08
Apr

CSR Retreat Latin America | 2014

The first CSR Retreat in Latin America was held from 8 to 10 April at Club Transatlantico in Sao Paulo, Brazil. About 40 sustainability and C-level professionals of Emerging Market Multinationals (EMMs) from Brazil, Chile and Mexico as well as the USA, Japan, Germany, and France gathered to discuss global and regional sustainability trends and their linkages with sustainable business model innovation of EMMs.

The objectives of the CSR retreat – Latin America were to learn about current challenges in the field of corporate sustainability/ CSR in Latin America, to share experiences and best practices among the attendants for sustainability in companies and their supply chain, to share tools and methods that enable participants to become more effective agents of change, and to identify possible approaches to sustainability challenges, together with GIZ and the other network members.

The retreat featured a combination of expert inputs, live case studies as well as plenary sessions and small group discussions with a thematic focus on supply chain management and stakeholder engagement.

Main Themes

Discussions centred on the need to re-evaluate sustainability/ CSR within business as well as public policy making. Sustainability should be understood as an integral part of the business model of each EMM. Through a common agenda for sustainable business models the influence on public policy would become more effective.

Representatives of Gerdau, TOKS, and ABVTEX presented cases for value creation as a results of their sustainability efforts. In addition, Grupo Boticario and BRF Foods shared lessons learned as well as challenges regarding supply chain management and sustainable procurement. Participants recommended introducing specific criteria to select and assess strategic suppliers along with chain certification in order to competently monitor every part of the chain.

Case studies by AES and Brasil Votorantim served as examples to showcase to stakeholder and community engagement. During discussions, the participants identified the challenges, solutions and critical success factors for effective stakeholder engagement. These included the focus on communicating mutual gains with stakeholders, capacity building and organizing specific commitments through contracts.

Using the Design Thinking methodology, the participants matched possible follow-up projects with innovative solutions to the challenges pointed out during the retreat.

All participants were invited to a Gala Dinner with Beatriz Gerdau, Vice-President of Gerdau Institute, and Rainer Müller, Deputy Consul General of Germany.

Recommendations and Outlook

During the retreat first proposals for collective actions and joint projects were jointly developed and are now being implemented.

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