Commitment to Social Responsibility
In a particularly adverse context, stemming from the unexpected pandemic crisis that ravaged the world in 2020, José de Mello and the main platforms and business units of José de Mello Group pursued their commitment to developing a socially responsible corporate activity in the 2020 financial year, adapting their usual initiatives and developing specific actions to respond to the challenges and specific needs that arose within the scope of COVID-19.
José de Mello Group’s Volunteer Programme, one of the most important initiatives of cross-cutting social responsibility, celebrated its ninth year in 2020.
The pandemic affected the volunteers’ usual activity; however, maintaining strict compliance with the guidelines in force, a few volunteers continued their collaboration with partner entities, in accordance with their stated needs. The “Volunteer Day” event, which brings together programme participants and representatives of partner entities every year in a very special day of interaction, did not take place.
The Volunteer Programme had, in 2020, the participation of 427 volunteers, from all subsidiary companies, former employees and members of the José de Mello family, having consolidated the connection to its network of 14 partner entities: Associação Coração Amarelo, Centro Comunitário da Galiza, Centro Comunitário da Paróquia de Carcavelos, Obra do Frei Gil, Movimento de Defesa da Vida, Junior Achievement Portugal, Bebés de São João, Associação dos Albergues Nocturnos do Porto, Refood, Banco Alimentar, Entrajuda, Centro Comunitário de São Cirilo, Vida Norte and Santa Casa de Misericórdia de Santarém (the last three joining in 2020).
To validate the performance strategy that has served as the basis for the Volunteer Programme, evaluation surveys were once more conducted among volunteers and partner institutions. The results obtained reflected a high level of satisfaction among volunteers on the one hand, and a very positive social impact on the field on the other hand.
Also transversal to the entire José de Mello Group, the “Sponsorship Tree” initiative, whose goal is to raise awareness among employees for the offering of a Christmas gift to children in need, was again a great success in 2020, sponsoring all 885 children under the age of 15 from 11 institutions: Centro Juvenil Comunitário Padre Amadeu Pinto, Casa de Proteção e Amparo de Santo António, Regaço Materno – Centro Social Paroquial Padre Ricardo Gameiro, Centro Comunitário da Galiza, Sociedade de São Vicente de Paulo, Centro Paroquial do Estoril, Associação Projeto Alkantara, Vida Norte, CC São Cirilo and Centro Social e Paroquial de Algueirão Mem Martins.
A third cross-cutting social responsibility initiative of great importance is the Ser Solidário project, the successor to the Natal Solidário project, which ran from 2002 to 2007. These projects have jointly made it possible to gather support amounting to over 784,000 euros so far, benefiting multiple social welfare institutions.
This project ensures employee involvement, through the donation of a minimum of one euro from their monthly salary, while also giving them the opportunity, at the end of the year, to vote on the institutions that they would like to see benefitted.
In the 2020 edition, ATM, Bondalti, CUF, José de Mello and José de Mello Residências e Serviços awarded financial support of four thousand euros to each of the institutions chosen by the employees: Associação Novo Futuro, Associação Humanitária de Salreu and Renascer – Centro de Acolhimento Temporário de Crianças em Risco.
A fourth cross-cutting social responsibility initiative of great significance, developed by the Amélia de Mello Foundation (AMF), is the scholarship programme for undergraduate and master’s courses, intended for children of employees of José de Mello Group companies.
In the 2020/2021 academic year, 20 scholarships for Bachelor’s Degrees and nine scholarships for Master’s Degrees were awarded to the children of employees of ATM, Bondalti, Brisa and CUF.
The D. Manuel de Mello and Pedro Maria José de Mello Costa Duarte scholarships were also awarded in 2020, the first for young doctors who develop clinical research projects and the second focusing on rewarding and promoting research projects and studies on Angelman’s syndrome.
