Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CSR and Fast Food, Really?

As most of us know, the fast food industry is usually seen as a very poor example of a Corporate Socially Responsible company but every once in a while someone takes a turn for the better. Binalot Fiesta Foods, a Filipino fast food company, was established in 1996 with over 40 stores across the Philippines. What sets this company apart from the rest of the fast food chains is the incorporation of CSR in its products and production line. The company still falls under the category of fast food but their vision to compete with the usual pizza, burgers, plastic, and styrofoam sets them apart from the rest. Binalot serves traditional Filipino dishes that are cooked, steamed, wrapped and served in the unusual choice of a banana leaf. The banana leaf is not only a smart choice for the additional flavors that are added to their food but it also helps improve the lives of the banana farmers in the community.

Binalot launched a program called DAHON, designed to help the banana farmers increase production and sell more. The restaurant agreed to buy from these farmers who in return cut and sanitize the leaves, eliminating additional costs for the company. Binalot not only reduces their costs here but also improve the lives of many other people surrounding them. In addition to this, the farmers were trained on how to properly harvest the crop which therefore reduces the land degradation.

In future plans, Binalot intends to start vegetable gardens in the towns with the compost collected from the banana leaves. They intend to spread this environmental contribution across the country to help other companies become more sustainable. Binalot takes part in many activities intended to help Filipinos understand the importance of a sustainability and helping the environment. By including CSR in their business model, Binalot has become a leader in the fast food industry. They were received the Intel-Asian Institute Management Corporate Responsibility award this year at the AFCSR.

This company is an example of how easy it can be for fast food companies to demonstrate a little more CSR in the business model. McDonald's, take note!

Reanna May

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