Empresas que cambian sociedades




Well, wonderful, I believe that is super inspiring.

I want to ask Cristina a question.

Industries obviously consume, are consumers of resources on a very large scale, and today we are in a rather complex context in relation to our relationship with all industries; let's say that if we look at how we are against mining, against oil, against the industry, from what extracts water. And we are also in some contexts and some states, as in Latin America, that are weak, and that do not give us much security to do our operations.

Thinking about this brand difference and thinking about these elements that can provide happiness, sustainability, what does Unilever do in the face of these other dynamics that are not necessarily so associated with their own business, but are related to solving problems of society together with the governments, in such a way that there would be a greater potential for action?


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

Thanks, Edna.

Well, what we really try to do is be very open and inclusive. The vesion: “Because I'm not causing the problem,” does not mean I'm not part of the problem, right? So the vision of Unilever is much wider; and what we have been doing is to openly relate to all stakeholders, including governments, NGOs, civil groups, the people around us, consumer groups above all, to listen and understand what each one is demanding and how can we support.

Many times what the Unilever brand can do, as such, is integrate, help make these integrations of things that are happening separately, and that if they come together, could generate a much greater positive impact.

Actually, speaking with our president, recently we had a conversation that was precisely focused on this; and we were doing an analysis, because we saw how much money had been invested in social, environmental projects, by different groups, cooperations, NGOs, companies; and then we said to ourselves: "If we all really defined three priorities and destined all these billions (because we could count billions) to solve those three priorities, together, leaving aside the brand in a certain way, we could be much more efficient in doing so.”

That is the thought of what Unilever is doing through our world president, Paul Polman, that precisely has been dedicated in the last 7 years to generate coalitions in pursuit of these objectives.


That is very important in sustainability issues; that is, we are not alone: ​​We are part of a unit of gears; and that unit is in all the elements that make up our countries, our regions, and everything that can in some way, either isolated, generating small impacts, or jointly, generate great impacts and major changes. So that's a very important brand difference issue.


And then I want to ask José Carlos, in front of all these financial issues and where BAC Credomatic has worked with the governments, because you have an alliance (which is absolutely wonderful) with the ministries, with the Ministry of Education, and it is something that can be easily replicated, what things have you done to measure that contribution of financial education, of entrepreneurship, of income generation, that ultimately ends up being part of what we call, in the context of the development, productive inclusion?

In this context of productive inclusion, how have you managed to align the goals of the Sustainable Development Goals? How is Guatemala or Costa Rica or the entire region contributing to the SDGs?


Chief of Sustainability of Banco BAC Credomatic

All right. I will tell you a little bit.

What we are doing, in the case of financial education (if we could say it that way), is that we measure the behavior of our clients: Who does not pay, who is paying, who pays this month, who does not pay; and within the Financial Education Program is where we can measure to have a little bit more regarding the topic of impact (if we could put it that way) that these people are having.

With the students, as we have just launched this topic with the Ministry of Education in Guatemala, at the moment we still cannot measure it; however, I can speak of our partners in Costa Rica and Honduras: They are aligning it a lot to the indicators that the Ministry of Education handles in each of the subjects they have.

In the case of SMEs, we can measure them according to the growth they have. Objective number 8, which is “Decent work and economic growth,” that's where we could start measuring: How many small businesses do we have? A year or two years later, how many medium-sized, is what we could be counting and the number of jobs that these could generate.

An exercise that seems very interesting to us, and that we developed a couple of years ago (when we started with this whole issue of labor inclusion, with people with disabilities), was that we put together in one of the departments of Guatemala, we put together 50 business people; and then, within what we were telling them about the good practices we had, was the issue of labor inclusion.

So then, we said: "If we think hypothetically, that in this department there are 100 people who have some kind of disability and do not have a job, and there are 50 companies together, if you all hire one person, we eradicate 50% of unemployment of people with disabilities".

Then it becomes interesting when we started to be able to measure a little; and this is 100% aligned with the business topic, which is banking, which is of interest to us.


Sure, climbing. There are three phrases that we like to quote. First: All issues must generate impact; that is, the first word is impact. Second: That impact must be scalable. So the power to move up, the power to have alliances, and the power to define much greater goals through inter-sectoral cooperation will be fundamental. And what we do has to be sustainable.

