Five Companies Doing More

Here at more good deeds we promote random acts of kindness across the globe: the little things we can do for one another to make the world a little happier, a little kinder, a little better. And whilst we are focused here on what individuals can do themselves, this week I’ve been reading up on the good deeds of large multinational companies.

Below is a list of companies which are doing some truly good work, all of which featured on Fortune’s Change the World list in 2016:

  • GlaxoSmithKlein – this pharmaceutical giant has relinquished their patents on their drugs and medicines and are selling them at affordable prices in developing countries, where quality health-care is hard to find and access. However, they are still making a profit, although a marginal one. Experts at Fortune suggest profit-motivated schemes such as this one are actually more beneficial than traditional charitable ones because the company itself is more invested in the success of the program. GSK also reinvests 20 per cent of their profits into the training of health workers and the development of medical infrastructure in poor nations.
  • Coca Cola – yes, aside from rotting children’s teeth, Coca Cola does impact our world in other ways. The company has partnered with large organisations and NGOs such as UN Women and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in order to promote entrepreneurism amongst poor women in developing countries. They provide training and resources to impoverished women so they can support themselves and their family by running a business. Named the 5by20 campaign, Coca Cola aims to have transformed the lives of 5 million women by 2020. Independent studies of the work Coca Cola has done so fa returned very successful results, including an income increase of 140 per cent reported from female farmers in Kenya.
  • Bank of America – yes, the company which used to finance the US coal industry. Well, since 2013 they’ve changed their tune and are now investing billions of dollars into renewable energy and sustainability projects. So far, the improved, greener Transport for London and Southern Power have been some of the largest receivers of funding. But bank users can also take advantage of this change in direction through their new ‘green bonds’ which are intended to support sustainable business projects.
  • Schneider Electric – to combat the problem of limited access to electricity in Africa, Schneider Electric, a French company you’d probably recognise from escalators, designed and funded a solar power grid. This development is now providing endless electricity to 128 schools in Kenya as part of their Access to Energy program. Another aspect of this program is to train people in the developing world in energy management. This includes electrician training, industrial maintenance and entrepreneurial training for those starting businesses related to innovated energy solutions. All of their programs follow the training the trainer model to provide local employment opportunities too.
  • National Australia Bank – it’s not only the developing world where large companies are making a difference. Here in Australia there are also people who are benefitting from the good deeds of our industry giants. NAB redesigned their debt collection system, reduced their loan defaults significantly as a result and they also support vulnerable members of the community financially. Domestic violence victims, for example, can receive grants of up to $2,500 to assist them in leaving abusive situations.

I hope you can see how some of the largest companies in the world are using their position for good and I’d like to share with you now my own experience of exactly this. Let me just start off by saying that I was not asked to endorse the company I’m about to mention in exchange for their kind act. I’m writing about this purely because it is the perfect example of a selfless good deed with absolutely no strings attached. Let me set the scene:

When I was in England fundraising for my charity, SKOPE, which I run in Cambodia, I did two book drives with Rotary Clubs to collect books for a library we built in a school in January 2017. I was bowled over by the support I received for this project. And by bowled over I mean I collected over 800 books. It was when I was sat on the floor of my living room, finishing up the inventory of these generously donated supplies that I began to wonder how on earth I was going to get these books from England to Cambodia. My charity is tiny – we don’t have a shipping budget. And when I checked quotes online, the cost of shipping the books would have actually been more than building the entire structure and stocking it with Cambodian language books. So I was in quite the dilemma.

I’ve always been a ‘you don’t ask, you don’t get’ kind of person. So using this ethos, I made some enquiries. A few days before Christmas I phoned up DHL, the world’s largest courier company, and explained my situation: I ran a charity, I had a significant number of books I needed to ship, and I had no money. The man I spoke to assured he’d pass along my details to their charity branch (which promotes community work) and sure enough, some days later, I received an email asking me to provide a few more details about why I was requesting free shipment. Within days I had received an affirmative email saying that DHL would provide me with 100kg of free shipping door to door. Yes, the largest courier in the world collected five boxes full of children’s books from my parents’ house in England and, three days later, they appeared outside my apartment in Phnom Penh. Three days after that they were being stacked on the shelves of the newly built library in Karuna Youth Cambodia School. DHL didn’t ask me to shout about this act of kindness but without them, our library would have looked very sparse indeed. So thank you, DHL, thank you.

Finally, it is important to remember these companies are in a position to have far greater impact on the world and benefit far more people than just one individual. They have more money, more power and more scope. But that doesn’t mean the good deeds you or I do are invalid. They’re still good deeds, they still brighten the day of whomever we did them for. So don’t try to measure up to some of these companies and continue to do your own, achievable good deeds every day.

Go, do, experience. More Good Deeds.