News & Media

Corporate partners with community goals

By: Mick Bourke

  12.00 AM 13 March, 2010

Views: 10121

The days of businesses existing solely to turn a profit are now a lengthening shadow into the past. From multinational, billion dollar enterprises to locally owned and operated small businesses, we are now in an era when Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities are a critical feature of corporations both locally and abroad.

CSR refers to the practice of including the community's interests in corporate decision making. Often, it is associated with offsetting the environmental impacts of particular businesses' activities, but it can include a variety of corporate initiatives that ultimately benefit the public.

At CFA, we feel the benefits of CSR through, among other things, our rich history of partnerships with commercial organisations that want to join us in preparing and protecting communities across Victoria. We welcome them and continue to seek their growth. They will remain part of our make-up as we strengthen and build our organisation into the future. While these corporations ultimately exist to do business, they are run by people whose vision and community conscience have brought them into partnership with CFA. They come to us asking what we need and, where they can, they meet that need for the good of the community.

Bendigo Bank has been supporting local brigades for years. We're working together to build on and expand that relationship as Bendigo Bank actively looks for opportunities to support more brigades and CFA members through its CSR activities. RACV has been a consistent and generous corporate supporter while Independent Grocers of Australia (IGA) and Ritchies are also longstanding friends, with IGA approaching its tenth year of official partnership with CFA brigades.

The Myer Foundation last year donated $2 million to allow 485 CFA brigades to have water tanks installed at their stations. The foundation saw CFA as an ideal vehicle to make a contribution to the environment and build back into the communities our brigades serve.

Our partnership with AFL Victoria enters its second year in 2010 as new relationships continue to emerge. Last month we launched the Westpac Firewatch aircraft, which features first-of-its-kind technology that will soon stream images directly to on-the-ground fire controllers. Westpac also sponsored the ‘Spirit of CFA' painting, which is an extraordinary visual representation of CFA's past achievements and ongoing focus on the future.

This is just a selection of the companies CFA partners with and I want to stress that while these partnerships are extremely beneficial, we will remain selective in deciding whose logo sits alongside our own. We will continue to work exclusively with businesses that have genuine and committed CSR goals. We owe that to the Victorian community.

I'll cite one more example of a partnership that I think well encapsulates who we want to be aligned with.

Toll Holdings recently donated $475,309.75 to help us purchase and refurbish District Mechanical Officer vehicles. After Black Saturday, Toll employees and their families and friends began a fundraising drive for CFA and Toll matched the donations they raised. The end result was nearly half a million dollars going straight to CFA from a large organisation.

And it was the people in that organisation who made it happen. Strength and character in the ranks, if you like. Sounds a bit like us, and like a fitting partner for CFA.

This piece also appears in the March edition of The Fireman.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015