Green is good: for a growing number of regional companies and multinationals, being a good corporate citizen means monitoring environmental impact and adopting sustainable business practices.

Author:Sutter, Mary
Position:CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
 
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When international pop stars Juanes, Paulina Rubio and Alejandro Sanz jetted home from Los Angeles last fall following the broadcast of Los Premios MTV, their flight miles were calculated into a formula on how to reduce the carbon footprint of the television extravaganza.

"We purchase offset CO2 credits so that we are neutral," said Mario Cader-Frech, vice president, public affairs and corporate responsibility, at MTV Networks Latin America in Miami Beach. The effort started in 2007 when staff at MTV Latinoamerica, a leading music channel distributed throughout Spanish-speaking Latin America, tallied electricity and fuel use associated with travel by staff, presenters and performers to all its events. The subsequent mitigation is part of every event produced by the network, said Cader-Frech, as it is for sister channels around the world.

For a youth-centric media company like MTV, an "environmentally friendly concert experience" is a must to connect with concertgoers who include many ardent environmentalists.

Bur companies across a broad range of industries operating in Latin America and the Caribbean are becoming greener as they embrace sustainability efforts as part of their corporate social responsibility programs. Along the way, they have an additional benefit. Using energy and resources efficiently, sourcing locally to support community business and save on transportation costs, as well as other measures, boost the bottom line. The cost savings is one of the reasons many companies reported they did not reduce their sustainability and corporate social responsibility efforts during the past year of economic problems.

In Latin America, where corporate social responsibility programs were little known only a few years ago, sustainability and related measures are gaining currency.

"The pressure comes from the customer, from the manufacturers in Europe and North America," said Walfried Lassar, a professor of marketing at Florida International University and director of its Ryder Center for Supply Chain Management. "Many of the big firms in the United States and Europe are increasingly requiring, through their procurement process, that the companies they buy from have environmental and social responsibility programs."

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Latin America is catching on but many companies still have a way to go, Lassar said. "It's still a developing area and in developing countries, you can really run amok."

In the region, multinational...

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