Corporate social responsibility (CSR) means that companies are recognizing the role that they play in the social, economic and environmental challenges that it’s host country or community is facing. That enterprises need to take into account and ensure that their operation and business activities will have a positive impact in the society. As one strives for profit and do well—a business can also aim to do good. A responsible corporate citizen will not only strive on being excellent in their enterprise—but will also do good towards their employees, partners and specially in communities where they operate.
Started during the 1960s, CSR in the Philippines started from philanthropic efforts wherein companies donate cash directly to foundations and other charitable organizations—which are usual one time “dole outs” to communities in need. Eventually, companies saw the need to do strategic interventions to provide sustainable solutions especially in areas where they operate – enabling them to look at CSR not only as an ad on activity but as an integral part of how they do business.
This perspective resulted to the establishment of various CSR departments or corporate foundations that enabled companies to answer the call for doing business sustainably.
The same goes with one of the country’s largest conglomerate, the SM group. Through its Corporate Social Responsibility arm, SM Foundation (SMFI), SM has focused its resources, time, and reach to create opportunities for the company’s host communities nationwide through its social good programs geared towards some of the most important concerns in the country such as quality education, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, and disaster response.
Established in 1983 by Henry Sy, Sr. and Felicidad T. Sy, the couple believed in empowering communities and that self-sufficiency is the answer to a more effective and inclusive growth. That through targeted investments in education, healthcare, and sustainable agriculture, SM provides opportunities to create a cycle of social good in the communities where it is present.
The #SocialGood Pillars
Through its education pillar— segmented via its Scholarship and School Building programs, SMFI intends to provide the youth with access to quality tertiary and vocational education that can allow them to uplift the economic status of their families and provide the underserved communities with school buildings that have key facilities and equipment. To date, they have produced more than 9,000 college and tech-voc scholar graduates and were able to build and refurbish more than 270 school buildings.
Their Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan (KSK) on Sustainable Agriculture, on the other hand, was launched in 2007 to bring modern and sustainable farming skills in both rural and urban communities -providing farmers and their families with food security and agri-based economic opportunities. As of 2020, they have trained more than 28,000 farmers on sustainable agri-tech coming from grassroot communities nationwide.
Through SMFI’s Operation Tulong Express (OPTE), the CSR arm was able to provide timely relief to disaster-stricken communities especially in areas where SM operates. So far, SMFI was able to aid almost 640,000 families in areas struck by calamities and disasters.
Their Health and Wellness program successfully established more than 270 health and wellness centers nationwide. And to complement its health facilities, they have conducted more than 1,500 medical missions providing health care for 1.2 million patients in grassroot communities nationwide.
Spreading social good amidst the pandemic
During the pandemic, SMFI was able to aid 230 hospitals and institutions through their COVID-19 response program—where SM, through SMFI, was able to distribute over 90,500 PPE and safety gear to frontliners – in addition to the Php 105bn worth of medical equipment composed of ventilators and X-ray machines. They also distributed 20,000 PCR test kits and 48,050 RNA test kits to strengthen the COVID-19 testing in the country. And to help the government address the need for more appropriate accommodations to house and treat patients affected by COVID-19, SMFI together with SM EDD constructed six (6) Emergency Quarantine Facilities (EQF) in Metro Manila.
And to provide immediate relief and assistance, SM, through SM Foundation’s Operation Tulong Express (OPTE) program, was able to distribute more than 85,400 Kalinga packs in grassroots communities nationwide—which include transport groups and families greatly affected by the lockdown.
Through SM Foundation’s Social Good Programs, SM hopes to be a meaningful development partner in its host communities – not only through business investments but through relevant community programs that will impact the community and will lead the country towards sustainable development.
To know more about the social good programs and stories of SMFI, follow SM Foundation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube @SMFoundationInc.