Corporate Sustainability Practices in Latin America

by Elana Hazghia for Americas Society / Council of the Americas, April 27th, 2011.

Welcoming Remarks:

  • Mateo Samper, Director, Public Policy Programs, Americas Society/Council of the Americas

Panelists:

  • José María Sanz-Magallón, CEO, Telefónica Internacional USA, Inc.
  • Rodrigo Calderón, Vice President for Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola Latin America
  • Francisco X. Santeiro, Managing Director, Customs and Regulatory Affairs, FedEx Express Latin America & Caribbean
  • Zoe Tcholak-Antitch, Director, North America, Carbon Disclosure Project (Opening Remarks & Moderator)

Summary

Americas Society/Council of the Americas hosted an April 27 panel during which speakers from leading global corporations presented their companies’ views on sustainability and environmental initiatives in the region. The discussion highlighted prospects for implementing low-carbon growth strategies and focused on how their companies incorporate innovative and sustainable solutions into Latin American production and business operations.

Corporate Sustainability Projects on the Ground

Zoe Tcholak-Antitich of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) talked about her organization’s work to promote awareness of corporate carbon emissions and create solutions to tackle climate change. The CDP provides benchmarking tools that share information on the corporate carbon footprint across the world. Its reports are increasingly used by investors, stakeholders, and consumers to determine investment choices and advance emissions reduction.

Panelists spoke about their companies’ regional and global environmental initiatives. Rodrigo Calderón of Coca Cola stated that the company depends on agricultural supply, making sustainability necessary for the wellbeing of its products. In terms of the company’s initiatives, Calderón said, “Coke’s sustainability starts in the fields and spans all the way to the point of sales.” Its projects include wind-energy farms; efficient harvesting of sugar cane, oranges, and mangoes; reforestation; and watershed restoration. The company is also working to convert all of its trucks (the largest fleet in Latin America) to hybrids, reduce energy consumption of its refrigerators and vending machines, and reduce packing and bottling materials by releasing new product containers—such as the 100 percent recyclable PlantBottle. Coca Cola’s main Latin American sustainability projects are located in Mexico and Brazil, while some smaller projects are being implemented in Colombia and Central America as well.

Francisco Santeiro of FedEx Express outlined the company’s main goals, which include sustainability for all points of business and reducing the company’s carbon footprint by 20 percent by 2020. Santeiro said that FedEx’s sustainability practices fall under two main initiatives: Earthsmart, an environmental vision for customers, employees and global communities; and the Global Citizenship Report, a comprehensive view of the company’s sustainable practices. Since FedEx’s success as a company relies heavily on transport, the company is using more fuel-efficient vehicles such as Boeings and the FedEx OptiFleet E700 hybrid trucks.  (continue reading… )

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