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Puerto Rico CofC presents corporate social responsibility study results

The Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce (CofC) recently unveiled the results of the first study commissioned by the organization to examine the corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices of its members, as part of the “Private Enterprise as an Agent of Social Transformation” forum held in San Juan.

“Corporate social responsibility is more relevant today than ever before; it is demanded by our customers, employees and even the very planet we live on,” said CofC President Ramón Pérez-Blanco. “For us, this is a priority, as evidenced by the organization of this forum and the first study we conducted to examine the CSR practices of our partners.”

“CSR is part of the new corporate DNA that should permeate all companies as a fundamental necessity to ensure the license to operate. CSR showcases the contribution of the private sector, legitimizes the company, and repels those who want to stigmatize and simplify private initiative,” Nicolás Uribe-Rueda, former president of the World Chambers Federation, added in the related media release.

The study covered six dimensions related to corporate social responsibility: workplace practices, social and environmental practices, company values, market policies and the overall perception of companies regarding CSR.

Dr. Glorymar Rivera-Báez, chair of the CofC Quality of Life and Social Responsibility Committee, presented the results, which revealed that, while more than 67% of respondents were familiar with CSR programs, only 45.54% claimed to have someone in charge of these activities.

Other results include the category of workplace practices, where more than half of the surveyed companies indicated that they have plans aimed at promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. Meanwhile, 84.4% of companies reported having procedures to address discrimination in the workplace.

Regarding the implementation of environmental measures, the survey results showed that promoting a healthy and safe work environment, as well as quality in service and products, are important factors for a company’s reputation. More than 60% of companies stated that they have tried to reduce their environmental impact through energy savings, waste reduction and recycling, and environmental protection.

Similarly, more than half of the companies claimed to have considered potential environmental impacts when developing new products or services.

The social dimension of CSR includes activities that organizations undertake in collaboration with other entities, or on their own initiative, that have a positive impact on society and the communities in which they operate. In this category, 80.85% of businesses reported purchasing products from the local market, and more than 60% stated that they encourage their employees to participate in community activities.

In addition to the presentation of the study’s results, the forum’s agenda included a discussion on the importance of sustainability plans and the presentation of several CSR case studies. The presentations were given by Kashmira Pimentel, director of Community Initiatives at MCS; Ángel Santiago-Colón, co-founder, president  and CEO of Grupo Navis; and Jannice Jusino-Cruz, coordinator of Social Impact and Corporate Affairs at CEMEX Puerto Rico.

“It is very encouraging that the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce and its partners include corporate social responsibility in their strategies,” said Luis Gautier, president of the Center for Puerto Rico at the Sila M. Calderón Foundation. “We are not talking about an act of charity. It is a shared need to transform the country so that we have a healthy, growing and sustainable private sector and healthy communities capable of sustaining these businesses. Many social problems are complex, and to solve them, efforts must be coordinated across various sectors. Nonprofit organizations are ideal allies to turn socioeconomic obstacles into opportunities for everyone. Together, we can create the collective impact that Puerto Rico so desperately needs.”

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