'Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America' event

  • Constance Malleret

On Tuesday 15th May, Canning House and the Institute of Latin American Studies hosted an event at Senate House, with the support of Anglo American, on Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin America.

The event brought together a panel of experts from diverse backgrounds to discuss the potential for new global trends in CSR in the region: Daniela Barone Soares, CEO of Granito & Capital, a Brazil-based consultancy working on accelerating the impact economy; Cristina Bruce, Government Relations Manager for the Americas at mining company Anglo American; Anne Lindsay, Lead Analyst on the private sector for international development charity CAFOD; and Dr Jessica Sklair, Stipendiary Fellow at ILAS whose research focuses on CSR and philanthropy in Brazil. Oliver Balch, a journalist and PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge, chaired the event.

Presentations from the panellists emphasised the importance of corporate social responsibility in Latin America, and of businesses recognising the impact both negative and positive that they can have on local communities and environments. This accountability is important from a human rights perspective, and is also critical to a company's capacity to operate. A common theme amongst the panellists was a questioning of the very term 'corporate social responsibility', which holds some paternalistic connotations. CSR is now shifting from a philanthropic to a more collaborative approach, and is characterised by the diverse ways in which it is put into practice.

Discussion amongst the panellists and questions from the audience broached a number of issues, including the role of government and of state-owned companies in CSR, and the role that big businesses practising CSR have to play in peace building, taking the example of Colombia.

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