The thin line between CSR or just mitigation/remediation of environmental and social impact

2014-08-05 09.25.46 amThe following article prompted an analysis of what really is Corporate Social Responsibility [Responsabilidad Social Empresarial – RSE] vis-a-vis development work need to restore the social/environmental conditions of a given site as a result of economic activities, in this case under the hydrocarbon industry.

2014-08-05 09.26.32 amPeople in Bolivia tend to use the wording RSE to “demonstrate” they are engaging with their public, with their actors and stakeholders. The true definition of CSR is that has to be voluntary and offer sustainable development to those beneficiaries, outside the scope of that industry. For example, a milk factory decides to provide “RSE” to those communities where they but from the milk, by teaching them better techniques, etc. That is only helping people on their chain of production. It would be different in that milk factory decides to do CSR in those communities, but by providing university scholarships to those children with a 80% grade upon completion of high-school. To children in that region, whereas their parents work or not in the dairy industry. Furthermore, the milk factory should make a Fiduciary Account, to make sure those scholarships remain over time, with more benefactors included, over the long run, so it doesn’t matter if in 10 years down the road, the milk factory ceases to exits, the scholarship fund would continue, regardless.

So, in the case of the hydrocarbon industry, the case of the report below, it would be interesting to see if that company is just mitigating, compensating those communities due to the social-economical impact of their oil/gas production/extraction/transportation. One thing is to say I am helping this community voluntary, outside my scope of work and sustainably, as opposed to say I’m just doing what these communities asked me to do in return of my presence there…

So, I believe the distinction is made, what is needed is a government regulation, like the one in Denmark, to encourage companies to engage in CSR/RSE, in a way that both public and private sectors interact, and not compete. That being the main difference with sustainability and just cheap politics. We need clear rules of the game, not a government that wants to use/impose CSR/RSE to companies, like ASFI is doing with the banking system, that is not going to work and will turn into another type of tax…

Se, here is the report from El Dia, so you can make up your conclusions:

Petrobras with 16 social projects

The company Petrobras announced that for this year, will run 16 projects and 26 courses of social responsibility.

Details. These projects cover five zones (Santa Cruz, Tarija, Villa Montes, Yacuiba and Caraparí) and 20 populations of the area of influence of the assets operated by the company. These activities will involve an investment of $1.2 million and will directly benefit about 2,850 families and indirectly to more than 7,000 people. One project is to strengthen programs Qualification Work Experience. To this is the promotion of productive agricultural enterprises through technical assistance, micro qualification, comprehensive community development and grants that will give young people scholarships in areas where the company works to access higher education.

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