Shell ACTS: A Community that Serves
“The future belongs to the few of us still willing to get our hands dirty,” says Christian Jeff Garma, a Shell volunteer who has participated in tree-planting and Brigada Eskwela 2018 activities in Batangas. There is palpable satisfaction in his tone when he declares, “Shell prides itself on its culture of volunteerism and capacity to create a meaningful impact on our community.”
Volunteers, many of them young professionals, benefit from diversifying their social networks through such socio-civic activities. It allows them to cement a bond with fellow employees, even as they strive to understand the world just outside of their work, which is crucial to personal as well as professional development. This is particularly true in Pilipinas Shell, where employees look to join in acts of service.
“There was a clamor from the young people for volunteerism activities. People are really passionate about helping others, and so we formed Shell ACTS to keep all these volunteerism activities focused and centralized,” says Karla Lukban-Zarate, External Relations Adviser at Pilipinas Shell. “Everyone is welcome to join. We opened Shell ACTS to all staff and agency partners of Pilipinas Shell.”
Prior to Shell ACTS, volunteer call-outs for corporate social responsibility (CSR) and Foundation activities were made through internal bulletins and emails. With the launch of Shell ACTS at the different work sites, employees are able to sign up for “service buckets” matched to their interests and helmed by a program manager and administrator from PSFI. They also regularly interact via Yammer for updates on the ongoing activities.
The volunteerism activities are streamlined according to the global themes of Social Investments of Pilipinas Shell—access to energy, community skills and enterprise development (CSED), and STEM education—as well as special activities under disaster relief and environmental management. All activities are under the purview of the External Relations and Human Resources of Pilipinas Shell.
“Everything is done through the Foundation, because we don’t want to pull away from the focused activities of PSFI,” says Zarate, noting that there is a pre-activity discussion on safety and on the purpose of the activity to orient the volunteers. “The budget is set for the calendar of activities. It’s really their presence and their service that we need.”