Reputation and branding are a company's most valuable assets in today's global business environment. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has thus become a key component in building business competitive advantages and driving value creation for the company and its business stakeholder for its triple bottom-line towards the 3Ps of Profit (Economic), People (Community) and Plant (Environment) (refer to Appendix 1). CSR process is about integrating social values into business decision-making and achieving positive and sustainable outcome in its business practices for all its stakeholders in order to remain sustainable and provide better business.1
Wrestler Corporation is a seafood trading company established in Singapore since 2000. Over the decade, the corporation has strived hard to grow from a SME (small-medium enterprise) to an international enterprise of today. Since its founding, Wrestler has always focused on its aim to maximize its value as an innovating, function-oriented trading group in a broad variety of business. As such Wrestler becomes the recognized leader in retail and foodservice markets it serves, providing products and services to customers throughout United States and more than 80 countries. Wrestler's vision is to be the world leading marketing for first choice marine resource supply while maximizing shareholder value. Its mission is to source for cheaper alternative marine resources and market trusted fish and aquatic food products to fit today's changing lifestyle. As the corporation continue to grow and expand, so too is its responsibility towards the society and environment where it operates. Sustainability plays a significant role to the culture of Wrestler Corporation. In June 2009, the corporation has declared its CSR Policy - "We strive to do positive business practices that works in harmony with the society and environment at large".
Our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme
Reason for Choosing the fish industry & CSR project
Wrestler Corporation recognizes the importance of being a responsible corporate citizen. Being a major trading company in fish and aquatic food products, Wrestler has expressed concern over the potential of overfishing taking place globally, the overpricing of fishes that are of high demand and low supply, and the disruption of smooth supply of fish/ aquatic food products. Based on these concerns, in January 2010, Wrestler had decided to make use of its main core competencies in: (i) providing innovative food supply solutions; (ii) source of cheaper alternative food supplies; (iii) food import and distribution; and (iv) business to business supplies to do a corporate activity towards sustained growth with the society.
For the corporate CSR activity, Wrestler Corporation has aim to achieve two main objectives. One is to ensure a stable source of marine resources and second, to assist in developing aquatic farming through adoption of new technologies, and by training and support for people engaged in fish farming particularly in poor and severely underdeveloped country who are seeking economic improvement or a country who is on the path of recovering from post natural disaster trauma.
In the corporate activity, numerous individual and organizations are interested in Wrestler business, economical, environment and social performance as a general trading company. The most significant stakeholders of Wrestler Corporation include:
Engagement of Key Stakeholders in business activities can helps to resolve social and environment issues
Builds partnerships based on fair dealings for sustained mutual benefits
Respect individual rights and exercise fairness and equality. Support individual growth &development.
Be a responsible corporate citizen and contribute to making a positive difference in society
Together with business partners, works to provide satisfaction to consumers (end-users)
Maximising shareholder value through practice of good governance with transparency & accountability, and enhanced communication.
Future generation, government agencies, NGOs, NPOs
How We Do It
3.1 Methodology & Implementations
To facilitate the CSR activity, Wrestler Corporation had decided to seek partnership with one of our suppliers, Swee Chioh Aquaculture Holdings who is Singapore biggest marine aquaculture cooperative specialized in breeding and rearing of high quality fish and fingerlings in captivity for commercial purpose2, to establish a mariculture fish farming in East Timor where marine fishing is currently practiced and majority of the coastal communities' livelihood and income are predominantly dependant on fisheries. Through a series of numerous consultations with various parties such as East Timor's Department of Fisheries and the Marine Environment (DFME) in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, mariculture experts from Gondol Research Institute for Mariculture (GRIM) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), rural and near shore area near East Timor capital city, Dili, was selected as the potential production site for the farming cooperative or co-op based on the following reasons: (i) its geographical location lies in the northern shore of East Timor with access to the Banda Sea (refer to Map 1)3,4, (ii) the site has a large fishery potential, (iii) pristine water with little pollution, (iv) ideal marine conditions for mariculture farming and (v) accessibility to roads, airport, harbor, etc.3,5,6 The co-op plans to establish itself as the private sector-based fishing industry in Dili by going into near-shore mariculture farming and development of small-scale marine fin-fish hatchery. A range of fish species such as groupers (e.g. greasy grouper and polka-dot grouper) and tilapia (e.g. Nile tilapia) would be cultivated to meet the local demand and the export market as well. For this collaboration, the co-op will be responsible for the capital for development, supplying seed (fry and fingerling) and feed stock, environment, technology and trade (Refer to Table 1-4) whereas East Timor government and communities will provide the landsite and labour force.
