Binalot Fiesta Foods Inc. took home a Green Apple Environment Award in the recently concluded search organized by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-profit environment group dedicated to find Britain’s greenest companies, councils and communities.
Binalot, the lone winner from the Philippines, competed with 500 other nominations and was presented with the Green Apple Award in the House of Commons late last year. The recognition named Binalot as one of the International Winners in the Far East Islands. Along with a gold status, Binalot received a plaque and certificate.
The winning entry focused on to the company’s corporate social responsibility campaign, the DAHON (Dangal At Hanapbuhay para sa Nayon) Program. Initiated at the start of 2007, DAHON helps farmers from Barangay Buhanginan and Barangay Liliw in Nagcarlan, Laguna earn more from growing and harvesting banana leaves which are directly purchased directly by Binalot Fiesta Foods to be used in all Binalot restaurants.
DAHON is Binalot’s long-term program to provide a sustainable source of income for Filipino farmers and ensure a steady supply of quality banana leaves at a low price. Binalot is heavily dependent on banana leaves because the meals are served wrapped in banana leaves, which locks in the food’s flavor (Binalot is a Filipino word which means wrapped). The practice helps preserve the environment by promoting the use of organic banana leaves rather than non-biodegradable styrofoam for food packaging.
The DAHON program has also been recognized by several award-giving bodies and has bagged the special prize in 2007’s Global UPS “Out of the Box” Small Business Contest. Binalot received US $10,000 for exemplifying “end-to-end customer service,” besting entries from China, Singapore and other countries in the Asia Pacific. Binalot is the first Filipino company to win the prestigious prize, shattering the myth that CSRs are only for the big multinational companies. The program also received the Intel-Asian Institute of Management Corporate Responsibility Award in Malaysia in 2010 and a Special Citation for Corporate Social Responsibility from Entrepreneur Magazine in 2011.
The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the Britain’s major recognition for environmental endeavor among companies, councils, communities and countries. Judges for the Green Apple Awards are drawn from the Environment Agency, the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, the Chartered Institution for Wastes Management and other independent bodies.