The Real Value Of Corporate Social Responsibility

Dear Reader, 

It is often said that the responsibility of an entrepreneur is to make a better product at a better price. I believe it is something greater than that. The job of an entrepreneur is to better serve more people and to make the world a better place.

When I was younger, I joined in the business of the Velcro® wallet craze, followed it up with the show wallet and finally went into creating rock and roll memorabilia. None of those products made the world a better place. In fact, I discovered that these products were making the world a worse place when I visited my factory in China only to learn that children were making my products and in very dangerous conditions. Money is not worth hurting children. My eyes opened right then. My eyes shifted to see the world as a true entrepreneur that sees the world.

I learned the hard way that entrepreneurs have a duty to make the world a better place. Sometimes that means we solve a problem and sometimes it means we bring enlightenment.

Corporate social responsibility has emerged rapidly in the last decade. It’s how businesses or individuals affect the surrounding community. It’s a wave that started because people are coming to the conclusion that governments around the world are failing to solve social problems. To combat that problem, businesses have decided to step up and fight for change.

Bringing enlightenment is why Kim and I created the CASHFLOW® board game and wrote Rich Dad Poor Dad. It’s also why Kim and I created the Rich Dad Poor Dad Application for mobile devices. With this new edition, we can reach more people and more effectively teach the lessons that have made us successful. We can better serve more people.

Your Past Success Means Nothing

People will often rest on their past successes. Entrepreneurs do not have that luxury. I have a poster hanging in my office that says, “No one cares about your past successes.” Entrepreneurs cannot lose momentum and we must look forward. We must keep pushing. We must keep serving. We must maintain our velocity.

I watched as the book publishing industry slowly began to decline. I could have waited to see how, or if, they were going to embrace the digital age, but then I would have lost momentum. I would have placed my mission and serving the world on hold. That is not what an entrepreneur does. Entrepreneurs solve problems; we serve and we lead.

A Story of Corporate Social Responsibility

An inspirational example of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in action is Rommel Juan and his business, Binalot Fiesta Foods. Binalot (which means “wrapped” in Filipino) creates Filipino-style fast foods that are wrapped to lock in their flavor. 

DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon), the CSR program created by Binolot in 2007, helps farmers from Nagcarlan, Laguna facilitate the purchasing of banana leaves used to wrap Binalot’s foods.

DAHON not only benefits Juan’s business supplying and cutting the leaves but also the community. The women who cut the leaves earn approximately 200 pesos a day and the farmers have assured a steady supply of customers. The leaf trimmings, which previously had been tossed into trash heaps, are now repurposed for local compost materials in the community.

After Typhoon Milenyo hit the Philippines in 2006, wiping out the banana leaf crops in Luzon, DAHON played an integral part in helping source Binalot’s leaves. According to Juan, they had to import the leaves from other islands which had become expensive.

“We couldn’t price it that way for our franchisees, so we absorbed the cost,” he continued.

If it weren’t for a little luck found on a corporate social responsibility forum Juan’s aunt had taken him to, the unsustainable practice of importing the leaves would have driven Juan and his brother’s business into the ground.

It wasn’t easy, however. He thought selling the idea to local farmers would require very little effort. It took more than a few attempts to convince the local farmers his new leaf purchasing method would work. It was such a struggle, in fact, they only wanted Rommel to take their children back to Manila to give them jobs.

Finally, one community leader stepped up and agreed to organize the community and fulfill Binalot’s first order for banana leaves: one bundle, or about 200 dishes served at Binalot.

It didn’t take long for the community to rally behind the successful endeavor. The single bundle ordered quickly grew to 300 bundles. It blew away the community leader’s mind when he finally grasped they would continue to get the orders.

Because of the CSR program, Binalot was assured it could conduct its business with a steady, reliable supply of banana leaves. As a result, the people of Nagcarlan saw an improvement in their daily lives.

In 2007, Binalot Fiesta Foods received the “Out-of-the-Box” centennial prize for a small business competition sponsored by UPS. The $10,000 award went directly to the Laguna community.

The accolades didn’t stop there. Binalot also won the 2008 Anvil Award of Merit from the Public Relations Society of the Philippines. They also received recognition from Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2009 Franchise Awards as Best Local Homegrown Franchise and Fastest-Growing Franchise and many more.

The Entrepreneur’s Higher Purpose

Being an entrepreneur is like-kind to pursuing a higher purpose. Entrepreneurs understand that what they do creates jobs, helping people, and serving the world. Those higher purposes are far more important than pride or fear.

Rich Dad Poor Dad started simply as a book to promote our CASHFLOW® board game. It grew to become the #1 bestselling personal finance book of all time. My pride could have demanded that we never change. My pride could have said that Rich Dad Poor Dad, in its original form, helped tens of millions. Why change it?

Fear could have demanded that the world is changing too fast and that I should wait and see what happens first. Fear could have told me to allow someone else to test the market with a new digital platform. After all, why change now?

But, I am not an author. I am an entrepreneur. I take risks and I lead. And so the world of publishing is going to change, and I bet it is going to follow the lead of the new interactive Rich Dad Poor Dad powered by Clutch Learning. The Rich Dad Company is serving more people and making the world better. 

Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki
Editor, Rich Dad Poor Dad Daily

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Robert Kiyosaki

Robert Kiyosaki, author of bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad as well as 25 others financial guide books, has spent his career working as a financial educator, entrepreneur, successful investor, real estate mogul, and motivational speaker, all while running the Rich Dad Company.

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