CSR in Chile – a personal reflection

A couple of weeks ago a family celebration brought my family and me to the hectic and beautiful Chilean capital Santiago. Santiago is a 6 million people city situated at the bottom of the Andes Mountains. I grew up in this city. It was always a large and hectic city but every time I visit it now, after 10 years of living in Sweden, I get surprised by the changes that occur year by year.

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The city of Santiago has turned in to a very modern place with new buildings, new job opportunities, and new people from all nationalities and actually a lot of people. Things are happening in Chile and they happen fast. A friend told me that the current economic boom and consequent wellness that many of my countrymen enjoy causes other types of problems. Suddenly it is difficult to buy a new apartment and you just buy it “green”. When I told my friend that I thought it was great to buy green apartments he looked at me like I did not get it. Unfortunately he did not mean green like in environmentally friendly but green meaning that you just see a couple of pictures and hope for the best when paying for the place. Because if you don´t buy it someone else will. The same thing goes for a `good´ car. You probably get to see the car and try it out but the tricky part now is the long delivery times. Every day a couple of hundred new cars are brought into the Santiago traffic. The chaotic traffic! This is a negative effect of the positive economic boom.

The main reason for “problems” buying a house or a car is the greater cash and credit flow that a growing number of Chileans enjoy. Seeing it from Sweden and from a CSR point of view we can only hope that when the economic situation is as good as it is now there will be money available for taking care of social and environmental issues. Work with CSR will grow and it will be interesting to see where the CSR-initiatives will land and what will happen in Chile and Latin America in general during the next couple of years. Two thing are clear to me; there is no one fits all CSR way and people do not want to wait too long for changes so things will happen!

/Francisco Ballas

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