To effectively implement the CSR activity, PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) Cycle was used to assist in decision-making and implementation of the project (refer to Appendix 2). During the planning stage, it is extremely important to inform the corporate stakeholders of the corporate CSR principle, policy, activity and engaged their involvement through regular communications such as official seminar, dialogue session or notice to all parties as their involvement and engagement are critical factors in ensuring motivation and commitments towards making continuous improvement as well as understanding the expectations of those who have an impact on the company and who will be impacted (refer to Appendix 3). A cross-functional pilot committee team will then be set-up to formulate the new policies, operational procedures and empowerment to lead the CSR activity in Dili. The team shall consist of individuals with expertise in the area of research & design (R&D), technical operation of fish farm, consultant and trainers. An analysis of the current situation would follow up next. An internal analysis using the SWOT analytical tool (refer to Appendix 4) is used to assist the company's understanding of current condition on the level of involvement in the CSR programme. Once the internal analysis is completed, an external analysis is done and the company's performance would be compared against benchmark companies with similar CSR concept. In our case, bench-marking of our CSR programme is matched against Sojitz Group from Japan and Love a Child Inc from Haiti (refer to Section 6 of the report).
To execute the implementation of the programme, Wrestler Corporation had approached the Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) and UNDP Timor-Leste to establish communication channel with East Timor government authorities to allow the corporation to establish farming co-operative in Dili with land lease charged at 10% of annual sales and tax exemption for a period of 5 years since the co-op objectives is teach and equip the fishermen with skills and best practices in fish farming techniques, hatchery and farm management, and cultivation of own broodstock so that they can grow, learn and work with each other to produce certificated and high quality aquatic products to sustain themselves and boasting the fishermen's income in addition to its maritime fishing. In addition, Wrestler will approach the UNAID volunteers support unit in Dili to help in finding experts in constructing of inland hatchery, building of boat, database specialist, and etc for the farm and invite mariculture experts from the GRIM to participant in the CSR programme. Wrestler will also work along with Tulun Rai Timor (Timor Aid), a NGO in East Timor to assist in distributing fishes to the malnutrition rural people suffering from poverty as a form of relief.
Key Performances Indicators (KPIs)
A series of key performance indicators are identified based on the SMART guidelines (i.e. Simple, Measurable, Achievable, Reliable, Time-bound) to monitor and record the performance and success rate of the farming cooperative.7 Five main areas were identified in the table as follows:
Increase foreign exchange earnings from export market by 0.5% in two (2) years.
Increased per capita nutritional intakes.
Recover capital investment in five (5) years.
Increase source of supply to our trade by 10% in two (2) years.
Increase fish production for domestic consumption by 10% in two (2) years.
Creates new job opportunity for the coastal community.
More than 90% of employees are satisfied with the job.
Improved living standards
Higher rural incomes among farmers adopting the aquaculture farming system approach.
Delivery of Service
Assure 100% quality and safety of fish products for export and domestic trade.
Learning level demonstration
Increase the skill level of local workers.
Assure 50% of technology transfer for aquaculture to the fishermen.
More than 90% of fishermen to rate training/workshop to be relevant and beneficial.
Based on the percentage of achievement of the targets, the company will propose measures for further improvements to its CSR activities, expansion of the existing activities or revisions to the entire CSR strategy.
