Corporate Social Responsibility Is Everyone’s Business

J. E. Bergasse Supports The Community With Programmes Designed To Empower Youth
Intrinsic to the J. E. Bergasse business philosophy is their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Programme called ‘YES! Youth Empowered to Shine.’
According to Managing Director, Anthony Bergasse: “Social responsibility has been ingrained in the J. E. Bergasse culture since our earliest days as a company, largely because my father, Peter, and his business partner, Hollis Bristol, have always been strong advocates of corporate citizenship. As a company, we continue to balance a generous spirit with wise stewardship of the company’s resources, believing that every organisation has a civic duty to play its part in helping with development, each according to its means.”
Over the years, J.E. Bergasse has contributed in an informal manner to several groups, organisations, schools and individuals as part of the company’s community outreach programme. However, given the socio-economic challenges of a small island developing state, they recognised that the company could do more, and consulted with a local marketing company to assist in designing a more structured approach to CSR.
The essence of the YES! programme includes donations of equipment, product, services, mentoring and other resources to schools and organisations focused on youth development and training.
“Our education and social service efforts reflect our belief that a successful corporation must be an active participant in society. While we have always placed emphasis on education, our focus is on the youth of Saint Lucia, who have always had a special place in our hearts because they represent the future,” explains the MD.
Hence the branding of the corporate social responsibility programme as YES! Youth Empowered to Shine.
Over the years, J.E. Bergasse has helped and continues to help the youth of the island through a wide variety of educational and self-development initiatives: Employing summer interns; providing deeply discounted pricing on products and services to students, teachers and schools; promoting and funding members of staff in pursuit of undergraduate degrees and professional designation programmes.
Of course, in a small community where the same businesses are approached year after year by all sorts of worthy causes, there can be a risk of “donor fatigue,” but the company of J. E. Bergasse is firm in its commitment to making a difference in the lives of disadvantaged Saint Lucians, and as leader of the company, it falls to Anthony Bergasse to juggle the scant resources available.
“Times are challenging, our economies are not exactly robust and the outlook is anaemic at best, but now is not the time to retreat into our shells. We’re in an age of sustainable and responsible business. If it does one thing, it will show which companies are genuinely committed to ethical, responsible business,” he explains.
“But this is about actually having a business in twenty years’ time. Corporate Social Responsibility will survive, because the big issues that drive companies’ social, environmental and ethical policies are not going away. So, if we believe that doing our bit to tackle these important issues is the right thing to do, we have to stick to our principles. At J. E Bergasse, our intent is to constantly lead with innovative technologies, products, solutions and service that our customers can depend upon to improve their business results. We also know that none of this can happen, or can continue to happen, without the support of our customers.
“Fortunes will ebb and flow, but no matter how we assess our own situation, there are always those who need our help.”
Tannel George tannel@amsstlucia.com


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