Some companies in Chile do not understand their role in society and see themselves as mere productive agents. The objective is making them become aware about social responsibility. Helping them understand that no company is isolated in its surrounding. Let them see there goals other than pure profitability. The permanent process of change is a characteristic of humanity, but never before change had happened at the acceleration promoted by technological advances and access to information we have at present. Both rapid access to information and the redefinition of the economies led to unexpected social, political and cultural changes in present days.
Nevertheless, and especially in the economic area, it is not yet clear the road to be chosen. It is possible to observe today different approaches to economy, from the more traditional to the more progressive ones that envisage a total change of paradigms in the way wealth is generated at global level.
There is no doubt that in the past- we human beings knew we were part of the planet earth. Today technology makes us feel it even stronger. More than ever we are interconnected – through most of our senses – to our peers, as inhabitants of a gigantic linked community.
The change of scenario has been very fast, PROhumana witnessed the vertiginous transformation happened in the last 18 years, observing it through the evolution Chile has had in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Hence we saw that at the beginning of the century CSR understanding and practice was an isolated and limited fact. Not as now, when it appears as a massive management mode, measuring the performance of the companies comprehensively, becoming responsible of economic, social and environment sustainability.
It is noted that CSR*has slowly produced the environment adequate to favor an entrepreneurial ethics. It makes possible to unite values and visions about a desirable framework for the development of our societies and the human being. Making possible to guarantee care, respect and wellbeing, considering also care and improvement of the environment in which we live.
As an outcome of the above mentioned, alliances emerge among business, government and civil society representatives. And from there is born the bases for a new economy – one in accordance with the expressed need for paradigm shift. Parallel to questioning the present ruling model for growth, progress is made including variables that go beyond economic growth, such as inclusion, citizen rights, health care and more.
This is the context where a company today cannot be understood in isolation or in sections. That is already history. It is one of the big challenges Chile has to face, especially Chilean business leaders. Either we speed up our pace in this renewed way to understand how to make business, or Chile will also show figures that would put us among least developed countries regarding CSR.
Isolated or integrated
It is possible to feel the existing tension in Chile among those who do not want to understand that technology takes us not only to scientific or productive progress, but also to a citizenship that is better informed and willing to participate. Because that is the way to propose diverse scenarios for democratic construction and above all – to question the economic model where CSR or economic, social and environmental sustainability are means to coordinate this radical change in the way companies act, and how wealth is created at local and global level.
There are some national business sectors that show signals of change. But, the characteristic in some of them today is their reactive response to facts, especially to the voice and empowerment of citizenship and civil society, and /or environmental claims or demands. Even more, an outstanding fact is that the same group of companies in Chile does not understand their role in society and still see themselves only as a productive agent focus in their own interests of economic profitability.
For this reason the PROhumana CSR National Ranking is stated as a methodology which contributes to integrated management of the company – considering the trends and global demands. For this reason the organizations which participate every year stand out from their peers : because it is possible to prove the degree of commitment – evaluated by the employees themselves- and by the certification showing how the policies are implemented in the economic as well as social and environmental field, creating sustainable growth and wealth.
Lastly, looking forward, the second half of XXI century challenge is to generate a society in which each person has access to an environment that provides an equitable economic and social distribution, in which responsible competitiveness is the axis – to stop the distribution of resources as it happens now, which leave out a majority of citizens of the planet.
Thus, together, it will be possible to model this new way of building a society, where promises and agreements reached in the last decades are fulfilled- to finally achieve the integration of the companies with their surrounding, with their people. That would be the only way to achieve a sustainable economic and human development.
Article by Soledad Teixidó, PROhumana’s Executive President, published in Chilean magazine ‘Qué Pasa’, on the occasion of PROhumana CSR National Ranking
August 31th, 2012