Corporate social responsibility shouldn’t just be about the occasional donation or fund-raising, according to Feruni Ceramiche. It must also strive to effect lasting change to the community around a company. JOY LEE reports.
MOST companies have CSR (corporate social responsibility) projects. But for Feruni Ceramiche, giving back to the community is more than just a project.
Community is one of Feruni’s core pillars upon which its brand value is built, which is delivering happiness. Managing director Datuk C.C. Ngei hopes to see its efforts actually touching lives as he believes that business is beyond just profit.
“It is our responsibility to ‘upkeep’ the community that surrounds us. And every small effort can lead to bigger things.
“We see it as both an individual and organisational effort to make a positive contribution to the community around us. Our driving force is simply in believing that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves,” says Ngei.
Apart from contributing 10% of its profit after tax to community efforts, the company’s CSR strategy is a values-led initiative that is tailored to the various areas of focus to add value to the community.
Feruni’s CSR efforts started six years ago when Ngei founded the company and implemented a new company culture centred on giving back to the community.
However, back then, Feruni’s CSR works were similar to what most other companies were doing, which was to give away one-off monetary donations.
Ngei soon realised there was a need for a more lasting impact and a more sustainable way of affecting change in the community. So Feruni recently launched its “3,000-hours of community work” effort where each employee commits to carrying out a minimum of 16 hours of community work per year.
This would enable employees to experience for themselves what it means to invest in the community and to effect positive change.
Getting every employee on board this change in direction was not all that easy. But Ngei ensured that there was open communication between him and his employees, so that they understood this new direction and were able to run with it.
The ultimate goal, says Ngei, is to inspire everyone to be committed to creating a positive impact and to contribute towards the greater good.
An added incentive is that these community efforts can be carried out during working hours and be considered as part of work.
Among Feruni’s CSR efforts is its Feruni Tiling Academy which aims to equip the less privileged groups with professional tiling skills, while also enabling successful students to contribute back to the programme as trainers. Feruni also provides education-led sponsorships to improve access to quality education and facilities for students from the community.
The tiling company also encourages its employees to participate in pro-bono volunteering efforts wherever their skills are relevant and through its Radius 360° programme, which works closely with the local communities to establish a more sustainable form of engagement.
Of course, there is the ocassional visitation to organisations such as old folks home and participation in charity runs.
But more than just doing their part to create a positive impact, this effort of investing in the community has also added back value to the company.
Ngei notes that employees at Feruni are able to discover or cultivate talent by offering their services through social platforms that are outside of their work scope. Additionally, his employees gain a sense of satisfaction that comes from making a difference in the lives of the community.
“When we educate our people to see things from a different angle and to commit to building a caring environment, it also helps us to build a more harmonious working environment at the workplace and in our homes as well,” he says.