New awards program seeks student thesis to be next big CSR project

Leah C. Salterio

Posted at May 04 2019 07:25 AM

MANILA -- A grand celebration is what’s normally in the plan when a big company marks its 25th anniversary. But for insurance and risk provide Lockton Philippines, it is instead turning its attention to an issue that has had an increasingly significant impact on industries and communities – environmental risk.

That is the reason the First Lockton Philippines Legacy Awards was recently launched with the thrust to help make businesses better.

“We’re tired of big celebrations,” said Lockton Philippines president and CEO Victorio Valledor. “Normally, that is the practice in the insurance industry or maybe other industries when they celebrate their anniversaries.

“Rather than spend the money in a big party, then the following morning, no one remembers what happened anymore, this is our way of giving back.”

Lockton Philippines president and CEO Victorio Valledor. Handout

 Lockton Philippines has indeed grown by leaps and bounds in 25 years. The company is an affiliate of Lockton Companies, Inc., a privately held insurance brokerage firm, with over 90 offices in different countries. 

“We started the company with only four employees in 1994,” Valledor recalled. “Now, we’re 114 as of last count. We squatted in an office during our first few months. Today, we’re in three floors at Rufino Tower. Our revenue then was only P10 million in gross premiums; now we are making P3.5 billion annually.”

Lockton Philippines has been developing and managing insurance programs for companies from a wide range of sectors, such as power, energy, education, food, transportation, business process outsourcing (BPO) and infrastructure, among many others.

“We just celebrated Earth Day last April 19,” Valledor pointed out. “This Legacy Awards is something that we can leave to the young generation. Something that we can say we did something for the environment and not just making profits.”

The Lockton Philippines Legacy Awards is designed to recognize action research initiatives that promote responsible and efficient use of resources and help bring positive change in the way people look at protecting the environment.

“The contest focuses on environmental risk, one of the risks that our clients face,” Valledor said. “We cannot think of any other issue that’s really more relevant than the environment. What can be more pressing than this one?”

The Legacy Awards is open to all college and university students, who are supposed to come up with ideas on how to address the problem of the environment.

The awards program requires participants to submit an evaluative, investigative and analytical action research proposal that presents better practices for business to operate.

“We want to engage the next generation of minds, nurturing the ideas that can refine local business practices and promote better livelihood,” Valledor said.

“It’s a wonderful way to celebrate our anniversary – giving college students a chance to represent their school and bring the big ideas to a national stage, while helping protect the environment.”

The action research initiatives of the students will not just end with the submission on papers. Winning entries will see the implementation of their proposals.

“We are asking our existing clients and other friendly companies, to do the implementation for whatever is the project that has won the award,” Valledor said.

“The students they are required to come up with a thesis before they graduate. They can use our Legacy Awards as the basis. On the other hand, companies are looking for CSR projects. We expect this to fit right into what the CSR plans are.”

The study is a two-pronged approach. “We are approaching the students and schools to come up with a study,” Valledor explained. “At the same time, we are approaching corporations, our clients, friends and prospects who are looking for a CSR project and can implement the study. Once they are presented with this study, they will appreciate the importance and we expect them to implement.”

Lockton Philippines chairman Elfren Cruz. Handout

Meanwhile, Lockton Philippines chairman Elfren Cruz stressed that action research is a paper that is supposed to be read for implementation. “Naturally, most of the schools in Metro Manila are familiar with action research papers – which used to be called thesis – that must be implementable,” he said.

“Working on the theme that is environment, we are also extending the Legacy Awards and entice schools, even those from the provinces, to participate and join,” Cruz added.

This is not this first time, though, that Lockton Philippines has initiated something for the environment. “When Yolanda happened in 2013, we helped in building of schools in the community in Tacloban, where our client was,” Valledor shared.

There’s a cash prize for the students and the schools. The students will work in tandem with Philippine-based companies and corporations for the student-partner program.

“That will be a good match,” Valledor noted. “There will be a prize for the students as well as for the schools.”

“A lot of companies are looking for CSR projects and hopefully will adopt these papers,” Cruz said. “The project is not big scale, but geared towards small communities.” 

To further encourage participation of more schools outside the metro, Lockton Philippines is selecting winners from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, aside from the overall grand-prize winner.

Cash prizes of as much as P300,000 will be awarded to the student group, faculty advisor and the school. A total of P1 million cash prizes will be given.

A special third-prize winner will be awarded to indigenous communities and selected from the Cordillera, Bangsa-Moro or the Mangyans in Mindoro. Participating teams will also get the chance to win special awards.

“God willing, we expect this to be a continuing thing,” Valledor said. “Maybe every two years and eventually, annually. It depends. We’ll see.

“I’m 72 years old and I have a two-year-old granddaughter. I want to leave something for her.”

Cruz said there will be a distinguished panel of judges to be announced in the awarding ceremony.

“This early, the first schools to respond and show their interest are University of the Philippines and De La Salle University, who are used to this kind of competition,” Cruz shared.

“We are also sending a delegation to a conference of 30 schools in La Union, so we can reach out to the schools in the north,” he added.

Deadline for submission of student entries is on September 2, 2019.

The awarding ceremony will be in October.