In 2020, and within the scope of Amélia de Mello Foundation’s activity, special mention should be made of the launch, on 30 June, of a vast programme commemorating the 150th anniversary of the birth of Alfredo da Silva, CUF Group’s founder, which will come to an end on 30 June 2021, the birthday of the man who is considered the greatest Portuguese industrialist of the 20th century.
Over the course of a year, involving academia and schools, the plan of initiatives promotes the organisation of 13 thematic conferences, a creative competition aimed at young students from primary, secondary and professional schools, with the high patronage of the President of the Republic, the award of three scientific prizes, the development of studies and research works, the making of a video documentary about the life and work of Alfredo da Silva and the issue of commemorative stamps by CTT.
The Summer Camp for employees’ children, usually taking place between June and August, did not take place in 2020 due to the constraints imposed by the pandemic.
In 2020, José de Mello renewed its participation in the Timely Payment Commitment, an initiative of the Christian Association of Entrepreneurs and Managers (ACEGE – Associação Cristã de Empresários e Gestores) with the participation of over 1,200 companies and organisations strongly committed to promoting payments within the agreed deadlines. This commitment attests that José de Mello complies with its payments to suppliers without delay.
José de Mello also promoted an appeal to consign 0.5% of employees’ income tax in favour of one of the partner organisations of the Volunteer Programme or the Amélia de Mello Foundation.
It should also be noted that José de Mello supported social institutions, namely Comunidade Vida e Paz, Banco Alimentar Contra a Fome and Centro Comunitário da Galiza.
The end of the year saw the donation of 12 million euros by José de Mello Group and by the José de Mello family to Universidade Católica Portuguesa (UCP), which at the time was the biggest donation made to a university in Portugal.
This donation seeks to support the construction of the new Veritati Campus, which will include, among others, a new building for the premises of the Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, to be called the “José Manuel de Mello Building”, and materialised the purpose of reinforcing the role of university institutions in the training of qualified young people who can make their contribution to Portugal’s development.
José de Mello also gave ten thousand euros, at the end of the year, to Federação Portuguesa pela Vida, within the scope of a campaign against the approval of the decriminalisation and legalisation of euthanasia.
José de Mello Group’s main platforms and business units carried out, within the scope of their business activity, a large number of important social responsibility actions during the 2020 financial year.
In Annual Report 2020
Voluntary Service Scheme
Set up in 2011, with the support of Foundation Amélia de Mello, the Voluntary service scheme is based on a clear commitment to a socially responsible company, following on in the tradition of the former CUF group.
Under this Scheme over four hundred employees and Members of the José de Mello family place their skills at the service of a common cause thereby positively contributing to the local community, besides donations, sponsorships and patronage programmes.
“Ser Solidário” Project
Set up in 2007, the “Ser Solidário” (Show Solidarity) Project is based on the large-scale involvement of the José de Mello Group’s employees by making donations to charities of their choice.
Under this scheme, employees who join up donate at least 1 euro of their monthly salary to a charity of their choice.
The subsidiaries they work for matches each euro donated and hands over the total amount to the chosen institution on an annual basis.
Following on in the family tradition of the former CUF group, since 2001 the José de Mello group offers summer camps to the children of its employees aged between 7 and 17. From 2001 to 2019, more than 1650 children of employees of shared companies attended the José de Mello group summer camps.
Amélia de Mello Foundation
The Amélia de Mello (FAM) Foundation was set up in October 1964 at the behest of D. Manuel de Mello, in homage to his wife, daughter of Alfredo da Silva, with the chief objective of continuing the social work of the CUF group.
The FAM has strong connections to the companies managed by the heirs of its founder, namely the José de Mello group and the Group Nutrinveste Sovena, but it is independently managed and governed.
FAM’s operations consist mainly in awarding scholarships and supporting clinical, medical and human science research.
In partnership with the José de Mello group, the FAM has an annual scholarships scheme for Bachelor and Masters degrees intended for the employees’ children, besides supporting the Voluntary Service Scheme, scholarships and awards for clinical research, innovation and charities.