Social Investment Lessons for Australia
5 July 2005 at 1:07 pm
There are lessons for Australia in the way the Philippines encourages philanthropy and social investment according to Rory Tolentino – a pioneering leader of Not for Profit organisations in that region.
Maria Aurora (Rory) Tolentino is the 2005 Heloise Waislitz International Fellow in Philanthropy at the Asia-Pacific Centre for Philanthropy and Social Investment at Swinburne University in Melbourne.
Tolentino who gave a number of lectures in June is the executive director of the Asia-Pacific Philanthropy Consortium and was previously the executive director of Philippine Business for Social progress.
Swinburne’s Denis Tracey says the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) is without parallel in Australia.
It was founded in 1970 to promote business sector commitment to social development and it now has 180 members who individually and jointly promote and practice good corporate citizenship.
Tolentino says the eleven countries that comprise the Asia-pacific Philanthropy Consortium also have very different philanthropic traditions to those in Australia.
And she says some of the strategies and ideas are very relevant for Australia.
She says the PBSP invited corporate CEO’s to discuss issues around the Millennium Goals.
The discussions were not just about money but they were led by business to respond to issues such as poverty, health, education and water supply.
Tolentino says the discussions became uniquely called ‘square tables’ where business, NGOs, Religious Groups and Government came to the table to address these issues.
Another strategy has been to address reputational issues by surveying the general population about the companies that they believed to be socially accountable.
When companies found out that their competitor was being named over them they tried much harder to engage.
Another issue in the Philippines has been addressing problems of graft and corruption in government tendering.
A survey of businesses found that they were prepared to spend as much as %5 of profits to redress this. The result was a consortium of business with NGO’s and government agencies to become observers in the tender processes.
Tolentino says corporate social responsibility has emerged despite an inconsistent economy and a volatile political system.