Thank you very much.
To this, I’ll add a bit of the point, to say on the subject of education in which it involves the business issue. I think there is a saying that goes very ad hoc to what Nelson Mandela said: "If we want change, we must start with education."
So I think we have to start with the subject of training, the issue of educating, the issue of knowing where we are standing, what are our company’s issues; let us also ask the people, our employees what they want, what they expect too. But if the top managers of the company are not really 100% convinced of what Social Responsibility is, it will not permeate the information down.
So I think that there, we have to work hard on the subject of education; I do not know if we move on to the next question, to the next topic.
How can companies take actions on sustainable development, the issue of sustainable development, how is it that companies will take action? If you could talk to us a little bit, how do you think they are going to take action?
Yes. Ethics and the transparency are important in this [topic] of the environment, because often we are in the productive sector, we go only for the production, but we do not see in our interior what is being contaminated. This is important, and research is very important and that the whole environmental component is the axis of the company.
And the environmental component, what does it have? That which is working with our employees in an ethical, correct manner, setting an example and also irradiating it and being able to work and achieve that environmental footprint of our products, which comes beginning from extraction, production, and even the final disposal.
But I find that more than anything is the conscience and the making of a conscientious diagnosis in the company of what we can really do to not contaminate. And in that way we can socialize it with our employees for improvements, and with the community. It's very important.
María Silvia, your opinion on how companies work on the issue of sustainable development, how they could generate it.
I believe that the agricultural and agrofarming issue is a subject that will be valid as long as there is life on planet earth, and therefore the micro, small, medium, and large company, must recognize at this time (and those who already made it, it’s great they that already have made) that there is a need for impacts diagnostics.
We all generate impacts, but the most important thing is to have the capacity to identify which are manageable to be able to reduce, minimize or eliminate them in the event that this can occur.
I believe that in this sense it forms a fundamental part of the equation, the ministries of the environment or the environment secretariats of the States; because a single law or the signing of an agreement or certifying oneself with any certification that exists in the world, will not facilitate or will cause the productive chain in the clusters or in the productive chains.
And above all, all these changes require behavioral changes, changes in behavior in the human person. Having to learn the proper handling of waste, whatever these may be, in a mechanics workshop, in a beauty salon, in a hotel, in a boarding house, in a trade like ours which is agroindustry; you have to have those diagnoses that you mentioned and all that then implies three great ways to adopt that.
The first thing is that once we have the diagnoses, I have to develop the analysis of the country's policies and the commitments I have, if I export my products; second that there are institutional and union policies that give me the framework of behavior where, although there is rotation of people, **, is what today is called corporate governance, and that then allows for those rules and those norms to be instituted at any place where activities are carried out.
And the third one is measurement and permanent monitoring, evaluating all these metrics: Compliance, training, behaviors; mechanization, comes very hand in hand, circular economies, the collaborative economy, robotization. All this has to begin to also have social impacts; we will start to replace human beings and that creates, is part of sustainability.
So then, these are mechanisms that we must begin to see them as systems. The systemic approach is necessary to begin to address sustainability and sustainable agriculture within the management of business…
The topic of innovation, right?
Exactly. And the research and development, which is a fundamental part… I put maybe just the surname of research and development with a humanistic approach.
Thank you. Alejandro something that you can contribute to us on the panel topic.
I think we agree with these same aspects.
We have to manage social responsibility by aligning our policies, processes, procedures, because nowadays what is not measured and communicated is practically as if it did not exist. So in this intention to institutionalize, of transparency, of being open, is where we companies must be working.
But all companies; it’s not just a question of big companies. It also implies the development in the measure of the micro, small, and medium companies that must also be working in accordance with these national and international parameters that they may be managing nowadays; the multinationals.
That is why one of the responsibilities that must also exist in companies is working with their entire value chain: If I am socially responsible, I have to get involved with actors who have the same vision to be able to transform actions.
Social responsibility today is said to be fashionable, I think it has been a fashion that in Mexico has lasted more than 20 years, it is something that comes from the 50s, with this Howard Rothman Bowen, that presented about the license, the social audit, and that nowadays is something that is present and that has come to stay.
