Commitment to Social Responsibility
José de Mello and the Group’s main platforms and business units reinforced, in the 2019 financial year, the commitment to pursue their business activities in a sustainable and socially responsible manner.
This includes José de Mello Group’s Volunteer Programme, one of the most important initiatives of cross-cutting social responsibility, which celebrated its eighth year in 2019.
Currently with the participation of over 370 volunteers, from all subsidiary companies, former employees and members of the José de Mello family, the Volunteer Programme consolidated, in the last financial year, the connection to its network of partner entities: Coração Amarelo Association, Galiza Community Centre, Carcavelos Parish Community Centre, Obra do Frei Gil, Movimento de Defesa da Vida, Junior Achievement Portugal, Bebés de São João, Associação dos Albergues Nocturnos do Porto, Refood, and entered into two new partnerships, with Banco Alimentar (Food Bank) and Entrajuda.
To validate the performance strategy that has been serving as the basis for the Volunteer Programme, evaluation surveys were once more carried out among the volunteers and partner institutions. The results obtained reflected, on one hand, a high level of satisfaction among volunteers, and on the other hand, a very positive social impact on the ground.
The 2019 edition of the Volunteer’s Day took place on 20 September, at the facilities of Agromais, in Riachos, and had as its main objective the collection of potatoes that would otherwise remain in the ground without purpose. The result of this ancestral activity [known in Portugal as “restolho” (stubble)] – over 3.5 metric tons of potatoes – was sent to families in need supported by Banco Alimentar in Santarém district. This initiative resulted in a unique moment of interaction and sharing which gathered, for the eighth consecutive year, over 100 volunteers from the companies of the José de Mello Group. On a different note, also cross-cutting the entire José de Mello Group, Árvore do Apadrinhamento (Sponsorship Tree) – an initiative whose goal is to encourage employee’s to offer children in need a Christmas gift – was again a great success in 2019.
In the last financial year, all 473 referred children, under 15 years of age, were sponsored, from the Centro Juvenil Comunitário Padre Amadeu Pinto (Padre Amadeu Pinto Community Youth Centre), Casa de Proteção e Amparo de Santo António, Associação Humanitária de Salreu (Salreu Humanitarian Association), Regaço Materno – Centro Social Paroquial Padre Ricardo Gameiro (Padre Ricardo Gameiro Parish Social Centre), Galiza Community Centre, Sociedade de São Vicente de Paulo and Estoril Parish Centre.
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 772,000 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 2019 edition, ATM, Bondalti, José de Mello, José de Mello Residências e Serviços and José de Mello Saúde awarded financial support of 4,000 euros to each of the institutions chosen by the employees: Congregação das Irmãzinhas dos Pobres, a CERCIDIANA and Cónego Filipe de Figueiredo Foundation.
In the case of Brisa, the most voted institutions, as well as the support to be granted, will only be known at the end of the first half of 2020.
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 the Group’s employees children.
In the 2019/2020 school year, twelve scholarships for undergraduate degrees and five scholarships for master’s degrees were granted to seventeen employee’s children candidates, from Brisa, Bondalti and José de Mello Saúde.
Also worth mentioning are the 2019 editions of the D. Manuel de Mello and Pedro Maria José de Mello Costa Duarte scholarships, the first for young doctors who develop clinical research projects and the second focusing on rewarding and promoting research projects and studies on Angelman syndrome.
Also regarding the activity of the Amélia de Mello Foundation in 2019, a Scholarship Programme (Undergraduate Degree or Integrated Master’s Degree) was created, in collaboration with the Council for Sustainable Development of the Vila Franca de Xira Hospital, for young people residing in the hospital’s area of influence.
This programme, which in its first edition granted a total of eight scholarships, covers the payment of tuition fees and other student expenses during the expected time to complete the studies.
A fifth cross-cutting social responsibility initiative is the Holiday Camp, held annually and which, in 2019, took place between 29 June and 17 August, with a total of 157 participants, children of employees of Bondalti, Brisa, José de Mello and José de Mello Saúde.
In addition to these five broad ranging initiatives with employees, for the sixth consecutive year, José de Mello, in its capacity as a controlling company for José de Mello Group, promoted an internal initiative to publicise the “Pirilampo Mágico” solidarity campaign, whose intent is to support the various CERCIs and fellow organisations in raising public awareness for the right to equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
In 2019, 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.
It is also important to point out that José de Mello has supported multiple social welfare institutions, namely Comunidade Vida e Paz (Life and Peace Community), the Factory of Parish Church of the Parish of Nossa Senhora da Piedade and the Ageas Foundation, a corporate social solidarity organisation.
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.
In the context of their business activity, the main platforms and business units of the José de Mello Group – Bondalti, Brisa, José de Mello Residências e Serviços and José de Mello Saúde – have undertaken a broad set of important social responsibility actions throughout the 2019 financial year.
In Annual Report 2019
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.