Benefits & Outcomes of the CSR programme
The short term benefits of our CSR programme in East Timor is to create new jobs for the rural people and strengthen the food source diversification after their crisis. The long term benefit is that the sustainable management of these fishery resources will help to improve their poor living standards after a period of time as a strong rural economy built on good agriculture productivity will help to boost a nation's economic growth and reduce poverty8, which is greatly needed in a country which its economy is devastated by natural disasters or wars. Our stakeholder's requirements and expectations of social responsibility in our business are met by which our employees are given good welfare and benefits. East Timor government benefits in acquiring foreign investment and economic growth through the CSR programme. Global fish market benefits from the additional source of fishes and aquatic food products. Our shareholder will only benefit from our returns through a combination of capital growth and dividends in the long term. Our benefiting stakeholders are our employees for payments and benefits and the East Timor government for income taxes. Returns of investment (ROI) are measured by the gross revenue less total expenses. It may be expressed in annual or project term basis (refer to Table 6). Our CSR project returns is solely generated by the revenue of selling the fish supplies grown in our fisheries to the local domestic markets such as wholesale markets, restaurants located in the cities of East Timor and/or exporting to countries importing Tilapia such as Australia, USA or Europe and Grouper such as Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.
We will continue collaborating with Swee Chioh Aquaculture Holdings to help our organization with our current CSR projects in East Timor or future CSR projects in other countries. By involving with our CSR projects, Swee Chioh Aquaculture will gain its reputation throughout the Asia pacific region with its involvement in relief operations to needy countries. Other corporations, multi-national companies (MNC) or restaurants which may buy Grouper/Tilapias or fingerlings from us are also directly benefiting from our CSR projects. Countries which our CSR projects can be replicated can be in any Asia pacific countries which may be affected by natural disasters or requires humanitarian assistance such as Chile and Taiwan with their recent earthquakes; only on the condition that breeding of the Grouper/Tilapia species is successful under that country's climate and water conditions.
Our proposed CSR matches both the core competencies of Wrestler Corporation
and our partner Swee Chioh Aquaculture Holdings. Not only does it benefit
our stakeholders, it is also sustainable and replicable to other parts of
the world in the same tropical belt, with coastal area to utilise for
marine aquaculture. Replication within East Timor itself can increase on
the output of fish production. The hatchery from our pioneer project will
be the source of fingerlings for other farm's start-up.
The project can be further expanded once sustainable food supply has been
achieved at East Timor for its people. The excessive fishes grown could be
used to feed and breed salmon and tuna fishes, which are higher in values
and demands. These future CSR projects will not only lower the world
demands for salmon and tuna fish, create more jobs for people, but also
gain higher ROIs for Wrestler Corporation and its stakeholders involved.
References to Case Studies (For Benchmarking & Best Practices)
The concept of Wrestler Corporation CSR programme was benchmarked against the corporate social responsibility activity done by two organisations respectively in fishery industry. These two corporate activities were chosen to bench-mark against for reasons being the similarity in the nature of program and the company background.
1 Sojitz Group (Japan): Sojitz, a trading company focus particularly on marine resources, undertaking initiatives to ensure a stable source of supply. Due to the concern of whether stable supply of tuna can be maintained due to international fishing quotas, in 2008 Sojitz became the first major trading company to invest directly in tuna farming by establishing a tuna farming company in Nagasaki Prefecture and going into the bluefin tuna farming business. Sojitz, together with the local fishing cooperative, founded the Sojitz Tuna Farm Takashima Co., Ltd. to make good use of the know-how available locally, revitalize the industry and provide employment, with the aim of ensuring stables supplies of tuna.10
2 Love a Child Inc (Haiti): A non profit organisation and with technical expertise from the CTN, the Tilapia Fish Farm and Training Centre was being set up in Haiti. The centre gives the Haitian people an opportunity to learn to feed themselves by teaching them on how to raise tilapia.11