A. S. Watson Group
A.S. Watson has launched Project LOL which focus to serve the community under three areas of service – Health, Education & Caring Community, which are highly relevant to the company’s expertise and the needs of community
INTRODUCTIONASW’s history of corporate social responsibility (CSR) began in the 1800s, when ASW provided free medicine to the needy in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong. During the 1870-80s when quality health service was still a luxury, the company started one of the first medical scholarships to further the development of public healthcare in Hong Kong. Dr Sun Yat–sen, the renowned politician and revolutionist in China, was one of our scholarship beneficiaries when he came to Hong Kong to study medicine.
With such deep roots in CSR, ASW decided to celebrate the Group’s 175th Anniversary together with the community by serving the ones in need – to make this important milestone a meaningful one, not only to the company, but also to the people in its 25 operating markets.Therefore, ASW launched Project LOL, a philanthropy programme that aims to bring “Lots Of Love, Lots Of Laughs” to people in Hong Kong and the rest of the world.
FRAMEWORK AND STRATEGYTo strengthen this CSR project, ASW has grouped its social responsibility initiatives under three main areas of service – Health, Education and Caring Community, which are highly relevant to its expertise and the needs of community.
All of the businesses in Asia and around the world plan CSR activities according to these 3 directions, serving under the same name Project LOL, to ensure our expertise is creating synergy in the generation of shared values to the societies.
A website (projectlol.aswatson.com) was setup to share the best practices with CSR practitioners in every country, and non-profit organisations can also send enquiries or request monetary support for their programmes. In April 2016, the digital campaign “WeSmile” (projectlol.aswatson.com/wesmile) was launched to encourage volunteers to upload their photos with smiling faces after service. The system will then rate their smiles and volunteers can pass-on the positive energy to their friends on social media in the form of a smiling photo on Facebook.
ACHIEVEMENT AND IMPACTSince the Project’s inception in 2015, ASW has organized more than 100 volunteer activities and sponsored over HK$47 million in the form of monetary and in-kind donations to programmes to meet the needs of the communities in its 25 operating markets.
On 17 April 2016, a highlight volunteer activity was organized with over 1,300 volunteers recruited internally and also from business partners – serving as a role-model within Hong Kong corporations to foster the culture of volunteerism. Under the programme, the participants visited 1,750 single elderly people in a single day, spreading warmth to the senior citizens.
To make volunteering more enjoyable, ASW partnered with famous YouTubers to prepare a fun video to brief volunteers the Dos and Don’ts in visiting singleton elderlies. The response was overwhelming with over 160,000 views within one week and it became one of the Top Trending Videos on YouTube in Hong Kong.
In view of the huge success of its community initiatives, Project LOL quickly enabled ASW to become a partner of HKSAR Government’s “Appreciate Hong Kong” programme which is aimed at nurturing a caring and appreciative culture in the local community. This is an honorable and encouraging recognition to an organization in the private sector to serve as a role model for more companies in the region to contribute towards community service.
FUTURE DIRECTIONProject LOL is a long-term social empowerment programme, far more than just an one-off campaign. Many business units within ASW have already embraced the programme and initiated their own programmes under Project LOL in Asia and Europe.
ASW encourages dialogues and continuous exchanges with NGOs to further enrich the services offered, so that the company can fine-tune what it does to better suit the needs of the community.
ASW has also set up a fund to offer financial assistance for meaningful programmes, making the programme sustainable financially even for its smaller operations in Asia.
Established in 1841, A.S. Watson (ASW) has long been supporting corporate social responsibility. In its early days, ASW had provided free medicine to the needy and set up one of the first medical scholarships in Hong Kong. Marking its 175th Anniversary, ASW has launched a philanthropy programme Project LOL to bring everyone “Lots Of Love, Lots Of Laughs”.