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Crystallizing CSR for nation-building: League of Corporate Foundations’ 11th CSR Expo to ‘sharpen tools’ for sustainable CSR

(Manila, Philippines, June 6, 2012) –  Marking the end of its crystal year, the League of Corporate Foundations (LCF) creates another milestone in promoting the practice of corporate social responsibility (CSR) towards nation-building. The CSR Expo, which will take place on July 5 and 6 at the SMX Convention Center, is themed “Transforming the Business of Giving Back.”

“LCF has sharpened the tools in promoting sustainable CSR towards nation-building,” according to Lydia Sarmiento-Enrile, chair of the Sarmiento Foundation, one of the LCF’s founding organizations. She is also governor of the Management Association of the Philippines, and former LCF president.

“I think the time has come to look at CSR from a different point of view, and ‘transforming’ for me is the right term because we are very quickly evolving into something which in the past was much of just giving, or philanthropy, and then slowly we emerged into what the majority would call CSR practices,” noted Sarmiento-Enrile, who has been in the field of social development for more than 20 years.

“I look at it as a full circle, because way back in the mid-60s, we were integrated in the core business but different things intervened. And there was a time when doing CSR which is directly related to your business was considered a conflict of interest,” she said. “But now the most effective or the most sustainable type of CSR is that which is directly linked to your core business.”

Although CSR has significantly evolved from merely community relations and philanthropy, implementing CSR efforts effectively is a very real challenge. “We operate in a business environment, and it’s very difficult to predict everything that will happen,” says Sarmiento-Enrile. “It’s not as though the business environment is always healthy and strong. When the business environment is under a lot of pressure, given all of these objectives, it can be quite a challenge for professional managers. And I think this is why the idea of strategic CSR is very important.”

LCF “is a very strong learning experience,” Sarmiento-Enrile explained. “Over the last 15 years, LCF is the single organization that has had the greatest impact in terms of consciousness on the concept of corporate social responsibility. And this is principally because of the annual CSR Expo. We have reached out to the biggest audience from the youth, the academe, the practitioners, civil society, and even people who did not know what CSR was all about.”

The 11th CSR Expo in July will highlight how businesses can operate with social, environmental and economic responsibility, and within an ethical framework while ensuring sufficient financial returns for sustainability. Around 600 delegates consisting of CSR practitioners, executives, entrepreneurs, government representatives, academicians, and civil society partners are expected to attend the Expo.

Topics during the two-day conference include social entrepreneurship, Filipino cultural values, public-private partnerships, volunteerism and philanthropy, creating shared value, and social media for CSR, among others. The Expo will feature an exhibition of the development work of corporations and corporate foundations, as well as free CSR 101 sessions for teachers and students to increase their awareness and knowledge on the practice of CSR across industries.  As in previous years, LCF is once again adopting green conference practices to keep waste at a minimum and to recycle and reuse materials to the maximum extent possible.

For more information, visit the CSR Expo’s official event website,www.lcf.org.ph/csrexpo2012.

About the League of Corporate Foundations
The League of Corporate Foundations is a network of over 70 operating and grant-making corporate foundations and corporations that promotes and enhances the strategic practice of Corporate Social Responsibility among its members and the larger business community, towards sustained national development.