Los Grobo in the Media

July 19, 2018
How to achieve a successful alliance
Linking with communities is an increasingly required aspect for the private sector. Companies must not only develop economically, but it is important that they generate value. Partnering with other sectors is one of the keys to achieving good results.

Companies find more and more competitive benefits, by adopting a more active and collaborative role in development. Their involvement has repercussions on risk reduction, new market opportunities and greater added value. In any case, the private sector can not act to promote a community alone. It is necessary to articulate with other actors and follow determined steps to reach true local development.

"It is important that companies recognize themselves as neighbors, that is, they must contribute to generating instances of greater participation, Beyond the economic activity to which each company is dedicated, it is important that value is added. This must change, "emphasizes Javier García Moritan, Executive Director of the Group of Foundations and Companies (GDFE).

In turn, Silvio Dal Buoni, Executive Director of Fundación Los Grobo, explains that some companies act as development agents and others simply as companies. The latter contribute to the development of the communities, to a greater or lesser extent, by paying taxes, generating jobs, hiring and strengthening local suppliers, developing community use infrastructure, pulling other investments, generating knowledge and bringing technology closer, among others. "This is not enough to say that a company or that the private sector promotes local development, nor whether its social and voluntary investments and actions are disassociated from the community's development agenda or are carried out sporadically. local when companies are limited to dialogue with local governments, providing funding for the implementation of public agenda initiatives", Dal Buoni develops.

So, when do we talk about local development? "Today, a company, if it is proposed, can function as a legitimized agent, integrator and promoter of the integral development of a territory, act intentionally to co-create public goods, encourage the proliferation of public policies beneficial to communities and positively impact, together with the rest of the local actors, on the environment and on the people ", responds Dal Buoni.

In order to face the most important challenges that arise as a society, it is fundamental to forge alliances between local governments, companies and society's organizations. In this sense, it is necessary to continue betting on the creation of spaces for strategic articulation and, above all, operational articulation. In this line, for example, YPF promotes the Sustainable Cities program.

It focuses on the strategic planning of local development, as well as the implementation of priority social investments through the articulated participation of public, international and private sector organizations. It began with the purpose that the demographic and economic growth that occurred as a consequence of the boost to the oil and gas industry was carried out in a harmonious, inclusive manner and with real improvement in the quality of life for the people. So far, plans were developed for the cities of Añelo (province of Neuquén), Las Heras (Santa Cruz), Allen (Río Negro) and Malargüe (Mendoza).

Each action plan of the Sustainable Cities program lays the foundations for growth and, at the same time, constitutes itself as a tool for local management. The final objective of this initiative is to define priority lines of action towards which to promote social investment in partnership with the public and private sectors, strengthening local institutional capacities, especially in the aspects related to strategic planning and management for development. . The plans are prepared by experts in the environment, urban planning, water resources and health, education, among other areas, in dialogue with all the actors involved in the sustainability of cities.

Baseline studies and a multisectoral diagnosis are carried out to identify priority issues and develop action plans to address the challenges of the sustainability of cities. These strategic plans serve as a roadmap for the coordination of State investments and international credit agencies, and allow for the guidance of the private sector.

When starting with a local development strategy, there are a series of steps that must be taken into account. Alliances are key from planning to execution.

Know the local context

"In the first place, it is essential to understand the local context where each company operates, what the business model is like and how its value chain is deployed in the territory," says Silvio Dal Buoni. In the same line, the reference of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability of Cargill, Julián Ferrer, says that the first step to interact with the community was to define to what extent or in what areas the company could be involved, and how to extend it towards its chain of value, institutions and local organizations. In the case of Cargill, having an extended food safety policy makes it more efficient to share this type of resources and experiences with its value chain, but also with other institutions of the local community, such as agro-technical schools or other type of organizations related to food production.

A second step has to do with getting involved in the definition of a vision and a local development agenda agreed upon and legitimized with the rest of the local actors. That is, to contribute to the design and, above all, to the implementation of a local development plan in a short, medium and long term perspective.

The need to plan

"Companies can generate and sustain supra-institutional dialogue spaces that allow planning and joint action, the mobilization of endogenous and exogenous resources, with a proactive and receptive attitude, their involvement in networks or local management tables allows them to share information , knowledge and generate valuable learning for the territories", explains Dal Buoni.

