July 6, 2004  (STAR) Rewards for good business do not always come from profitable ventures and successful management. Sometimes, a company gets the same amount of fulfillment from other invaluable undertakings.

This holds true for Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. The company believes that its little known acts of concern and generosity could contribute to the country’s attaining sustainable development or SD.

Helping communities build better lives is a significant part of the concept of SD. It aims to inspire the less fortunate to work not only for their present needs and wants but also, build a good future as well. According to Mylene Santos, sustainable development manager, people and communities gain pride and strength from their own achievements, "This actually makes them more able to carry out the programs by themselves and make it successful because in the end, it’s for their own benefit. By empowering them, we make the programs more effective, and yes, sustainable."

Seven Principles

Santos said that in helping contribute to SD, Shell is guided by seven principles, which help ensure that economic, social and environmental considerations are integrated in implementing programs that meet their own expectations and its direct beneficiaries. Generating profitability, delivering value to customers, preserving the environment, managing natural resources, respect and protect people, contributing and working in harmony with communities constitute the SD principles that shape the goals and objectives of Shell’s initiatives.

Each principle is deemed beneficial to both business and communities because it mobilizes projects according to purpose and target results.

Programs Of Substance

Despite its stature in the oil industry worldwide, Shell’s active involvement in socially relevant, endeavors has always been without much fanfare. The success of its numerous community-based training programs has benefited many Filipinos but Shell remains modest about their efforts.

As Santos puts it: "We know and recognize that we have done a lot but we must be humble enough to acknowledge that there is so much more that needs to be done."

Even then, Shell takes pride in the contributions of its corporate foundation, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI), to social development. PSFI has benefited over 400,000 people all over the country since it was instituted 20 years ago. From out of school youth, farmers, teachers, scientists and even the unemployed, it has reached out to more Filipinos through its livelihood training programs.

Other programs include agricultural, technical and skills training that as Santos revealed also guarantee beneficiaries employment, "We provide a complete program. We train our Foundation scholars and then, help them get employed through our partnerships with government agencies, and other private companies."

A Good Cause

Santos explains Shell’s efforts will not be good enough without valued support from its partners, "Making a project work and grow today calls for concerted effort by many partners."

For Shell’s part, it not only established valued partnerships with organizations like Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP), Batangas Coastal Resources Management Foundation (BCRMF) and Philippine Eagle Foundation (PEF) but also assumed important positions within these organizations to ensure a more hands-on participation in the implementation of their programs and activities.

Commitment To Sustainability

Shell is adamant about the difficult tasks involved in attaining SD. Santos deems it necessary to communicate their goals and activities to the public, "We think it is good way to encourage people to share their concerns, for us to better respond and meet their expectations. Thus, learn not just from our own experiences but from others as well."

Considering all the programs and communities involved, Shell proved to be even more committed to achieving SD than ever before, "We can create a lot of impact in terms of helping spur the country’s progress through our commercial activities, skills as innovators and problem solvers. We can utilize our business effectiveness with efforts to create opportunities to benefit more people. We are committed to sustainable development because of our values and of course, we believe it’s a good cause."

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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