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A CSR Lesson From Pagpag (Recycled Discarded Food)

November 1, 2008

It is one thing to talk about social problems and it is another to prod other people, and corporate entities to take positive action.

Filipinos have done just that by email and across  the blogosphere.

Recently, GMA Network broadcast ‘Pagpag For Sale’, a 9-minute report on how poverty-stricken Filipinos survive by scavenging food scraps from garbage piles of restaurants and hotels. They recycle the discards as recooked food for sale called ‘pagpag’, vernacular for the act of shaking away unwanted items.

On their menu: Pritong (fried) pagpag, apritada (tomato stew), and other Filipino dishes.

‘Pagpag’ is  retailed by roadside eateries catering to public utility vehicle drivers and neighbors at one-fifth if not one-tenth the price of regular karenderia or turo-turo fare, with the customers unmindful of the possible health hazards of eating recycled discarded food.

Since that GMA Netwirk report was aired and subsequently posted on YouTube, Filipinos have been doing a viral campaign: emailing out links friends and colleagues everywhere or embedding the same in their blogs and web sites.

Now one of the Philippines’ leading fast food chains has reacted and says it is taking action to improve  disposal procedures for left over food as part of its corporate social responsibility programs..

In my email this week came a dispatch to friends from Jollibee vice president for manufacturing William ‘Popot’ Lorenzana: “The news is disturbing and does paint a picture of the state of poverty in our country.”

His email goes on:

Let’s hope other entities including hotels whose discards are mined by pagpag makers follow suit.

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