In Itaipava, Brazil, Nilcinea Oliveira saw a TV report about how to turn used cooking oil into soap and a light went on in her head.
Fishing was the main industry in this seaside town and the exclusive province of men; women had few opportunities to earn income. But Oliveira thought that if she could produce household cleaning products from her own recycled cooking oil, she could create a more secure future for her family while protecting the environment. The prospects, however, were dim. “Nobody was interested in helping,” she recalls
Well, not nobody. With a microgrant from the Community Inclusion Project, which trains women in small business development, Oliveira was able to get her business up and running. The Project is one of scores of women’s empowerment initiatives supported by Chevron Corporation throughout Latin America.
With roots that go back to the 1800s, Chevron today operates in 180 countries on six continents. “In our region, women play a vital role in almost every household and in contributing to local economies,” says Patricia Serrano, Policy, Government & Public Affairs general manager for Chevron’s Latin American Business unit “The women’s empowerment programs we support generate sustainable economic opportunities that benefit low-income families, foster gender equality and positively affect future generations.”
For Chevron, female empowerment through entrepreneurship is just one of a vast, global array of social priorities it pursues through philanthropy, local partnerships and hands-on support, from multimillion-dollar regional projects in the developing world to microloans that sustain and support small businesses.
Since 2008, for example, the company has contributed more than $60 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in Africa and the Pacific Rim. In locations as diverse as Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh and Appalachia, Chevron has supported initiatives in education, public health, infrastructure, sustainability and economic development. And in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty, Chevron provided $50 million to improve socioeconomic conditions. All told, the company has contributed more than $1 billion to global social investments over the past six years.
In the first chaotic months of the pandemic, Chevron units in the U.S. and worldwide acted quickly to mobilize employee volunteers, provide needed funding, and deliver personal protective equipment, sanitizer, medical equipment and other vital supplies to local communities. In Singapore, the company orchestrated the delivery of food to over 28,000 migrant workers confined for weeks in dormitories to slow the spread of the virus. In the Riau province of Indonesia, where caseloads were outpacing health care capacity, Chevron delivered 75 desperately needed patient beds to medical facilities in three different cities.
In Chevron, Carpenter Group sees a global energy giant acting on the recognition that its size, financial strength and geographic reach carry a responsibility beyond the remit of smaller companies. “We have learned through decades of experience that our business success is deeply linked to society’s progress,” says the Chevron website. “And it is built upon long-term and mutually beneficial relationships that contribute to local economies.”
Perhaps there is no more telling evidence of that commitment than the success of Nilcinea Oliveira’s company which started with an idea sparked by a TV program. Today it employs 19 women and produces a full line of cleaning products.
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About Brand Acts of Kindness®
Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.
The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.
About Carpenter Group
Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.
Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.