South American Business Forum started the activities corresponding to its sixth edition this morning. Its institutional opening was in charge of this year’s SABF directors: Valeria Luna and Alejandro Vazquez. Under the topic “Boosting our actions in the new decade” they developed the main axes of SABF 2010: sustainable businesses, social synergy and citizen participation.
In their speech, Luna pointed out that the organization aim “to make a contribution to the Latin-American environment by developing leaders”. Moreover, she underlined that the South American Business Forum achieves this by gathering 100 outstanding young students committed with their communities. On the other hand, Vazquez exhorted the students to rethink their ideas, dialogue, share experiences, to question and not just to listen, and make the event a transforming experience. To conclude, he added that “to change our reality we must take an active role in society”.
Later, the academic opening was presented by Esteban Corio, coordinator of Espacio Agua and certified counselor for UN Global Compact guidelines. During his exposition, he introduced the three tools needed to take action and make things happen: Synergy, Citizenship Active Participation and Sustainable Businesses.
Corio underlined that “long lasting successful companies cannot exist in societies that fails” quoting Stephan Schmidheiny and adding personal thoughts. Moving on to the evolution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), he pointed out that the human factor is the most important one to secure the concept. It is necessary a new kind of leader, the “Conscious Leader”, who is responsible of creating the context to apply CSR solutions. The level of “consciousness” of the leaders of the company defines the behavior and culture of the company.
The question is how we develop these kinds of leaders. Young people with leader potential should be aware of this topics and issues from the very beginning of their careers. “We need to train them in business schools, forums like the South American Business Forum and universities”
He added that it is important to underline the importance of SMEs going into CSR in Latin America, “they are the ones who make a great impact in developing countries”.
Moreover, using a mathematical example, Corio stated that common good is not the sum of the individual goods but the product of them. The formula explains that if any of the individual goods is zero, the whole formula also is. Leaders are responsible of maintaining the formula positive.
Finally, he encouraged students to pay attention to the three tools, mentioned at the beginning of his statement, in the following 3 days: Synergy, Citizenship Active Participation and Sustainable Businesses.