”Corporate partnerships with NGOs and LGUs enable youth to dream and gives them an opportunity to work hard and make smart choices”, statements from the NordCham Sustainability Committee
On August 17, The Nordic Chamber of Commerce Philippines hosted the 4th Sustainability Committee meeting on the topic of corporate partnerships for skills and livelihoods at Spaces in World Plaza, BGC.
The committee meeting focused on the partnerships that companies can forge with NGOs and local government focused on skills and livelihoods training for disadvantaged communities. Keynote speakers were Rikke Fabrin, CSR Consultant at Artelia Philippines presenting with Jaime Benedicto, Executive Director of the NGO Bantu Philippines, as well as Hector Brizuela, Lead of Project RISE at Philippine Transmarine Carriers.
Rikke Fabrin and Jaime Benedicto started the meeting by presenting their partnership for “Sustainable Youth Development”. Through this partnership, youth from the Bantu communities, such as San Andres Bukid, get training courses taught by employees at Artelia Philippines, an engineering firm. The training courses encompass CV writing, communication and leadership skills, personality and behavior tests, financial literacy, and support in obtaining IDs. These courses provide a holistic approach to help the youth, while giving tools the youth that can immediately be used to improve their situation. Some of the youth also are hired afterwards, and the company helps them in terms of career planning.
The specific insights from the shared presentation includes:
Corporate partnerships with NGOs do not have to be difficult to setup. The CSR employee should start with getting buy-in from their company, but afterwards leverage the strengths and human resources in their company. For the partnership to work, it is crucial that there is trust on both sides, and that values and vision are aligned.
The partnership provides many benefits for the companies: employees state that it is an authentic experience to deliver hands-on impact for youth, which increases employee engagement. It has also helped break down organizational silos, and the company has won more projects due to the enhanced CSR performance.
For the youth, obtaining skills for work and being hired means an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Their parents may be working as tricycle and jeepney drivers or in a junkshop. But the youth are now working in IT and marketing. By working in the formal economy, the youth also contribute to the economy with their taxes.
For the youth that have a commitment to want to change their future, being in this program becomes the opportunity that they need. The program enables a ‘sustainable life’, where the youth can change their mindset and be able to dream. The youth can change their vision of the future for themselves, if they are allowed to work hard and enlightened to make smart choices.
Afterwards, Hector Brizuela shared the project “Plastic Free Starts With Me” established by Philippine Transmarine Carriers. Mr. Brizuela explained that 70% of the Philippine population lives in coastal areas. Plastic severely impacts on the lives in these coastal communities, as it clogs the systems, and causes more floodings during extreme weather. Waste management is under the responsibility of the LGUs, but they often lack the resources for proper management. In Batangas, this is an acute issue, as it negatively affects their environment, and especially Verde Island, a treasured diving area. Therefore the project aims at increasing capabilities and capacity in the community to take care of the plastic waste through a partnership with the LGU. By localizing the ownership of the project, it increases participation and engagement, and switches the mindset of the community.
Mr. Brizuela shared his insights for the success of the project:
Typically, informal waste collectors (IWCs) are ignored, even though they perform important tasks for the community. Therefore, by taking a holistic approach to plastic waste management and ensuring their inclusion increases the feasibility of the project.
The IWCs were instructed on how to have occupational health and safety, such as the use of PPE, awareness on how to spot hazardous waste and how to segregate appropriately.
IWCs are engaged in upskilling courses and are able to choose between three tracks:
Workshops on shredder and pelletizer equipment operation and maintenance (LGU/plastic industry employment track)
Entrepreneurship development programs of the LGU (MSME track)
Partnership with local TESDA course providers for scholarships available in the area. (external employment track)
After the two presentations, the participants engaged in a short brainstorming session. Below are the highlights from the discussions:
It has a great impact to start with young people, as providing them with opportunities and possibilities allows them to change their mindset.
For the partnerships with NGOs and LGUs to be successful, it is important to have long-term engagement with the communities and have a holistic approach that takes into account the eco-system of the community.
Partnerships with NGOs and LGUs can also be a great way of increasing employee engagement and allow employees to utilize their different strengths in new settings.
The committee meeting is the 4th meeting of the Sustainability Committee by NordCham. The NordCham Sustainability Committee aims for more collaboration across industries and to learn from each other and from experts. Going forward, the Sustainability Committee hosts 9 annual meetings of varying sustainability topics with resource speakers and sharing of best practices, opportunities for networking and building partnerships, as well as collaboration with government units.
The Committee is intended for business partners of NordCham, but guests are also accepted. Interested guests are welcome to contact Executive Director, Jesper Svenningsen at email@example.com.
NordCham Philippines looks forward to sustained collaboration and showcasing the sustainability initiatives of business partners, while contributing to positive change by forging stronger relations with the government.
Below are presentation materials available for download: