Qualfon, a mission-driven business process outsourcing (BPO) company and global provider of contact center services, and 42 employee volunteers removed weeds and shrubs across a 1-hectare reforestation area of the Mananga Watershed and Forest Reserve in Cebu, Philippines. This maintenance phase of work marks the next milestone in the company’s two-year commitment to assist the Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) in rehabilitating 29,062 hectares of land.
Photo: Qualfon employee volunteers, PBSP representatives, and members of the Armed Forces work together to plant 2,500 indigenous trees that will help protect the Mananga Watershed in Cebu, Philippines
In late February, 42 Qualfon Cebu employee volunteers joined six PBSP representatives and 16 members of the Armed Forces removing weeds and brush that were crowding out tree seedlings planted back in July 2016. Within Qualfon’s adopted plantation, volunteers also replanted any dead seedlings to ensure an 85% survival rate. The continued care is just part of Qualfon’s pledge to the reforestation project.
Last year, Qualfon adopted the plantation and was the first PBSP corporate partner to fully commit to the two-year, multi-phased project. While many other partners only plant trees, Qualfon promised to stay involved throughout the process, preparing the site, planting trees, maintaining the site, inventorying survival rates, replanting as needed, and assisting in the reporting process.
“Our participation is not just to restore the forest but also to increase in the amount of water that can be provided for Cebu’s growing population,” explained Aimee Sibul-Martinez, Mission Manager, Qualfon Cebu, who helps organize the project.
Overall, the reforestation effort seeks to improve dwindling water supplies caused by the intrusion of saltwater into metro Cebu’s groundwater reservoir. Together with the Philippines Department of Environment and Natural Resources, local government units, private companies, schools, and other organizations, the program aims to rehabilitate the entire 29,062-hectare watershed area that pumps water to the groundwater reservoir.
Qualfon’s 1-hectare plantation is located in the Central Cebu Protected Landscape, Southeast of the city of Cebu and roughly 13 miles from the Qualfon contact center. With the helping hands of volunteers, the site will be enhanced with a total of 2,500 native species of seedlings, 75% of which are forest trees and 25% of which are fruit trees, mostly Arabica coffee. To augment the cost of the project, Qualfon held an Adopt-a-Seedling Project, where employees purchased 1,100 seedlings and sponsored nearly half of the initial planting phase.
“This program helps Qualfon achieve its mission to make peoples’ lives better because it mobilizes local residents, giving them a source of income, food, and water for the future,” added Sibul-Martinez.
PSBP works with the local community in forming foot patrol groups tasked with protecting the plantation from stray animals and other incidents. The local community is also educated in the importance of resource planning to ensure the conservation of the watershed environment, giving ownership to the community as the direct beneficiaries. Additionally, the fruit and coffee harvest will become a source of livelihood. When the project closes in October 2018, the land will be turned back over to the local community.
“Our involvement in this transformation deepens our employees’ appreciation and knowledge of the value in caring for the environment. This is a very direct and tangible way we can influence positive change in the world around us. One day our employees will look back at the forest with great pride,” said Steve Brown, Site Director, Qualfon Cebu.
PBSP is a corporate-led social development enterprise committed to poverty reduction with various programs in environment, health, education, and livelihood. Since 1989, the program has restored forest cover to approximately 5,000 hectares. In the last three years, PBSP’s partnerships have yielded 720 hectares of reforestation with 85% survival rate.
Qualfon is a mission-driven BPO company and a global provider of contact center services and back-office processing. With experienced BPO leadership and a strong track record of business growth dating back to our founding in 1995, Qualfon helps companies reduce costs and deliver superior customer experiences. Today, we have approximately 12,000 employees serving international brands across many industries, and our intelligent outsourcing locations span the United States, the Philippines, Guyana S.A., and Mexico. Qualfon’s mission to “Be the Best BPO, Make People’s Lives Better” means we invest in our people and, in return, they take better care of you and your customers. Qualfon’s employee retention regularly exceeds the industry average, which creates a people-driven value chain: Our employees stay longer, providing you a higher quality service at a lower price.