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.
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!
Värderingar är alltid med oss, brukade en professor i ekologisk ekonomi, Peter Söderbaum, säga till oss elever när vi diskuterade varför vi agerar på ett sätt som inte alltid maximerar vinsten eller som skadar mer än var det gör nytta. När vi pratar om CSR och miljö tolkar vi alltså informationen baserat på våra egna värderingar och erfarenheter, och visst spelar även kulturella och språkliga skillnader en stor roll när man diskuterar dessa frågor.
Min kollega Anna Yelistratova kommer från Minsk, Vitryssland och jag, Francisco Ballas, kommer från Santiago, Chile. Under våren kommer vi att publicera en del blogginlägg under temat Latinamerika och Östeuropa. Eftersom vi båda fortfarande har mycket kontakt med våra länder är det både roligt och spännande för oss att berätta för er om vad som händer i dessa regioner, hur vi ser på det och om det finns stora skillnader från ett svenskt/nordiskt perspektiv. Framförallt kommer vi att inrikta oss på miljö, lagstiftning och CSR som är de områden som engagerar oss mest.
Vi kommer givetvis också att skriva om andra grejer och mycket av detta kommer att handla om det som händer med TEM men om ni undrar någonting om Latinamerika eller Östeuropa kom gärna med kommentarer eller frågor till oss.
The Chilean Cau Cau Bridge, connecting the city Valdivia with the island Isla Tejas, has been drawing some media attention to Chile during the last week. The reason for this is that at least one traffic deck was built upside down. The bridge was supposed to open in January 2014 but is now postponed for an indefinite amount of time. This 30 million dollar bridge, actually the first drawbridge in Chile, therefore became a real nightmare for both MOP (public infrastructure authority) and the people involved in the realization of the project. All of this despite MOP´s efforts to tone the incident down as a ´little´ mistake. Well, if it would be a Lego bridge this could be a little mistake but now a whole country´s reputation got some damage and Chilean companies might not get to build many bridges abroad for some time despite the fact that the company building the bridge actually is a Spanish company.
Sometimes it is easy to get a bit too comfortable leading to the risk that some details might be missed. Many companies we work with use a rotation system when performing safety rounds and checks to see things with fresh eyes. Multinational companies use, for some years now, global internal auditors that travel the world to visit different production sites in order to prevent incidents and to bring global standards and examples of best praxis everywhere.
Obviously things can go wrong anyway and sometimes they do go wrong despite the best efforts and intentions of everyone involved. However, when things are taken for granted the risk for making mistakes or to suffer an incident increase. Some cross-functional work or external revisions could save time, money and reputation.