RSCA in Action

Calling upon Businesses’ sense of social responsibility

An innovative adaptation to COVID training sees business owners and managers introduced to key principles of responsible business.

Article | 02 September 2020
ECOP training participants
Manila (ILO News) - As businesses and organisations around the world have adapted to new models of work, so has the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme. One of the key ways it engages with countries to promote responsible business practices is through training, in particular with the training of trainers.

“We look to build a sense of shared responsibility within the region,” explains Fredy Guayacan, RSCA programme manager, “and by building up a cadre of people who both understand the principles of responsible business conduct and have deep knowledge of the on-the-ground conditions, we think it’s an important way to build the practical case for change.”

Normally, the ILO’s Corporate and Social Responsibility training takes place over two- and three-day face to face seminars. But these are not normal times and, in the Philippines, currently, such meetings are neither safe nor advisable. The RSCA programme, working with the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) instead developed an innovative month-long programme of shorter, 2-hour seminars online.

It was something of an experiment for the programme, but one with good results, according to RSCA National Programme Coordinator, Ruby Banez: “We saw that participants remained engaged through all of the sessions. It was a sign for us both that the content was important to our participants and the idea of virtual training can work well.”

Delegates from the Agri business sector were trained in the principles of CSR, including how it relates to issues such as OSH, Grievance Handling and Freedom of Association. They were also shown how best to impart this knowledge to others using specially prepared resources, such as the Programme’s Labour Standards in Global Supply Chains - an ILO training module for SMEs and other enterprises and the MNE Declaration.

“We hope that through this training, participants will better understand the what, why and how of CSR and RBC. Responsible business practices are important in making businesses, communities and even the nation more resilient in the face of a crisis like COVID 19,” says Banez.

Presenter Rhodora Snyder, CSR project manager for ECOP, found the initial set up for online training “a bit challenging. Not all of our Trainors and participants are technologically savvy”, she says. The lessons, however, remain important: “Multinational and national enterprises’ sense of social responsibility is highly called upon at this hour.”

“(In times of COVID) responsible business in terms of handling workers - including laying off or downsizing, implementing work from home schemes, skeleton workforces, occupational safety and health - this should be on top of the employers’ priorities,” says Snyder. “Making sure that when workers go back to work, OSH and COVID 19 protocols and policies are in place, PPEs are provided for free, and that OSH monitoring is conducted as often as necessary to ensure the safety and health of employees, clients, business partners and the community where it operates,” she adds.

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The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia Project is a European Union-funded project jointly implemented by the ILO and OECD that enables businesses to dialogue on challenges and opportunities concerning corporate social responsibility in six Asian countries – China, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. It uses as a basis for its research, outreach, policy advocacy and training internationally recognised guidelines on responsible business conduct, the OECD’s Guidelines for multinational enterprises, and the ILO’s MNE declaration.
For more information about the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia project, visit www.ilo.org/rsca or contact: Ruby Banez: banez@ilo.org