So we have to take sustainability to that larger area, where truly, your companies (as you are saying) a year, two years, five years later, you can see them on the path of development and on the way to growth, and the same with all alliances.

And I want to ask you both one last question, and that is: How do you handle the issue of reputational risk?

In all these sustainability issues, brand difference is key and, of course, we all want to do many things, but in the end we will always have a context of possible reputational damage around the risk of different situations that move in the environment. How (to follow the panel's theme) does the brand difference allow you can handle that type of risk?


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

For me there is only one word that defines it, and it is transparency. I would say there are two, I was wrong, it's not one, it's two. It is transparency and honesty.

If you handle things with transparency, honesty, humility –although it seems great to say it– I believe that the corporate reputation is not affected; because it is clear that we all generate impacts; I am generating an impact here today. The issue is "What is my conscience to mitigate that impact?" and "How can I do things better so I do not keep generating it?" Right?

Then, to the extent that one is transparent, one recognizes what has been done, but not only what has been done, what has not done, what has been done wrong, it seems to me that society recognizes it.

We are known for being a transparent and honest company. On our website one can see what our sustainability goals are, and where a goal is not being met as promised, we have a red light.

Then that transparency to recognize, "Things are not working,” "It was not as easy as I thought" or "I need help,” for a company, even like Unilever, to raise their hands and say: "I need help,” I think helps to manage the reputation; because it also goes beyond the reputation, it is really in the impact that you are generating. And if the objective is to solve an impact, honesty, humility and transparency for key for me.


Chief of Sustainability of Banco BAC Credomatic

I would add one more: In addition to transparency and honesty, I would add ethics. I believe that ethics in entrepreneurs is fundamental.

Something we are doing to prevent types of reputational risk are the constant dialogues with our stakeholders. Why? Because in this way we can measure, we can know a little more; what are the opportunities for improvement that we could have.

Something that I would like to be able to highlight at this moment is the part of the ISO 26000 standard, which is the social responsibility norm, which in the end is a norm that is not certifiable; because companies at the end cannot have in the part where they say: "I am 100% responsible and here is my certification," if my collaborators are not having this type of "responsible practices", and we could say it in quotes.

So, something that is linked to the topic of dialogue is the subject of training and being able to do a little more emphasis with all our collaborators and the collaborators of any company in the responsibility that each one has to have.

I think that in the end this has to be one of the values ​​that we could have as an organization.


That is so.

Do you think Unilever generates happiness?


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

I think so. Look at me the big smile I have, how proud I am to stand here and say where I work, right?

I think that if it did not generate happiness, I, who am a person with deep social convictions, could not work for a large company. So I think that I am living proof that Unilever generates happiness.


Chief of Sustainability of Banco BAC Credomatic

Totally agree. I think the same; I always see it in the activities we do, in all the impacts that we are generating. And as my colleague here is saying, I also have a big smile of being able to speak and feel proud and believe so much in this matter, because in the end I believe that the companies we are representing are companies that can transmit this to us.


Well, I think that with this we can conclude our panel within our internal discussion.

Now we are going to continue with the written questions that they will bring to us for our panelists.

And while the questions arrive, there is a very important point, and that is that all of us who are in this, I think we are here due to our passion. In other words, this is a passionate job, because what we see is that changes are possible and we are part of those changes; we are vehicles for change. And obviously we need structure, we need methodologies, we need to develop the strategies, we have to have very clear goals, but finally, it’s all part of the passion.

And well, we are waiting for the questions.


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

I definitely agree with you on the subject of passion. Sustainability is definitely passion.


It’s passion, it’s passion. Totally.

How are we doing with the questions? Do you have some?

Let's improvise a bit. How do you measure, Cristina? How do you measure?


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

We are a bit obsessive about numbers, like good business, right? So we have tried to print that obsession with numbers, which we have for business and to do our business, into sustainability.

All our programs have what we call a scorecard, very simple, monthly, that measures the different variables: Measures the social or environmental variable (depending on the project) and measures the economic and financial variable; that is, what is the impact that you are really generating for the business and for the person who is involved in these types of projects.

