Best Community Improvement Program Finalist: PMFTC Inc.
PMFTC Inc.: Stewarding the Environment and its Stakeholders
In the Philippines, PMFTC Inc. measures the success of its environmental stewardship by the revitalization of local forests and the success of its stakeholder community.
The natural environment plays a pivotal role in the livelihood of Filipinos, especially those involved in agriculture. In the Philippines, progress is being made to preserve the environment through reforestation, which has increased from 23.8 percent in 2003 to 30 percent in 2011. But, because the country is situated in the Pacific Ring of Fire and Typhoon Belt, frequent natural disasters make improving the environment there more difficult. In fact, over 302 natural disasters occurred worldwide in 2011, 11 percent of which were in the Philippines.
Being in the tobacco industry, PMFTC Inc., an affiliate of Phillip Morris International (PMI), is serious about environmental stewardship. Any threat to Mother Nature is also a threat to human development and industry. The company is attuned to the state of the environment wherever it does business. Its experience protecting the environment in the Philippines is holistic and extensive.
What PMFTC Inc. Has Accomplished
PMFTC’s brand of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) called EMBRACE, commits to enrich, equip, and empower the communities where it operates. Understanding the needs of its beneficiaries and carefully planning how to make a difference in their lives are PMFTC’s two main CSR objectives.
PMFTC forges partnerships with the Local Government Units, Non-Government Organizations and partner private firms to maximize their CSR resources. To make sure that projects will be responsive to local needs, the company conducts dialogues with community leaders. The goal is to address the areas of greatest need, and at the same time meet the company’s business objectives.
Through the company’s implementing partner, Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation Inc. (JVOFI), PMFTC works to establish sustainable fuelwood plantations managed by well-organized and income-generating tobacco-farmers’ cooperatives. It engages the tobacco farmers by allowing them to determine organizational policies and negotiate with the landowners. From 2008 until 2012, four farmers’ organizations were organized each year. In 2013, an additional six farmers’ organizations were formed in key tobacco growing areas.
Members of each cooperative receive extensive training and assistance to ensure effective plantation management.
This project utilizes the holistic Triple Bottom Line approach, which covers social, economic, and environmental development. Social development is addressed through organizing tobacco farmers into cooperatives that would inspire the spirit of self-help. Economic development is addressed through the fuelwood plantation, which supports their long-term livelihood. Environmental development occurs through the ongoing reforestation efforts.
The International Business Awards, based in the United States, recognized this overall effort as the Best Environmental Project in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand for 2011 and the Silver Medal for the best CSR category for 2012.
Why This Project Makes Sense
To date, 23 cooperatives have been organized with a 78 percent increase in membership since 2008. They collectively maintain 177 hectares of reforestation sites, where 226,491 fuelwood seedlings and 4,070 bamboos have been planted.
PMFTC recognizes its stakeholders and analyzes their concerns in the execution of CSR initiatives to ensure positive impacts for the company. Tobacco farmers, who host the company’s business operations, especially benefited from the EMBRACE projects. The assistance they receive from PMFTC allows them to send their children to school, facilitate loans with minimal interest to fellow farmers, and inspire pride in their local communities due to the reforestation.
This project supports local stakeholders, who in turn have a positive impact on the business. Directing CSR initiatives for the benefit of stakeholders strengthens public trust and ensures big returns by investing in the communities and people who make a difference.