Connecting bridgesIt has been said that to be a good communicator, you must be able to connect with your target audience. You must also be able to make your audience act on what you wrote especially when your message ends with a call to action. Moreover, in order to make it interesting for readers, your format must be in story form. As communication expert John C. Maxwell says, “everyone communicates, few connect.”
To communicate and connect has been one of the objectives of “Bridges,” the corporate social responsibility (CSR) magazine of the Lopez Group which is being published every two years by Lopez Group Foundation Inc. (LGFI).
Now on its ninth issue, “Bridges” shares how seeds were planted by foundations and community relations departments of the Lopez companies through their good works. It tells the stories of social projects being undertaken in communities where Lopez companies are operating, how they were started, why they are being done, for whom, and if they have changed the lives of beneficiaries.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ninth issue of “Bridges” was uploaded online in June through LGFI’s website (www.lopezgroup.org) where past issues may also be read and downloaded. Although the content highlights pre-pandemic CSR stories, it also presents various CSR initiatives which, in some cases, are being continued in spite of COVID-19.
Doing well, doing good
This latest issue’s theme, “Doing Well, Doing Good, Doing Right, Doing It Now,” proved to be timely as our situation shows that doing good has to be done now as the health and economic crisis calls for it.
In his message, LGFI chairman Oscar M. Lopez notes: “Companies built to last are those that fight the good fight, that is to say, they compete in the marketplace from a platform of values. They do well while doing good.”
The Lopez corporate values of nationalism, integrity and employee wellness, for example, are highlighted in projects showing love for country, such as the La Mesa Watershed project which is being maintained to secure life for generations to come. As the article states: “After 19 years, a million trees in 1,552 hectares were reforested, with 92% survival rate. From 25 species, 125 bird species can now be found. From nine species of rare trees, now there are 125.”
Another article from the OML Center discusses how the organization is reframing the way people see climate. The center explains how it helps develop the resilience of the vulnerable. It harnesses science that is coproduced and actionable. It believes that resilience-building can be developed through more targeted awareness-raising initiatives and coproduced actionable knowledge projects. It will ramp up efforts to ensure the usability of climate information, “believing that effective communication of climate information to relevant stakeholders and decision-makers is one key step towards building a more climate-resilient society.”
There is First Gen Corporation’s scholarship program (FIRST School) for qualified yet economically challenged senior high school students residing in its host communities in Batangas City. “Bridges” reveals the stories of the scholars who have benefited from the program and were provided internships and even employment in First Gen’s sister companies.
In the field of arts and culture, “Bridges” chronicles through photos what it took to move the priceless collection of the Lopez Museum and Library to another location as Benpres Building, where it had been housed for decades, gives way to a multistory modern edifice.
“Had it been only desk chairs and file cabinets to be transported, many a moving company would have taken on the endeavor. But what one should understand is that in the Lopez Museum and Library, collections are things that were not easily encased in bubble wrap. Many pieces have seen it through wars, through several colonizers and continents. Other objects have survived bombings, lootings and some of the darkest days of Philippine history,” recounts the write-up. The transfer could not have come at a more opportune time as the collection is safe and secure during these critical times.
Doing it now
“Bridges” has always featured the projects of Knowledge Channel Foundation Inc. (KCFI).
As a pioneer in educational television, KCFI has become an important partner of the Department of Education. For two decades, Knowledge Channel has been championing quality education and, with the pandemic and education going online, is right there helping out with its expertise.
“Evolving with the times, KCFI sought to diversify its options when it came to content delivery. From initially providing educational programming via cable and satellite, it made its content available on various online and offline platforms. Today, Knowledge Channel can be viewed on digital television through ABS-CBN TVplus and SKYdirect. It has more than 700 videos uploaded on its YouTube channel, a fast-growing online platform for educational learning. On-demand viewing is now possible as well thanks to Knowledge TV, a smart TV installed with a Knowledge Channel app, where kids and teachers can watch any Knowledge Channel video even without an internet connection,” the article says.
"Bridges” also features a CSR investment pie for an overall view of where the Lopez social projects in the Philippines are, as well as the CSR stories of other companies.
For regenerative actions
As LGFI managing director Mercedes Lopez-Vargas writes: “Yet, one unchanging rule of business and CSR is that for all one’s best intentions and anticipation, things can and do happen that will test one’s resiliency and longevity. In living organisms, this ability or mechanism of dealing with any eventuality is called REGENERATION. It is a process of renewal, restoration and re-growth that makes cells, organisms, and entire ecosystems, including those of humans, resilient to sudden fluctuations or major events that bring disturbance or damage.”
Communicating and connecting in these times—this is what “Bridges” is all about. (Story/Photos by: Dulce Festin-Baybay)