Korea Life ahead of curve in CSR
By Kim Tae-jong
While corporate social responsibility (CSR) has become an overused term in the business sector in recent years, Korea Life Insurance could say it was ahead of the curve by several years.
The company has operated an employee volunteer program since 2004. It now has more than 5,000 workers from its headquarters regularly involved in charity and community work, which is also participated in by 20,000 of its financial planners and sales personnel.
These people are divided in 11 groups and 151 sub-divisions committed to different activities. Their CSR schemes are dedicated to help low-income earners and the socially underprivileged.
``The groups, which we call our volunteer corps, regularly visit hospitals and elderly care centers. Many of these facilities are now sister organizations of our company and are provided with regular help,’’ said a Korea Life Insurance official.
``Members of our volunteer corps are also assigned to help officials in emergencies, including participating in recovery work after flash floods during the summer monsoon season.’’
The company has reacted quickly to different needs at communities. They helped residents in Dongducheon, Gyeonggi Province, after their villages were devastated by flash floods last summer. And when farmers at the Gangwon Province city of Taebaek city suffered from a drought in the spring of 2009, they donated more than 12,000 bottles of drinking water to local communities. The neighboring town of Yangyang was helped after a massive forest fire caused massive property damages in 2005.
According to Korea Life Insurance officials, the company encourages every employee to devote at least 1 percent of their working hours on community work, which roughly calculates to 20 hours a year. And since 2004, Korea Life Insurance employees have been donating small proportions of their monthly salaries to the company’s ``Sarangmoa’’ charity fund. The fund, in which employee donations are matched by corporate funds, reached nearly 7 billion won as of last month.
The 64-year-old life insurance company believes that not only do such the corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs offer noble opportunities to help those in need, but the volunteer work also helps the insurer build a greater sense of unity and allows it to share love with the community. Lectures on community work are part of the company’s employee training programs starting from first-year workers.
Well-know CSR programs of Korea Life Insurance include the ``Happy Friends Campaign’’ and ``Youth Volunteer Program,’’ both dedicated to helping and influencing young people through a variety of education programs and community works.
The company’s Mecenat program is committed to supporting cultural activities. The company’s ``Eleven O’ Clock Concert,’’ which takes place at 11 a.m. on the second Thursday of every month at the Seoul Art Center, stands out particularly. The company also organizes numerous cultural events for those in rural areas who tend to lack relevant facilities.