Within that same vision we have the concept that Social Responsibility is: “What you give, returns to you,” a virtuous circle where we are all under a vision of “win-win,” since there cannot be a successful company in a failed community.
And to close I would like to state that together we can change our world. It depends on us, whether we do it in a positive or negative manner. Yesterday the architect, Mauricio Méndez, mayor of San Pedro de La Laguna in Guatemala, mentioned that the visionaries called us crazy, but they also laughed at Julio Verne.
Well yes, an interesting metaphor, right?
From the Global Compact, how do they work on the issue of sustainable development? How is it that they handle the issue, the advice for companies, how they handle this issue?
Well, in general the Global Pact has mounted a whole ethical system, where 10 principles are mounted that somehow would mark then the topic of action of the companies.
As you know, companies are not… they do not have a body to imprison or a soul to condemn. In a way, they respond to other interests, to other expectations than those of people; and the United Nations of ‘99, when the recently deceased mister… I’ve got another name in the head… Mr. Kofi Annan.
So he then presented to the World Economic Forum of Davos a new pact for companies that propose a framework of ethical behavior; and somehow those who criticize then the social responsibility system somehow began to identify that social responsibility is a market response, a market response to a failure, an ethical failure; the ethical failure is in management decision making.
What is sought then, is for there to be another additional system, which we have not been able to solve, and that is in line with the expectations of the companies, and that they can respond to them only because of their own interest to continue remaining in the world.
And the Global Pact has proposed different management models where they begin to be included within strategic, tactical, and operational platforms and that they then begin to have a new process there, which then allows to take it to their stakeholders and all the close relationships so that they, in turn, can then also have that framework of behaviors; and if they, in turn do so in the end, we would then have a global economy framed in 10 principles centered on economic terms, labor terms, in terms of respect for human rights, and with transparency.
However, how… You should know that it is very important to recognize, social responsibility or corporate sustainability is a suboptimal solution; we cannot, with that kind of strategies, achieve the end of the impacts we have generate.
Maybe it is an additional step; we are not only giving away things with the money that we have left, but we are already identifying at least that we do generate impacts and that those impacts can be managed.
But we need a new era of innovation where everyone, without excluding anyone, can begin to identify what are those opportunities we have; the accountants are going to have to start working on new ways to measure the performance of the companies. Finding… I do not know… the accounting is made for short-term benefits and that is generating very serious problems for the whole world.
In addition, I don’t know… engineers are going to have to identify some mechanisms that can measure what are the impacts of organizations are more clearly; lawyers are going to have to look for some different laws that can then be put in order those who do not comply.
The same companies will have to identify within their organizations how they will be able to change their products, how they will be able to change the way they interact in organizations and how they will extract a quantity of resources that are necessary for their products without damaging the environment that belongs to all of us.
So in that sense, in my opinion, the United Nations has proposed an intermediate alternative, where it is proposed that it continue to grow, that the logic of economic growth remains, including aspects such as the environmental and social; based, of course, on the leadership in the commitment of the people that allow then, in the medium and long term, to find a solution that we could have, given that we can face situations, such as those in the 70s and that were mentioned this morning, some limits to growth. We are not prepared to limit growth but we cannot continue to grow in an unlimited way.
So the problem is in our hands and depending on how aware and on how identified we are with the site where we are currently standing, we can then build in a much more secure and much more concrete way, solutions that are much more effective to these challenges we have in this new centuries.
Very well, thank you very much.
I think also, with regards to the Global Pact, it is worth retouching that each of the objectives of the 10 principles and of the 17 objectives, there are 169 goals that surely each of you in your company are doing. It is only a manner of you all approaching experts and work on the topic of sustainable development objectives.
I am sure that you are impacting on one of the 17, but it is not really measurable because you are not reporting the issue of the objectives, right? Their actions are not aligned to the topic of the objectives.
Let’s turn t another question and I would like to start, Paty, again please, with the subject of the responsibility that the companies have in the topic of the care of the environment and eco-science, that is something important, right?
