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The Rise of Corporate Social Responsibility

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Just because we consider ourselves capitalists doesn’t mean we aren’t socially responsible about our business.

We use the term corporate social responsibility (CSR) to explain new initiatives that sustain business while also protect and improve the lives of societies touched by those businesses.

An inspirational example of CSR in action is Rommel Juan and his business, Binalot Fiesta Foods. Binalot (which means “wrapped” in Filipino) creates Filipino-style fast foods that are wrapped to lock in their flavor. DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon), the CSR program created by Binolot in 2007, helps farmers from Nagcarlan, Laguna facilitate the purchasing of banana leaves used to wrap Binalot’s foods.

DAHON not only benefits Juan’s business supplying and cutting the leaves, but also the community. The women who cut the leaves earn approximately 200 pesos a day and the farmers are assured a steady supply of customers. The leave trimmings, which previously had been tossed into trash heaps, are now repurposed for local compost materials in the community.

After Typhoon Milenyo hit the Philippines in 2006, wiping out the banana leaf crops in Luzon, DAHON played an integral part in helping source Binalot’s leaves. According to Juan, they had to import the leaves from other islands which had become expensive.

“We couldn’t price it that way for our franchisees, so we absorbed the cost,” he continued.

If it weren’t for a little luck found on a corporate social responsibility forum Juan’s aunt taken him to, the unsustainable practice of importing th leaves would have driven Juan and his brother’s business into the ground.

It wasn’t easy, however. He thought selling the idea to local farmers would require very little effort. It took more than a few attempts to convince the local farmers his new leaf purchasing method would work. It was such a struggle, in fact, they only wanted Rommel to take their children back to Manila to give them jobs.

Finally, one community leader stepped up and agreed to organize the community and fulfill Binalot’s first order for banana leaves: one bundle, or about 200 dishes served at Binalot.

It didn’t take long for the community to rally behind the successful endeavor. The single bundle ordered quickly grew to 300 bundles. It blew away the community leader’s mind when he finally grasped they would continue to get the orders.

Because of the CSR program, Binalot was assured it could conduct its business with a steady, reliable supply of banana leaves. As a result, the people of Nagcarlan saw an improvement in their daily lives.

In 2007, Binalot Fiesta Foods received the “Out-of-the-Box” centennial prize for a small business competition sponsored by UPS. The $10,000 award went directly to the Laguna community.

The accolades didn’t stop there. Binalot also won the 2008 Anvil Award of Merit from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines. They also received recognition from Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2009 Franchise Awards as Best Local Homegrown Franchise and Fastest-Growing Franchise and many more.

Rommel points out two distinct things that helped make DAHON successful and suggests others do the same while considering CSR:

Project manager.

Somebody should be in charge, because otherwise it goes away because nobody takes care of it.”

Get locals involved.

I think it helped that the head of our community

became the captain of this project. Look for someone like that,

someone to be your partner at the local level to organize and

take ownership of it.”

Think about your business. How can it help benefit your local community through social responsibility?

If you want to learn more about how Lisa and I continue to help families with addiction, check us out at or grab a copy of our story with The Social Capitalist.

Or if you’re looking for a different type of book, grab

Return to Orchard Canyon

from our fellow Rich Dad Advisor, Ken McElroy.


Original publish date: January 08, 2020

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