Come to think of it, one can actually do business, make lots of money, and help save the world at the same time.
We are not talking here about entrepreneurs needing to do charity work or corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs after their businesses have already made a pile of cash. That would take time.
[See why it is important that businesses take corporate social responsibility seriously here]
Rather, we are suggesting that entrepreneurs can start making a difference in the lives of their fellow Filipinos right away by simply engaging in businesses that use locally available raw materials or components.
[Read big businesses urged to do the Jollibee way of sourcing ingredients/materials from small farmers here]
For instance, Filipino entrepreneurs can give local farmers fair trade or simply a better deal by using the latter\\\'s abaca, sugar, coffee, coconut, fruits, rattan, or bamboo produce as inputs for their own products.
This is precisely what Mary Grace Young Arboleda did when she put up Cordillera Coffee and then organized and supported Benguet farmers to produce the high-elevation Arabica coffee beans that her coffee shop needs.
[Read Entrepreneur 10 2008 Awardee: Mary Grace Arboleda-Young of Cordillera Coffee here]
Norma Mugar of Altertrade Corp. did basically the same thing in the case of organic muscovado sugar: she organized poor sugarcane farmers in Negros Occidental into a cooperative to produce it for the Japanese export market.
[Read plenty of opportunities in the export market here]
Of course, sourcing raw materials locally also has another great benefit for Filipino manufacturers: it can dramatically reduce their sourcing and transport costs for those raw materials. With the continuously rising costs of fuel oil and energy these days, it certainly makes a lot of sense and savings to no longer go to distant shores to source one\\\'s production inputs.
This is why what Hector Torrente of Bicol Ceramika is doing makes a lot of business sense: he uses the natural clay that\\\'s so abundant in his hometown of Putsan in Albay to make ceramic pots for tourists and local merchants alike.
And what Buzz and Loly Gomez of Philippine treasures have been doing so successfully is no less down to earth than that: they simply collect discards like broken glass and such throwaay things as leaves, ferns, stems, feathers, paper, scrap metal, and wood, then make finely crafted home and Christmas decor out of them for the upscale global market.
Page 2: Raw materials from Ilocos to Benguet