Shell, Gawad Kalinga partner for Nueva Ecija housing project

Nov 08, 2017


Officials from Shell, Gawad Kalinga, and the Cabiao municipality at the signing of the memorandum of agreement for the creation of the Shell–GK Kalikasan Village in Cabiao, Nueva Ecija

 

HOPE (GenerationHope, Inc), the company that sells water under Hope in a Bottle and uses its profit to build public schools, is the country's first “Certified B Corporation”.


B Lab, a global nonprofit organization, added Hope to the list of about 2,100 “B Corps” from 50 countries and over 130 industries working together toward one unifying goal: to use the power of business to help solve social and environmental issues.


“We feel honored to be part of the growing B Corp community, whose vision and values so closely align with our own: to connect the interests of business with that of society,” said HOPE's Chairwoman, Nanette Medved-Po.


B Lab certifies companies based on how they create value for non-shareholding stakeholders, such as their employees, the local community, and the environment.


This recognizes an increased emphasis on other stakeholder values, particularly social and environmental concerns.


aPower, energy and gas technology leader Shell, through its social development arm Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI), joined forces with Gawad Kalinga (GK) to lay the foundation for a project aimed at providing decent homes for homeless families in Nueva Ecija.


Dubbed as the “Shell–Gawad Kalinga Kalikasan Village,” the project envisions a sustainable community that will rise on a 2.3-hectare land in the municipality of Cabiao.


This village is the fourth housing project in Nueva Ecija, coinciding with this year’s Bayani Challenge themed “Barangay Walang Iwanan,” which is a three-year effort of GK to revitalise the spirit of communal unity among the public.


The new undertaking strengthens Shell and GK’s already strong partnership spanning years. “This is important for us since, not many know this, but during the time when we were just starting and few believed in our organization, Shell and Cabiao already believed in us,” shared Issa-Cuevas Santos from the GK Community Development Foundation Inc.


Cuevas recalled GK’s early years, when only a few recognized the small organization and when their movement had barely gained traction. It was during this time that Shell explored the opportunity to forge a partnership with GK to enhance the former’s social performance and social development programs.


“Many years after, for over a decade, we’re still strong partners. Fifteen years after, we’re still here and that’s because of the commitment of our two reliable partners. We know that this partnership is not only for today, but for many years to come. Thank you to Pilipinas Shell for its unrelenting support to GK,” she added.


Edgar Veron Cruz, executive director of PSFI, expressed that while this assistance may be small in scale, he is positive that the project has a big impact on the lives of individuals who will be given new homes, and will create a ripple effect by encouraging other institutions to support GK’s cause.


“We are glad to work together with Gawad Kalinga in this Kalikasan Village project for the Cabiao community. I know that our help is small but I hope that this will help many as well as encourage other organisations to join in our advocacy to help people in need,” said Cruz. 


He also shared PSFI’s interest to explore additional activities such as skills and livelihood training for the community once Kalikasan Village is ready for occupancy.


“Today, we are on our fourth year of our Bayani Challenge and it’s very historical to remember that it is also the 4th Gawad Kalinga Village here in our community. In behalf of our municipality, we want to thank Shell for embracing us and we believe that with our love for our country, we will continue to work together,” added Cabiao Mayor Baby Congco.


Shell’s partnership with GK has resulted in four Shell–GK villages in Batangas, Southern Leyte and Cagayan de Oro; 15 classrooms in Iligan; a Shell Center in Angat, Bulacan; and 23 Shell–GK Bayan-Anihan farms in the Bicol Region, a food sustenance program that aims to eradicate one family at a time by empowering GK residents to produce food for themselves. 


Always aiming for a good balance between business profitability and social performance,


Apart from innovating smarter products and cleaner energy that promote a more sustainable energy future, Shell also recognizes the need to develop sustainable communities through its various nation-building efforts and innovative methods in delivering social development programs.
This trend in corporate governance – which has led to the growth in “triple-bottom line” thinking – has fueled the emergence of the Certified B Corporation.


The first generation of B Corporations was certified in 2007, and the number of firms earning certification has grown exponentially ever since.


HOPE was launched in 2012 and is run as a business, where all of the profits it makes go into building classrooms.


It has so far sold over 10 million bottles with the help of corporate partners like 7-Eleven, Starbucks, Mercury Drug and Seda Hotels allowing it to build almost 50 classrooms around the country.


“We're not a charity. We are a business. The difference is that when you buy Hope, you are voting with your peso to support public schools in the Philippines." said Medved-Po.