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Meeting local needs 2

Case study of the book Social and environmental responsibility, 2006

Vincent Commenne, 2006

Petrobas (Brazil)

The Brasileiro Petróleo S.A. Company (Petrobras) was created in 1953 in order to operate in the Brazilian oil sector. During its fifty-year existence, it has become a leading company in distribution of oil derivatives which put it among the twenty biggest oil companies in the world.

Petrobras is a public company which aims to account to Brazilian society. The company or business corporation demonstrates to its shareholders and to the population the transparency of its activities. It committed itself to respect the principles of social responsibility and incorporated the fundamental concepts of human rights, workers’ rights and environmental protection. It also joined Global Compact, one of the most important corporative responsibility forces in the world. The company created a new behavior framework in the social responsibility area when in 2003 it implemented two new important and wide-ranging programs: the No Hunger Petrobras Program, which aims to strengthen public policies to fight against poverty; and the Environment Petrobras Program, in favor of sustainable development.

The company also carries out more than a thousand projects all over the country, with the direct participation of communities.

Arcor Business Group (Argentina)

The Arcor Group was created in 1951 and has its head office in Cordoba. It is an Argentinean multinational company which produces more than 1,500 varieties of candies, chocolates, cookies and other food. Arcor has 31 factories (3 in Chile, 2 in Brazil, 1 in Peru and 25 in Argentina) and more than 13,000 workers. It exports its products to more than a hundred countries. The Arcor Foundation was created in 1991, as an expression of the commitment and social responsibility inherited from the company’s founders, in order to contribute in an organic and cooperative way to the treatment and meeting of the population’s needs.

Arcor is aware of the role played by a company in society. It therefore carries out initiatives and contributions of all kinds, such as the construction of houses for its workers, and activities in terms of health, education and culture, mainly developed through the Arcor Foundation. The company understands that concern for non-renewable resources and the protection of environment is “an investment in the long-term for the welfare of all the world’s citizens.”

The Peru 2021 Consortium (Peru)

Peru 2021 is a not-for-profit civil organization, created in 1994 by a group of businessmen who wanted to commit themselves to the country and its future. For them, CSR has three goals: the improvement of society, the improvement of the community in which it is established, and the company’s own profits. Social responsibility incorporates philanthropic behavior, the necessity to be sure of the loyalty of the community in which the company carries out its activities, the search for increasing work productivity and the interest in permanent and steady profits over time. CSR is a new way of business management.” In summary, the Peru 2021 Consortium’s goals are:

  • become a leader in the CSR field, through campaigns and educational actions led by Peruvian businessmen, the creation of Peruvian CSR ratings, and the promotion of its proposals in events and books;

  • raise the national collective self-esteem, through participative dialogue and compiling and widely circulating information on successful initiatives;

  • support education and childhood, through strategic alliances with specialized organizations in that field. Widespread dissemination of the long-term vision of the country, as described above.

Mondragon (Spain), a visionary European cooperative

With a population of 40,000, Mondragon is a small town in the Basque region of Spain. It has seen outstanding development over the past fifty years and is hailed worldwide as an example of successful local development. The process started in 1943 when Basque priest Father José Maria Arizmendiarrieta founded a technical school there that took in youngsters from all over the region. In 1956 five of the school’s young graduates established the first production units in Mondragon of what was to become the current cooperative. The Caja Laboral Popular credit cooperative was formed in 1959 – this was a true cooperative bank and proved to be the cornerstone for all future cooperatives that became part of the Mondragon experiment. The foundations for the success of the Mondragon group were now all in place. Subsequently, the number of cooperatives grew constantly. Today, almost half a century after its foundation, both in terms of sales and the number of workers, Mondragon Corporación Cooperativa (MMC) is the largest business corporation in the Basque region, and the seventh largest in Spain.

The enterprises that together comprise the Mondragon conglomeration are mostly formed as cooperatives. In the Basque region, this model focuses on the following values: free to join, democratically organized, primacy of labor, subordination of capital, participatory management (one person one vote), equitable wages (the salary band is 30% narrower than in the market sector), intercooperation (mutual assistance with other cooperatives), social transformation, universality (societal solidarity) and education.

MCC is an employment success story. The 66,500-strong workforce is constantly growing. Its 168 enterprises (half of them cooperatives) also witness continuous growth in sales, with 1997’s 2,067 million euros rising to 4,049 million by 2002. At present, growth is driven primarily by international developments.

ABS-CBN Foundation Inc. (Philippines), educational television channel

Other than producing widely-watched educational programs, such as science programs, the company involved itself in the Bantay Bata 163 (Child Watch), a 24-hour hotline and child abuse intervention program. The media channels of the company were used to advertise the hotline number and provide other programming to make the public aware of its services. People could call in for intervention in the case of child abuse. The program was extremely successful and overwhelmed by calls in its first year of operation; Bantay Bata has evolved from a media-based hotline to an integrated child protection system combining rescue, medical care and rehabilitation, shelter and aftercare, provided by social workers and other trained and licensed professionals.

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