El Al plane 248, 88.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
FOLLOWING MORE than a year and a half of negotiations, a collective work agreement was signed this week by El Al, the Histadrut Labor Federation and the El Al Workers Union. The agreement, which will remain in force until the end of 2012, was signed by El Al chairman Izzy Borovich, El Al CEO Haim Romano, Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini, attorney Avi Edery and El Al Workers Union chairman Yossi Levy. Romano said the new agreement represented an important step in cooperation, understanding and intention to advance the company toward unprecedented accomplishments and success. He lauded the workers' representatives for conducting the negotiations in a responsible manner designed to defend their own interests without harming the operations of the company.
THE GLOBAL economic crisis and the slump on the Japanese Stock Exchange did not prevent a 250-member delegation from Nikken Sohonsha, one of the largest producers of natural health products and cosmetics, from visiting Israel. Nikken Sohonsha has quite a long association with various medical research institutes in Israel and also has a branch of its enterprise in Eilat. The company makes a point of bringing large incentive groups to Israel, and its delegations this year and last year met with President Shimon Peres and discussed the possibilities of enhancing relations between Israel and Japan on a number of levels.
Led by Nikken Sohonsha president Nobuo Mori, the delegation also visited Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, where it participated in the inauguration of a 3.5-kilometer promenade that circles the entire medical complex. The promenade is for the use of patients and their families, hospital employees, pupils from schools in the area and soldiers from the nearby army base who can also benefit from the physical fitness equipment that has been installed along its route.
Visits to Israel by Nikken Sohonsha delegations invariably include tree-planting ceremonies and this visit was no exception. Members of the delegation planted trees alongside the promenade together with Sheba director Prof. Ze'ev Rotstein and Prof. Dror Haratz, head of the Institute of Lipid and Atherosclerosis Research.
Nikken Sohonsha is engaged with Sheba researchers in studying the effects of carotene-rich powder of the alga Dunaliella bardawil on cholesterol levels. Nikken Sohonsha processes Dunaliella in its plant in Eilat.
IT MAY be sheer coincidence, but the arrival in Israel of Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, to address a conference sponsored by Maala-Business for Social Responsibility in Israel, which took place in Tel Aviv last week, prompted much greater visibility of his company's products in several Israeli supermarkets.
"The financial crisis shows that not being socially responsible is not working," Greenfield said in his address. "So many people in business want to do things differently but are told they can't do that. There is the assumption that if you try to be a caring business, it takes away from your ability to make money. Our experience is exactly the opposite. At Ben & Jerry's there is a spiritual aspect to business: As you give, you receive. Everyone is interconnected. As we help others, we can't help but be helped in return.
"At Ben & Jerry's, we decided to redefine the bottom line. We measured success not just by how much money we made, but how much we improved the quality of life in communities where we operated. We found ways to integrate social and environmental concerns into the day-to-day business, while enhancing the business. There is a spiritual aspect to businesses, just as there is to individuals."
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY has long been associated with the annual Cancer Research Knock-on-Door Campaign. Every year, a series of Israeli business leaders have undertaken to head the campaign and have set the ball rolling by contributing large sums of money. This year, the campaign was launched, as usual, at Beit Hanassi, with Chaim Katzman, the founder and chairman of Gazit Global, chairing the current campaign and contributing NIS 1 million.
Katzman said raising funds this year would be much more challenging than in the past because money is now so tight, but emphasized that any contribution would go toward helping thousands of cancer patients. He urged his colleagues in the business community to respond positively to approaches by the Israel Cancer Association and to give generously, despite the economic situation.
The campaign launch always includes the transfer of the campaign banner from the outgoing chairman to the incoming chairman. Katzman received the banner from Leon Recanati, who, like Katzman, is associated with numerous other social welfare projects.
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