The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Chapter 12: Shared value clusters*
Between 2003 and 2012 Latin America has lived through an unprecedented period of stability and positive economic performance. A region once associated with high inflation, macroeconomic instability, guerrilla uprisings and oppressive dictators has grown steadily in spite of the 2008–09 crisis. With the exception of Argentina and Venezuela, most countries achieved high levels of economic growth while maintaining low inflation. Growth in Latin America was of great help to many global companies that were over-exposed to the European crisis, such as Santander, TIM and Fiat – a far cry from the times when Latin American operations needed several years of cross-subsidies from their headquarters before being able to break even, let alone generate profits. This period of economic growth is generating new opportunities for businesses and governments. For global businesses, it provides the opportunity to expand Latin American operations in ways that not only generate profits but also help to advance to the sustainability frontier and perhaps push it out further. For governments, it provides the opportunity to tackle the structural problems that continue to affect the region, ranging from poverty to infrastructural deficiencies and excessive red tape. Many countries in the region are attempting to do so by promoting high-technology industrial clusters (Ciravegna, 2012).
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