Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not just for big businesses anymore. As Filipinos become more conscious of businesses’ responsibility to the society, entrepreneurs should also start viewing giving back to the community as a tool to boost their business and their brand.
Cecille Santillan, Virlanie Foundation executive director told Entrepreneur.com.ph, that entrepreneurs, even those who were just starting up, should start thinking about doing good for the community because of the “double” satisfaction they give to their customers.
“The benefits are indirect and are in the long-term. If small entrepreneurs help the community, they ensure that there will always be a consumer group because they ensure that the community is doing well for itself. Another benefit is that they become inspiration or model not only to other entrepreneurs but also to the young people,” Santillan said.
She noted that although Filipinos have yet to reach Europeans’ consciousness of supporting and patronizing “sustainable” products, the Filipinos are “getting there.”
“Consumers are beginning to prefer products that are more friendly to the society. They get this ‘double nice happy feeling’. Consumers feel happy to have gone on a restaurant that supports either a foundation or the principle of sustainability,” Santillan added.
CSR, Santillan said, is something that the Philippine badly needs. Government statistics agree. Citing a study in 2003, data from the government showed that about 24 in every 100 Filipino families had income that was insufficient to cover their food and non-food necessities.
“CSR is a key factor reminding citizens of our country to get involved,” she said. Although big companies have bigger resources in doing their CSR, Santillan said small and medium enterprises can do their share too.
“These SMES can do small donation and can encourage their employees to give back in their own little way. They don’t need P5 million or P10 million to be able to give back to the society,” she said.