ABC Stories

Panelists share best practices on CSR innovation at the ABC Summit

AE Team | September 25, 2018

As part of the Aboitiz ABC Summit event, guest speakers took center stage for a presentation and panel discussion that revolved around the theme “Innovations That Advance Communities”. In an era where creating shared value is the name of the game, government and business organizations alike are leveraging their power and reach to make a positive impact on society. From enabling and accelerating social venture startups to breaking down the systemic social and industry issues around supply chain, we are seeing more of these entities pursuing innovation in the name of social impact.


Maribeth Marasigan, First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Aboitiz Foundation opened the second day of the Aboitiz ABC Summit to talk about using knowledge to sustain social progress. She emphasized that the Group’s business units need to recognize the importance of gaining insight into the community needs they seek to address and to go deeper in order to understand the underlying social conditions and how best to change them.




Such knowledge provides the basis for anticipating resource requirements, developing the business case, and identifying the necessary execution capabilities inside and outside the company. She further emphasized collaboration and integration as key approaches to making this happen.

Today, we will push that ‘START’ button. Our aim is to take our ongoing conversations into practice. We will start doing and implementing scaled up CSR projects that advance business and communities. Today, and moving forward, let us exchange ideas as a group, rather than as individual business units. Imagine the boundless possibilities if we work together.

– Maribeth Marasigan
Aboitiz Foundation

ABC Summit participants were inspired by the five speakers who demonstrated how organizations of all shapes and sizes can drive sustainable positive change. Below are key takeaways from their talks:

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Building Communities Through Inclusive Business
Asst. Secretary Felicitas Agoncillo-Reyes
Board of Investments (BOI)

BOI advocates for inclusive business and has made this a national policy.

– BOI advocates for inclusive business and has made this a national policy reflected in our 5-year Investment Priorities Plan. We provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to agribusiness and tourism companies that integrate SMEs in their value chains. They need to meet the following criteria: engagement of low-income communities, capacity building initiatives, facilitation to access finance, and provision of inputs and technology.

– We mainstream inclusive business among government and private sectors with the goal of shifting the mindset from traditional business to inclusive business by harmonizing inclusive business-related initiatives across government agencies.

– We love an inclusive business that improves communities and accelerate innovation. Recently, we see more entities registering with us and we see how they are addressing social problems while pursuing commercial viability of their business. We have a multinational company that sources 30% robusta coffee beans from local farmers and a tourism real estate company that sources 90% of its workers from the local population.

– Because of these efforts, the G20 countries recognize the Philippines as the only country in the ASEAN region that is elevating inclusive business as a national policy



Integrated Approach to Community Development
Edgar Veron Cruz
Executive Director, Pilipinas Shell Foundation Philippines

It has become our mission to help those who need it most.

– Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) helps uplift the lives of disadvantaged communities in the Philippines by implementing social development programs with a national and local scope. It has programs that “build capacities to promote self-reliance and develop the potentials of its beneficiaries, both individuals and communities

– As PSFI continued its mission of enabling the disadvantaged to become productive and responsible members of society, it went on to improve more lives in the surrounding neighborhood where Shell’s depots and installations are located. This extended PSFI’s mission from the individual level to the community.

– We continue to do the skills training, but we’ve also seen the need to do something about health. We’ve done quite a bit on the malaria program; now we’re looking at HIV and TB. I guess, a healthy Philippines is really something we would like to aspire to because health is a very important part of the makeup of any human being. Unfortunately, basic health care in this country is lacking. Hence, it has become our mission to help those who need it most.



Innovation By A Social Enterprise
Janine Chong
President & CEO, Habi Footwear

We sell talent and resilience, not pity.

– Habi Footwear started as a college thesis project in 2012. As business majors, we were required to set up our own enterprise. Before graduating, we won the Bid Network Challenge in the Netherlands and secured seed funding from a Dutch angel investor. This helped us get Habi off the ground. It also made us realize that Habi had a real potential so I decided to focus on it full-time.

–We sell talent and resilience, not pity. We don’t want consumers to perceive them as pitiful and in need but rather as talented and resilient. We let our products and their quality stand out and sell themselves.

– We value the ingenuity of Filipino communities around the Philippines. They have so much talent but lack the opportunities to showcase them. We want to highlight their talents and skills and assure that they can also live better lives through their own merits. We’ve been partnered with our community for almost two years now, developing skills and aiding in financial development through livelihood opportunities. The added value is not merely an after-thought; Habi Footwear is really built from the bottom up in a way that benefits “people, planet, and profit.” Our supply comes from woven upcycled cloth from a community of underprivileged women in Quezon City.

– We also conduct immersion tours for schools for students to understand the art behind it the product. They can interact with our women weavers and partners.



Robotics in Education
Melvin Matulac
Founder, Pinoy Robot Games

Our goal is not creating robots, but nurturing future inventors

– Pinoy Robot Games has a purpose to promote kids’ love for science and passion for innovation towards making a difference in society

– We believe in every Filipino youth; give them the chance, resources, skills, and time and they will surprise you

– Robotics is the doorway to thinking skills. robotics is disrupting education. it is an experience with multi-disciplinary activities. Pinoy robot games hide a problem inside the game! It supports teacher training, develops and evaluate locally appropriate equipment, research community problems, design problem and games, abd encourage and support local efforts.

– Raising curious and creative kids so they become catalysts of change requires the support of the whole society—parents, the academe, public and private sectors.

– Our passion: Awaken the inventor in you, develop training partners in every region, raise community problems in the realm of STEM discussion, respect children as contributors of solutions


Communicating CSR
Gino Borromeo
Chief Strategy Officer, McCann Worldgroup

What business are we really in? What truth drives the work we do?

– Corporations must recognize that they are part of society and have a responsibility to create something more than profit.

– Building a better world has to become what corporations do every day as a function of how they make their profits, not something done after profits are made.”

– 88% of Filipinos believe that brands have the power to make the world better; 79% of Filipinos are open to brands playing a broader role in society. 83% Filipinos believe that global brands have a greater ability to create positive change than their governments do

– Microsoft’s ‘What’s Next’ campaign focuses on science and tech for women, which aims to increase the number of girls interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers by introducing them to obscure female inventors. The goal is to expand these young girls imaginations by showing them what’s possible in STEM fields.


The panel was moderated by ANC news anchor and an advocate of public libraries, Quintin Pastrana. The panel curated robust discussion from experts and leaders in innovative CSR programs. It showed another perspective on how to solve societal problems while building the bottomline. For CSR champions and sustainability stewards alike, we now must move forward and exchange ideas as a group and not as individual business units.