That scorecard we see once every trimester, of all the programs we have, in an internal sustainability committee led by the company president; because, as I said, it is a topic that the sustainability area does not see, but rather it is led by the head of the company.

This guarantees that the performance on sustainability issues is just as important as what I sold this month.


Well, I think we have one of the best practices, which I've heard, I think, in a long time. I find it very interesting.

And here is a question, which I think goes directly to you, because you put the subject and put the word.

Where are ethics taught?


Chief of Sustainability of Banco BAC Credomatic

All right. Interesting question.

We are trying to learn and we are trying to promote it a lot, and we ally ourselves with (forgive the redundancy) with a super strategic ally for us, for BAC Credomatic, and it is CentraRSE. During the last 3 years we have been developing forums where BAC Credomatic has been a sponsor of these forums, and the main topic is business ethics.

In addition to this, we have counted on, within the forums we have had, the exhibitors that have come, we have had workshops specifically for our directors, who can talk about this topic.

Now, something interesting about this is: Ethics, as well as responsibility, are values ​​that we try to inculcate within companies, but the way in which we are learning directly is from a third party, and this third party for us has been CentraRSE Guatemala, which is the Action Center for Social Responsibility for us.


Well, very good.

Here are several questions; we have little time, so I will be putting together questions together; but there is one that I also wanted to direct to you, and it is: "What is the plan to take the use of plastic to zero?"


Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, Unilever - Middle Americas

Well, we cannot take the use of plastic to zero because then we would not be sitting on this sofa, I would not have this microphone, you would not be drinking water from those jars, this beautiful label we have here would not exist.

Truly, the demonization of plastic… I think we should not confuse things. What we should do is stop using single-use plastics and stop producing new plastics from petroleum, and try to reuse the plastics we already have, which are enough, and those we have put in the sea, for the next 50 years surely.

We have a plan, it is a global commitment of our president Paul Polman: By the year 2025 we have to have 100% of our products as recyclable, that is, nothing can be of a single use; in fact, we have practically eliminated single-use plastics; and we have made a commitment that 25% of plastic be already post-consumer, that is, plastic that we are collecting directly from the consumer, from homes, and we are putting it back into the manufacture of our packaging.

We have put 25% because the technological solutions are still not easy; it depends on the type of plastics. Plastics are not all the same, there are many types of plastic; there are some that we will be able to have 100% recycled material (that is, I will collect the shampoo bottles and I will reconvert 100% of them into shampoo bottles) and there are other types of plastics that are more complex because they require separation of the different types of materials they have.

So we are experimenting, we are moving forward a lot. I would love to come next year and tell you about a project that I cannot tell you about yet (but I’ll leave you there with the intrigue), which we have in Colombia, and with which I am super excited because, precisely, it is focused on the topic of eco-design and plastic recycling.

Believe me that we are experiencing madly, I would say, to be able to contribute.

And here I’ll take advantage and I’ll make an invitation, if someone is working on the subject of plastics, please come and talk with me. We are open to all kinds of opportunities, ideas, science; whatever you are experimenting with, we would love to hear it and be able to integrate it into our plans.


Well, I think that with this we are finished, we ran out of time. I think the other questions that were here were answered in some way during the session.

Thank you very much, Cristina; thank you very much, José Carlos, many thanks to all of you; and well, we'll see each other again. See you later.


Juan Carlos García

Well, we thank the engineer Edna Rodríguez; the Head of Sustainability at BAC Credomatic, José Carlos Gómez; and the Director of Corporate Affairs at Unilever, Cristina Bonilla, for letting us know a little about companies that change the world.

Next, we will have our panel: CSR and Sustainable Business Models: A step towards the Constitution of the Rights of Mother Earth. Our moderator will be Greco García, Marketing Director of the Benemerita Foundation of the Autonomous University of Puebla.

The Foundation joins national and international initiatives such as the UN Global Compact; therefore, they collaborate to promote the Sustainable Development Goals, actions to counteract the effects of climate change, and support other organizations to fulfill their social function.

In addition, the Foundation supports the implementation of the social impact projects, promotes academic development in students and, in general, institutional development.

We are in the company of the Greco Garcia


access_time Tue, 10/02/2018 - 00:00