Eco-efficiency: I find that it is something that requires a lot of work and requires much research.
We already know, in this group, all the issues that exist, right? But we also have a number of companies that have certain contaminants or that have not followed their environmental footprint; that the environmental footprint is really knowing your product from extraction, how it is extracted, how it is produced, and the final disposal.
I find that this diagnosis is very important and that, already knowing the issue and having specialized people, something such as a count be done, of the contaminants by company sectors and what is the solution that we can give with research and with innovation, that the companies give. But I find that it is time to act and to give solutions that we can really see soon.
I think that approaching, in a timely manner, maybe organizations, universities, within their line of action of social responsibility, could be that, right? The issue of being able to link themselves; how to solve the issues that each company has.
It is very important. We, as an example, have to really empirically… we try to do all these things, but this gives us a guideline that we can approach and make a framework, to be able to transmit both to our customers, with that of environmental sustainability, as well as in the social aspect.
Very well. María Silvia, something that you can comment on the subject?
Could I say something about what my colleague said before?
Yes, of course, please.
I think that in the subject of the challenges that companies have today, regardless of our size and the agenda of the United Nations, I believe that as a Central American and world citizen I would also be willing to put at our disposal our best will to be able to find a strategic alignment between the programs that the different agencies of the United Nations have, with state policies, because sometimes we see only companies as those “responsible for,” when sometimes we abandon the work of the States, and [the fact] that today they have a fundamental part in the legal system and in the ordering of commercial relationships.
And I think it would be very opportune that those fundamentals that we have with the Global Pact that we have worked on with CentraRSE in Guatemala, is a key issue to be able to inoculate also in the work of state agencies; because this will allow a cohesion that will really lead to a sustainable alignment.
And I do it with the purpose that we see that we can do many things but if the state in the productive chain does not have it, we have great challenges and we just continue being pointed out, and we have to see maybe not the pointing of fingers, rather see how we have more affinities to reach that sustainability, that peace, and that happiness; because after all, what we have to have in life is happiness, with problems but happy and united.
And on the issue of eco-efficiency, if we understand eco-efficiency as the ability to achieve results having the proper management of resources and determining that I have reduced, minimized, or eliminated impacts, I think fundamentally that we must have two roads: One is that companies comply with the environmental standards that are required of us in the national legislation, and that we have the capacity to demonstrate with management models that have monitoring and evaluation; and that also be aimed at the profitability of the company. Yes?
And second, I do believe that we must begin to have an educational curriculum so that the next generations already bring that chip.
Today we are the ones who are here, we are the product of the generation of the disposable; we are the generation that started using plastics, that started to discard everything, and that is going to have to change. We are going to have to come back, surely, to the glass container to fill it again, we will have to come back with the cloth bag and buy our things, and start having less garbage that we are generating.
So, I believe that the two lines are the current ones in the company and those that as corporate citizenship we can include into the national educational curriculum, and that we start talking with an ecological language to boys and girls, so that those next leaders who arrive at a university, already go with that internalized training, and with a behavior that gives them happiness, not boredom.
But today we throw phones, we throw everything, no? So I think it's the two paths; internally in the company, whatever their size, and what we can contribute to the school curriculum.
Thank you very much, if you give us your opinion please.
Well, very well.
I basically agree. In fact, the SDGs are basically presented in this perspective, because the ODMs basically focused only on the work of the governments, and it is clear that the governments do not have enough resources or the necessary capacity to solve the problems we have to face today. So then they are proposed in a way that they may integrate a scenario where all, without exception, we have to contribute a decisive way to achieve their objectives.
As you know, agreeing among so many different countries with so many different interests is really a challenge, and having achieved exactly 3 years ago, last week on the 25th, having achieved a signature, global agreements, is a really important advancement that is worth mentioning.
However we still have some very important challenges to agree on this. This helps us to measure how the progress has been, but we will have to go a little faster; because three years have passed, and according to the data that was shown, last July at the meeting in New York, only 40 countries presented themselves voluntarily, and the results are still not significant, and if we continue with that same trajectory we will not be able to achieve it.
