A year of green shoots but few surprises: Oliver Balch provides an overview of corporate sustainability’s progress in Latin America during 2015
Latin America has never been at the forefront of corporate sustainability, but the region has made huge advances over the past decade or so. That’s all to the good. In the Amazon biome alone, which incorporates Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and, of course, Brazil, the continent is home to at least one 10th of the world’s known biodiversity and around 16% of the planet’s total river discharge into oceans.
Couple that with high biodiversity areas such as the Orinoco flooded forests, the Pantanal and the Atlantic Forests, and environmental conservation – including that by companies – has global ramifications. By the same token, the region’s success in tackling its most significant socio-economic and development challenges depend in no small part on the business practices of the corporate sector.
The private sector’s progress is evident in the network of business-led corporate responsibility groups that now stretch across the continent – organisations such as Instituto Ethos in Brazil, IntegraRSE in Central America, Acción RSE in Chile, Cemefi in Mexico and IARSE in Argentina.
Yet the traction of these organisations, and the enthusiasm of their corporate members, is not a given. Where sustainability sits on the...