Corporate competitors collaborate to achieve long-term sustainability

Corporate competitors collaborate to achieve long-term sustainability

Business reporter

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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Some of the largest companies in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean have partnered through the Caribbean Philanthropic Alliance (CariPhilAlliance) to create linkages that will foster development by building on the tremendous assets of the region, with the hope of providing a base for a sustainable future.

Speaking at a Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange forum held this week, members of CariPhilAlliance brought the media up to date on what their organisation has been doing, as well as how they plan to progress going forward.

Through this new and emerging alliance the primary objective is to bring the private and philanthropic sectors in the Caribbean together, to better strategically address persistent development challenges which are of paramount importance.

Professor Rosalea Hamilton, chief executive officer of the LASCO Chin Foundation and also one of the lead coordinators of the alliance, provided rationale for having such an entity.

“The whole evolution of this organisation is rooted in a long history of foundations, companies, businesses, corporate social responsibility spending, and other philanthropic charitable activities for decades in the region” she said.

According to Professor Hamilton, “We need to collaborate and interact with the rest of the world around developmental issues that affects us all.”

With the entity focusing on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), there is an emerging consensus that more coordinated initiatives and resources are required to address complex global challenges facing the Caribbean, especially within this period and that leading up to the next 10 years.

It was therefore on that premise that corporate leaders and their foundations across the Caribbean moved to form CariPhilAlliance, which they believe will tackle the region's challenges through collaboration.

Speaking at the recent official launch of CariPhilAlliance, held at the Jamaica Consulate in New York, chairman of LASCO Chin Foundation and group of companies, Lascelles Chin also gave his support for the initiative.

“We approach this initiative as private sector leaders, not as competitors. We are collaborators for the greater good of sustainable social and economic development in the Caribbean region,” he asserted.

Similar sentiments were also echoed by Dr Fred Kennedy, chairman of the GraceKennedy Foundation.

“While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders. Sustainable growth will not be achieved without strategic collaboration and lasting partnerships at the national, regional and international level,” he added.

LASCO and GraceKennedy are well known competitive brands in the Caribbean region and other Diaspora markets across the world. Caroline Mahfood, executive director of the GraceKennedy Foundation, which is one of the oldest foundations in the region amd also possessing two philanthropic arms, said that the aim of this partnership is to strengthen businesses to grow in leadership and philanthropy.

“Companies having a philanthropic arm present a win-win situation; it's a move from being just focused on profit to being focused on building our countries. Whatever is good for Jamaica is good for GraceKennedy”, she told the Business Observer “It's really to strategise the funds from the giving — lending them to worthwhile, much-needed and organised objectives”, she further stated.

Having some of the most popular and respected big name corporations, through their foundations, actively supporting the initiative — namely: Grace Kennedy, Lacso Chin, National Commercial Bank, Jamaica National, Media Institute of the Caribbean, CAC 2000, among several others across the region — the aim of CariPhilAlliance is to facilitate dialogue and action around the SDGs as well as to provide financial and other resources required to facilitate the achievement of these.

Outside of this, 40 organisations across the region also form part of the network. Mahfood, who said she has been doing foundation work for over 13 years, emphasised the need to have this alliance now.

She deemed it very important as they aim to pull together all the corporate foundations and leaderships across the region to be more established and efficient. She also underscored the need for a Caribbean type-alliance.

“One existed years ago in the American Virgin islands but it never really had the reach it needed to have and it died, so in starting up this thing again we need to make sure that we figure out how to make sure it does not die, but be viable”, she stated.

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