THE Philippines is gaining global recognition as a home of responsible businesses, as Filipino social enterprises kicked off the plenary of the recently concluded Eighth World Forum Lille for a Responsible Economy in France.
Homegrown entities Gawad Kalinga (GK), Human Nature, Global Electric Transport Philippines and Batang Bayani International Inc. were recognized as trailblazers in large-scale social innovations when they showcased their respective “best practices” that create a big impact not only within their organizations but in Philippine society as a whole.
More than 1,200 company executives, corporate social responsibility experts, non-governmental organizations, students and labor group leaders worldwide attended the forum spearheaded by France’s former Agriculture Minister Philippe Vasseur and organized by the Réseau Alliances network.
During the inaugural session, they learned more about the success stories of Philippine-based companies “for-a-cause.”
GK Founder Tony Meloto shared to the delegates that businesses that operate for profit and social change are vital in fighting poverty.
“Those who are helping the poor out of poverty must not remain poor. With social enterprise, we can create a win-win situation for the rich and the poor,” he said.
Citing historical accounts, GK was created as a movement aimed at ending poverty for 5 million families nationwide by 2024. “Filipinos have not seen so much hope in our country because for 300 years we have been brainwashed to think that our country is not a land of opportunity,” Meloto said. “[So] Gawad Kalinga is not a project; it is a dream to end poverty in my country.”
To date, over 500 big corporations have partnered with GK.
“They realized that investing in GK—to bring people out of poverty—will enhance buying power and expand the market,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dylan Wilk, co-founder and vice president of Gandang Kalikasan Inc., maker of Human Nature, said the Filipino manufacturer of natural personal-care, cosmetics and home-care products seeks to become the world’s first multinational social enterprise.
“We want to show that business can be a force for good,” he said.
Likewise, he gave credits to today’s generation of Filipino entrepreneurs for showing to the world that things can be different given the creativity and ingenuity of some local businesses that have made it to the global market.
“[They only show] that ‘Made in the Philippines’ can be just as good as ‘Made in France’ or ‘Made in the USA,’” Wilk boasted. “These Filipinos are succeeding and the world is starting to notice. Don’t let the world tell you that you cannot do it.”