The Aboitiz Foundation: 30 boundless years of driving change for a better world
In the cool mountains of Benguet, Paulino Enrique, a cut-flower farmer, wakes up early at the break of dawn to prepare for the harvest of the season.
In Davao City’s town proper, Margarita Pulledo carefully arranges freshly-baked loaves of bread, ready for sale at a bakery run mostly by persons with disabilities.
And in Cebu City, high school valedictorian Junie Valendez readies for his first day as an electrical engineering major — grateful for the opportunity to study, and excited for the countless possibilities the new school year has to offer.
They are just some of the beneficiaries of the Aboitiz Foundation, the corporate foundation of the Aboitiz Group.
On September 29, 2018, the Aboitiz Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary — three blissful decades of serving and empowering individuals, groups, and communities.
Actually, the Aboitiz Foundation’s involvement in corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects stretches longer than 30 years.
The Aboitiz Foundation’s CSR philosophy, which is deeply embedded in the Aboitiz culture, has been the legacy of the Aboitiz family and its companies for over a century now.
In 2015, the Aboitiz Foundation began implementing CSR 2.0 projects, seeking to go beyond mere one-time dole-outs (CSR 1.0). Under CSR 2.0, the Aboitiz Foundation executes community projects that deliver longer-term benefits, are aligned to the Aboitiz Group’s core competencies, encourage team member engagement, and are scalable initiatives with positive sustainable impact of national scope.
The Aboitiz Foundation believes that when the hearts and minds are aligned toward advancing business and communities, the possibilities for growth are boundless. It is committed to creating boundless opportunities and partnerships through initiatives in the areas of education, enterprise development, and the environment.
“We believe that uniting all the Aboitiz business units (BUs) — all aligned toward co-creating communities that are safe, empowered, and sustainable — is the most powerful tool to deliver deeper and lasting social impact to more communities. We have set our sights toward a shared vision — to bring about sustainable change that will impact the lives of all our stakeholders today and in the generations to come,” said Maribeth L. Marasigan, Aboitiz Foundation First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer.
Education remains at the forefront of the Aboitiz Group’s thrust, that of building a progressive society.
In 2015, the Department of Education recognized the Aboitiz Group as the Philippines’ biggest contributor to public education.
Flagship projects under education include the purposive college scholarship program and the development of special science elementary schools (SSES) and technical-vocational (tech-voc) high schools.
To date, the Aboitiz Foundation has already helped over 32,000 scholars like Junie and currently supports 50 SSES/tech-voc schools nationwide.
Meanwhile, the Aboitiz Foundation employs inclusive innovation in the management of its enterprise development program.
Flagship projects under enterprise development include “Mahalin Pagkaing Atin” (MPA), a campaign introduced in mid-2014 which aims to promote sustainable entrepreneurship through the promotion of local produce, as well as microfinance for livelihood projects similar to the ones run by Paulino and Margarita.
A total of 867 families and organizations have already been provided with MPA livelihood kits, while 3,309 families now have access to credit.
Finally, the Aboitiz Group’s passion for the environment involves encouraging stakeholders to practice lifestyles that promote mindful use of the Earth’s resources through knowledge sharing and best practices.
Flagship projects under environment include A-Park, the Aboitiz Group’s nationwide forest cover restoration program which was launched in 2010.
It contributes greatly to the greening program of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
To date, the Aboitiz Group has already grown nearly six million seedlings in various locations nationwide, putting the Aboitiz Group well on track on its A-Park goal of growing nine million seedlings by end-2020.
In addition, the Aboitiz Group operates the Aboitiz Cleanergy Park, an eight-hectare outdoor biodiversity park in Davao City that is home to the critically-endangered hawksbill sea turtle (pawikan) and 66 other species.
And as a manifestation of the company’s core values of integrity, teamwork, innovation, and responsibility, the Aboitiz Group also implements Aboitiz Race to Reduce 2.0, a program that further reinforces the group’s commitment to resource efficiency as well as minimizing operational carbon footprint.
In three decades, the Aboitiz Foundation’s CSR initiatives have evolved from one-time donations to carefully-designed programs that empower beneficiaries to pursue their aspirations — beyond their limitations and circumstances.
“The significant number of Filipinos living below the poverty line, the alarming number of an unschooled populace, and the seemingly unchanging lack of preparedness among communities whenever a disaster strikes are just some manifestations that underscore the need for us to still do a lot more. The country’s social challenges keep us determined more than ever to develop solution-focused, scalable, and sustainable CSR programs that will truly create a positive impact on the lives of our fellow Filipinos,” says Erramon I. Aboitiz, Aboitiz Foundation Chairman.
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