Lotte Group gives back with social contribution activities
On Oct. 3, Lotte Group held the “Korea United as One Concert” at the Lotte Concert Hall in Jamsil-dong, southern Seoul, to commemorate Armed Forces Day in Korea. More than 2,000 veterans as well as war-bereaved families were invited.
The concert featured Rossini’s “William Tell” Overture as well as the fourth movement of Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, popularly known as the “New World Symphony.” The pieces were performed by the KBS Symphony Orchestra, one of the country’s most famous orchestras, with Adriel D. Kim as the conductor. Soprano Kang Hye-jung and tenor Jin Sung-won performed renditions of Korean classics like “Onward to the Land of Hope” and “Longing for Mt. Geumgang.”
Lotte Group is also taking active steps to create a better society for the disabled. The company kicked off its “Super Blue Campaign” in November 2014 to combat prejudice against the disabled. The campaign uses cobalt blue shoelaces as its symbol, with the color representing hope and the act of tying one’s own shoe representing independence. The campaign encourages people to wear blue shoelaces to express their support for disabled people and pass on the spirit of independence, sharing and consideration.
This year, Lotte held its second “Super Blue Marathon Competition” on Oct. 8, where both able-bodied and disabled people ran together in hopes of ridding society of prejudice and misconceptions about the disabled.
Lotte Group is also supporting the dreams of autistic children, collaborating with Autistar this year to design covers for the company magazine that staff and executives subscribe to every month. Autistar, which stands for Autism Special Talents and Rehabilitation, is a social enterprise that helps autistic youth realize their dreams of becoming designers.
Lotte included the work of Autistar designers in the January to October issues of its company magazine and plans to cooperate with Autistar on the November issue as well.
In addition to working with autistic youth, Lotte Group has been running support activities for mothers under its “Easy Mom” program since 2014. Two of the program’s mainstays include “Easy Mom Co-parenting Sharing Centers” and “Easy Mom’s Healing Time.”
Easy Mom Co-parenting Sharing Centers provide a safe and comfortable space for the children of military families stationed on the front lines. In 2013, the first co-parenting sharing center was opened at the 15th Infantry Division of Cheorwon County in Gangwon. Since then, Lotte has opened centers at five military sites including Baengnyeong Island on the front line of the Yellow Sea.
Lotte Group plans to cooperate with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family to provide 1 billion won ($890,000) through the end 2016 to build a total of 12 sharing centers.
And with Easy Mom’s Healing Time, Lotte recognizes how mothers engaging in social work with marginalized people do not have much time to spend with their own children. The program encourages these working moms to take time off and spend it with their families.
The first iteration of Easy Mom’s Healing Time provided 300 social workers and their children with personal development education as well as cultural and leisure activities. Lotte plans to further support the program with 1 billion won for the next 5 years, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
Lotte Group’s social contribution activities extend to online as well. Last May, the company held a giveaway on its Facebook page called the “Lotte Pleasure Box Campaign,” handing out boxes full of baby products to 1,800 single mothers across the country.
Since its first iteration in July 2013, the Pleasure Box campaign has supplied goods to various people, including visually impaired children, multicultural families, senior citizens who live alone, children living in poverty, children who have suffered from abuse and children with cancer.
Affiliates of Lotte have participated in various social contribution activities independent of the group as well.
Lotte Confectionery is currently running a campaign called the “Doctor Xylitol Bus,” in which a team of professional dentists from the Korean Dental Association travels to areas in need of dental service and provides free check-ups and teeth cleaning.
Hotel Lotte is cooperating with the nonprofit Future Forest on its “Think Nature” campaign to plant trees in the Ordos Desert in China’s Inner Mongolia to prevent further desertification.
The desert is the closest one to Korea and one of the main reasons for the country’s yellow dust phenomenon. The Ordos Desert, which was originally grassland up until the 1950s, underwent quick desertification to become the world’s ninth-largest desert today.
Hotel Lotte is also supporting Future Forest by reducing laundry expenses at their hotels and donating the saved money. Guests staying in a room for more than two nights can indicate their preference to reuse sheets and towels to save on cleaning.
BY YANG SE-YOUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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