So, I totally agree with you in the measure that we’re going to have to work on the aspects of the governments, between the companies; but each one fulfilling their role and each one knowing that they have to start making changes.
That is why the United Nations, along with the Global Pact, with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and additionally the Global Reporting Initiative, mounted what is called the Post-2015 Architecture, that was presented precisely in 2015 before the signing of the SDGs, and where it states that the different actors initially have to begin to be transparent, to begin to report their performance, to begin to accept when they have errors, when they have opportunities for improvement, so that they begin to build trust.
They will not be able to do alone and so they will have to be supported in a number of platforms of action and collaboration, which will allow them to advance much faster, because we cannot do it alone as you mention it; we will have to have the support of experts, as you also said, or have to learn from our partners, our friends, our competitors, the neighboring communities, to be able to improve those performances; but above all, in terms of needing motivation and incentives, because we do not do things because they are good, but because we win. So then there are a number of incentives from both the market and the environment that now facilitate the decision to the managers.
In my classes, I now have to tell my students that they do not have to do things right because they are right, and that the things they should have to do it. Now, as never before in history, they have the possibility of having tools that will help them do things right, do the right thing, but allow them to win.
So we have that ability, and if we put that virtuous circle together where that new system of sustainability can be added, we could meet those goals by 2030; but for that we need to be centered on the subjects of leadership of people and we have to point out to them to the commitment of each of us.
So, those who know me, well they know that I am not like very optimistic, to say the least. I think that human beings hope to hit rock bottom and when it's too late we'll also try to make changes. I think it's more likely that we go or discover another new planet or go live on Mars before we can change. But that is the putting that we have and it is the only alternative that we have, it is in our hands and already the future will give us what those results would be.
I would like to enter the final part of the panel, talking a little bit about where we are standing.
I think it is of public knowledge, the issue of the Earth. I do not know if you know that this year is going to meet the second warmest year on the planet. Thus far, the last ten years have been the hottest years, and that have come to adopt the issue of climate change on our planet, our Mother Earth.
So, on that basis we must work each of our guidelines. One of them will hopefully be the topic of the environment for each of the companies, universities, [and] the social sector.
But I think that if I all could start thinking about the closing issue, the issue of environmental care…
I would think that the Goal 17, which is alliances, if I am not mistaken..? The topic of alliances; I think it can be for me and has been my strategy at the Benemérita University of Puebla, I believe that it is the main factor to allocate more resources, more actions, more impacts; because if I do not have resources, if I join with the one who has, I that am able and he who has personnel, we will make an action that has a greater impact
So, I would invite you all to, for example, if we do an exercise today and each one of you would add your email to a sheet of who would like to plant a tree at the end of the year and upload it to a social network, I think we have an quite a strong impact on social networks in Latin America.
I believe that it is part of what we should do as a social responsibility, each one of you decision makers and each one of us in the part that corresponds to us within our social responsibility.
There is no need for budget; there is only a need for conviction and there is a need, no? Of what you said on the topic of being convinced of do things. If you can start with the conclusions we are going to close, please, Alex.
Thank you very much, Greco.
Precisely, the issue of commitment for me is fundamental; we must commit to generate an action that can make a change, a change that we think is minimal but with the sum of wills, we can multiply those results.
But, returning to what they said about eco-efficiency, I think we have to start from something that is often mentioned, which is to break paradigms. We already have the vision that things should be done in that single way and we think in a unilateral way.
When we start to see things from another perspective is when we started to truly generate new initiatives, where I am aware that many of the solutions of the ventures that have been generated today, have been due to identifying a problem and with that commitment, provide a solution… or… here we have next the engineer that has been providing a solution to the treatment of one of the problems we have in the issue of wastewater.
Then, if we had, if we join all the researchers that exist today, giving back that academic part to the practical part, and that we as entrepreneurs could open the doors for them, I think we would generate a great change, since we are aware that necessity is the mother of invention.
