, Laguna, and 10,000 tilapia fingerlings to Laguna Lake. Their most significant and most generous CSR project to date is the establishment of a training facility in Leyte in 2007. The TESDA Automotive Training Center—formed as part of Isuzu Motors Limited’s (IML) of Japan “Heart and Smile” corporate social responsibility campaign was designed in 2007 to mark the company’s 70th anniversary. It provides underprivileged but deserving scholars with subsidized automotive training, which qualifies graduates to TESDA’s NC4 certification. NC4 is the highest automotive servicing qualification in the Philippines. Besides the financial support extended by IML, the company also supplies technical requirements that are essential to the course, such as training material, program modules, practical training and other skills enhancement tools. In November 9, 2012, the IML funded TESDA Automotive Training Center graduated its fifth batch of scholars and has accepted its ninth group of trainees. The latest graduates—14 men and two ladies—entered the training center in November 2010. All 16 have presently found employment at Isuzu Philippines Corporation or at its dealers and other partners. The new batch brings to 99 the total number of scholars who have graduated from the TESDA program.

Mitsubishi’s  ‘shoki hoko’

The country’s oldest and second largest automotive player Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation has opted to preserve one of the Eight Wonders of the World as its CSR project. Banaue Rice Terraces as it is commonly called or the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras has been hailed as UNESCO’s Eighth Wonder of the World and considered as one of the most well-known attractions in the Philippines. However, in 2001 the Banaue Rice Terraces was included in UNESCO’s List of Endangered attractions. And to make matters worse, a series of typhoons  caused landslides damaging a portion of the Batad Rice Terraces, one of the clusters in the famous Banaue Rice Terraces which is said to be the most spectacular among the rice terraces. With the urgency of need to save this majestic heritage, Mitsubishi joined hands with advocates, government and non-government organizations to rehabilitate a portion of the rice terraces.

Five hundred volunteer hands pitched in to restore the 8th Wonder of World and preserve a living heritage that our ancestors built more than 2,000 years ago. MMPC invited a group of motoring media to help revive the Bachang tradition or Bayanihan by participating in the rehabilitation of the Batad Rice Terraces. This activity did not only help renew the spirit of Bayanihan but also opened doors towards appreciation of the Ifugao culture and a unique experience of voluntourism’  (volunteerism and tourism).

Aside from the effort of rebuilding the Batad Rice Terraces MMPC also took the opportunity to extend their help to the community by providing donations to the school children of Batad Elementary School. Teaching materials were also donated to the school.

MMPC recognizes the significance of education in molding the young minds of future generations. Later on, these school children of Batad will be the next stewards of this living heritage.

“Shoki Hoko” or Corporate Responsibility to Society is one of the three guiding principles of the Mitsubishi group, which Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corporation, as a socially responsible automotive manufacturer continues to adopt.  We at MMPC recognize that it is an integral part of our existence. Through our various CSR projects we are able to take part in enriching the society both materially and spiritually in every best way that we can.  This also gives us the opportunity take an active role towards the preservation and care for our mother nature through worthwhile environmental programs.  — Hikosaburo Shibata , President, Mitsubishi Motors Phils.

Honda Blue Skies

As a company  that promotes “Green” motoring as an alternative lifestyle, the Honda Group of Companies conducted its 3rd year of reforestation program in partnership with the Haribon Foundation to support Road to 2020 project.

Over 275 volunteers from the Honda Foundation Inc. (HFI), Honda suppliers, members of the motoring media, Honda riders club, PNP and LGU/CENRO travelled to Tanauan, Real, Quezon to plant 7,500 tree seedlings of native species and help contain and/or lessen the flood surge from Quezon Province 2 major tributaries upstream, the Kanan & Kaliwa Rivers that discharges water to Laguna Lake.

Road to 2020 is an environmental conservation movement that aims to restore one million hectares of Philippine rainforests using native tree species by year 2020.  The project raises awareness on the critical situation and deforestation of the country’s watersheds. “Water is one of the major ecological services of a restored forest. Thus the protection and restoration of watershed areas is an important element of preservation,” says Tatsuya Natsume, president and GM of Honda Cars Philippines Inc.

In line with its long-time commitment to leave BLUE SKIES FOR OUR CHILDREN, Honda follows the global direction to minimize the environmental footprint from products and business activities in accordance with Honda Vision for 2020 to provide “good products to customers with speed, affordability, and low CO2 emissions.”  The Honda group of companies has pledged to rehabilitate 20 hectares of denuded land with 50,000 trees in a span of 10 years.  To date, total land area covered is 9 hectares with 15,000 trees planted.

Fun run  for a cause

Hyundai Automotive Resources Inc (HARI), opted for a more “active” approach to conduct  its  CSR by staging Fun Runs for Cause, teaching kids how to play soccer, funding a Gawad Kalinga Project to providing Starex vans for Asian Development Bank officials last year. This reflects HARI’s multi-faceted approach to  address the needs of the community.  From May 2 to 5, 2012, Hyundai was  the official mobility partner of the 45th Asian Development Bank Annual Meeting of Board of Governors, and officially turned over 50 Hyundai Grand Starex vehicles that was used to transport 4000 delegates attending the international conference held at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) and the SMX Convention.

A month after the ADB Governors met, Hyundai once again held the highly-celebrated “RUN for a Cause” at the Quirino Grandstand and along Roxas Boulevard to launch its newest corporate social responsibility (CSR) platform founded on the ideals of sustainability through economic growth, community development, and environment protection. The Hyundai RUN––an acronym for Responsibility, Unity, and Nation-building––signifies HARI’s strides towards CSR leadership through eight causes, each one color-coded to highlight the leading automotive company’s vision of sustainability through its collaboration with CSR partners to empower the country’s less privileged.

Toyota Tech

As a means to further expand their services to the public, the country’s largest vehicle manufacturer Toyota Motors Philippines (TMP) broke ground for the establishment of a world-class technical school at the Toyota Special Economic Zone in Santa Rosa City, Laguna in September last year. The Toyota Motor Philippines School of Technology, Inc. or TMP Tech is envisioned to produce globally-competent, highly-skilled automotive technicians for the Toyota Family both in the Philippines and abroad. Distinguished guests attended the event led by Toyota Motor Corporation Honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, former President  Fidel V. Ramos and Japan Ambassador to the Philippines Toshinao Urabe.

TMP’s most recent CSR project was October last year, where they turned over P2 Million to the Toyota-City of Santa Rosa-Gawad Kalinga Village Project for the construction of the GK Multi-purpose Hall in the community.  The  GK Village was the beneficiary for the 2012 Toyota Classics concert.  This is on top of the initial P20 Million donation for the construction of houses in this GK village, reinforcing Toyota’s steadfast commitment to continue developing this community in Santa Rosa, Laguna. In December, the partners inspected the completed housing units and conducted a ceremonial painting of semi-finished houses during the event. Final turnover of houses to beneficiaries is targeted to be completed in May 2013.
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