For what is specifically community-based, the Cargill Foundation establishes an annual plan, which it shares with the Network of Community Referees, employees of the company trained in the relationship with the different institutions of the local community. These are responsible for carrying out actions and links in the community in which they live and work. Each year, there is a process of evaluation and definition of the proposals, based on the guidelines shared at the beginning of the year.

In addition, Dal Buoni develops that the planning processes can be more or less participatory, but, in general, the basic stages that have to be traveled are those of diagnosis, design, capacity development and mobilization of resources. In this way, progress can be made in the implementation, evaluation and reporting of initiatives.

For his part, the Executive Director of the Network of Rural Communities, Patricio Sutton, says: "It is required that the best specialists be summoned for planning, with a strong social commitment, and the difficulties in a country with economic and social swings such as our merit all the seriousness and professionalism possible, no gurus and other theorists, professionals with a lot of ground, bonds of trust with local referents, knowledge and openness to find real solutions and sustain processes over time.

Link with communities

In order to interact with the communities, it is important to identify the referents, the technicians and professionals. Currently, more companies need to take the lead on local agendas.

At Natura Argentina, they designed and implemented a waste management project that consists of the installation of an ecological island in the Escobar distribution center, where all recyclable waste from the center is concentrated: pallets, film and cardboard. To market these residues and ensure that they actually enter the production cycle, they opened a tender that called on potential waste managers. Private companies, urban waste picker cooperatives and a civil association were submitted to the tender. "As a result, the El Álamo cooperative, which has a long history of working with private companies and as a service provider for the Government of the City of Buenos Aires, was selected to become the company's supplier," says Sabina Zaffora, Sustainability manager of Natura Argentina.

Another interesting case of local development in which it interacts widely with the community is DIRECTV, which developed a solution so that rural schools without electricity could be part of Escuela + Solar. Currently, this program, still in its initial phase, has expanded to other countries in the region and already has 13 schools in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Uruguay. In August 2017, DIRECTV installed solar panels, televisions and antennas in eight rural primary schools in El Impenetrable. In 2014, the first solar energy pilot had been installed in two local schools, which resulted in a good follow-up and operation. The link with the communities is given through the education ministries of the provinces.

It is not necessary to be a multinational company to be involved in local development. Viña Las Perdices is a family business developed by Juan Muñoz López. There live 16 families, in houses that constitute a small community. In total there are 65 people. The first ones who came to work at the farm did so in the early 80's. For these families, Viña Las Perdices offers permanent and continuous work all year, housing and services free of charge. The winery is also responsible for the maintenance of neighborhood streets and consolidated roads, in order to allow the entry four times a day of the collective line used by children to go to school.

"The link is achieved through time", said Nicolás Muñoz, Administrative Manager of the company. Viña Las Perdices.

On the other hand, from GDFE, they developed a public-private articulation guide for development. "The project aims to design public policies that are sustained beyond the current government, the idea is that the proposals can be implemented." The first model was launched in May of this year in Sunchales, Santa Fe, with support from the Sancor Seguros Foundation In this community, the most important issue is youth employment or entrepreneurship initiatives.The total process lasts 10 months and involves 20 meetings.From GDFE, we decided to go for initiatives where we can invite partners to take agendas that we all claim, but few organizations dare to lead, now we are replicating the project in cities of the province of Tucumán with a consortium of companies with YPF in the lead, and finally, we hope to replicate it throughout the country", said García Moritán.

Development challenges

According to Patricio Sutton, the problems that may appear in these processes are: lack of communication and basic agreements to sustain community development processes over time that strengthen individual, family and community capacities; political clientelism focused on eternal social assistance rather than capacity building at the local and regional level; impoverishment of public policies that accompany the training and strengthening of small rural producers; shrinking of suitable technical equipment, removal of resources and equipment; lack of regional strategies beyond municipal, provincial and national boundaries; climate change, the increase in social inequality and violence undermine all entrepreneurship and the development process. Sutton notes that chronic disinvestment in capacity development at the local level is the biggest pending issue.

Published by: Written by Florencia Tuchín.
Automatic translation from spanish.

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