And now I am maybe the opposite, I am more positive; I believe that in the face of this adversity is when those true leaders who are going to start marking the course of that difference that we should start working on, are going to present themselves; and well here in the room I think I see several of them.
Paty, your conclusion, please.
I really see very positively, and I'm leaving very happy because I think we can achieve solutions as a group.
There are always people who have different solutions, different ideas, but I find that here at this moment we can make a very strong group to be able to give solutions where we can all be advisors of all to give solutions.
I am really leaving very satisfied and I hope that at the next Summit we already have at least one good indicator.
Thank you very much.
María Silvia, please, if you give us your conclusion.
Thank you, Greco, and thank you for sharing this panel.
I think this is an anthropological issue and I really believe… first congratulate you, being here listening to this type of panels and conversations means that you really have an interest and an awareness of how we transcend and how we can transform many of the things that are happening in the world today; and those that we can leave transformed, will truly be the way to transcend.
If I see it from the anthropological point of view, I believe that we are the generation that has the social responsibility to start modeling a new way of behaving in the environment, in the environment from the family, because I insist it is in the family where our hard disc is formatted.
That's where we learn solidarity, respect, sharing, having alliances, building trust; since they imprint self-esteem, since they make me a person capable of considering myself valuable and respecting my human beings.
And I do not want to sound romantic, because sometimes women have to back our sweet ideas with a male voice so that it sounds good, and sometimes they say, “What a funny idea, that of María Silvia,” and if a man says it, “Ah! What a great idea!” But I've learned to back my voice and my tone so we can move forward.
But I leave happy, really, I think… congratulations, I think it's a great initiative. It seems to me that talking about peace, we are the generation responsible for doing it, and if I see it from the anthropological point, we have to be aware that if there is a climate change and that we have unwittingly caused this climate change by being the generation of the disposable; and that we are in the moment of, first accepting it, recognizing how it has changed in our environment.
“Ah! Well it just started to rain now.” Precisely, today, in the morning, we thought that these winds that are seen today in Guatemala are the winds that are usually until mid-November, because it is when we fly skipjack, and now we have them beginning in mid-September, many plants that were not blooming are already blooming in this season.
So if we take anthropological awareness and we go to the sociological change that if there is a climate change, we can adapt, we can mitigate it, and we can become resilient to it, so that then we are then sustainable and we inherit the next generation a better world than we are in this moment manifesting ourselves in.
I am leaving really happy and I believe in peace, in the family, and that is where we learn to be supportive and responsible with society.
Thank you very much, applause, please.
Gustavo your conclusions, optimistic, please.
Not being optimistic does not mean that it has to be negative; on the contrary when you are pessimistic, you will have to do many more things, many more than the optimists.
Martin Luther King said that one has to make decisions and each time one’s decisions are going to be more difficult. He says that many times those decisions will have to ask many questions; he says that one will have to ask courage if what one is doing is safe; he says one is going to have to ask experience, if what one is going to do is politically correct.
He also says that you ask yourself questions, if what you are doing is popular; and of course he says that one has ask a question to the conscience, if what you are going to be the decision that you are going to take is the right thing.
He says that many times we are going to have to do things that are not politically correct, that are not popular, and even that are not going to be safe, but that are the right thing to do.
And in some way that is the message. In the end, what I think is that we do not need any kind of social responsibility or sustainability tools. Remember that the world is not changed by the masses, the world is changed by people, with their small decisions, with the details that they make each day, and the only way then that we can have a better world over any kind of tools is that each one of us make the decisions that are the right thing to do, in spite of the costs that we may have, as this man said.
Thank you very much.
Small actions, big decision makers.
I want to thank you all in a personal way, for your time, and I will conclude with what I started, the issue of worrying, each one on the issue of social responsibility.
There’s a reason why you’re here, because you are worried, but you are more busy taking action, and taking action on the day tomorrow, with each of the actions you heard, that you learned from each one of us who took the time to share each one of the actions, and in what way we can create alliances with each other in order to be a community of peace and a better one, for each of us and the future generations.