An international seminar-workshop entitled, “Institutionalizing Responsible Corporate Citizenship in Development Financing Institutions” was successfully conducted from March 27-29, 2012 in Manila, Philippines under the auspices of the World Federation of Development Financing Institutions (WFDFI) whose current Secretariat is ADFIAP. The event was attended by 26 participants from 20 institutions and 14 countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region. The program served as a platform for the participants to share country experiences on development finance, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate citizenship (CC).
This program which is under the CIPE grant-funded project called, “Responsible Corporate Citizenship for Development Financing Institutions” aims to promote, develop and institutionalize best principles and practices on how DFIs should actualize their mandate of providing financial and technical assistance for sustainable development. Responsible corporate citizenship in a development finance institution (DFI), or alternately called development bank, is defined as “the governance of its positive impact on the economy, society and the environment through its operations, products or services, and through its interaction with key stakeholders such as its funders, employees and clients.” This actuation forms the crucial basis for DFIs to be responsible corporate citizens without which DFIs have little else to offer to society over the longer term.
The Manila workshop was the culminating activity for the project and an occasion to launch the “Corporate Citizenship Manual for DFIs”, a toolkit to facilitate the design and implementation of corporate citizenship in a DFI which can also be adopted by other financial institutions such as commercial banks. The manual recommends a framework for the integration and institutionalization of corporate citizenship that is premised on good governance and corporate social responsibility. As financial intermediaries, DFIs, through this toolkit, can develop good corporate citizenship guidelines and embed them in their operations and lending decisions.
The workshop also afforded the participants an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the current governance, CSR and CC practices and policies of the Land Bank of the Philippines, the Development Bank of the Philippines, Planters Development Bank, People’s Credit and Finance Corporation as well as corporate foundations, namely the United Coconut Planters Bank-CIIF Finance and Development Corporation Foundation, Inc, and Team Energy Foundation, Inc Dr. Cesar Saldaña, President, PSR Consulting, Inc. and ADFIAP Adviser on Governance and Risk Management acted as the main resource person and program coordinator.
Most of the financial institutions attending already have their own CSR programs. However, due to the lack of understanding of the meaning and scope of CSR, they were not categorized as such. The seminar, in a way, provided the participants broader understanding about the CSR concept and helped them identify existing activities of their institutions that belong in this category. For those DFIs without CSR activities in place, the workshop helped them realize the importance of CSR to provide balance in the overall functions and responsibilities of their respective institutions towards their clients and their community.
The participation of representatives from different countries has widened the participants’ scope of learning and appreciation about the subject.