The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Conclusion to Part II: The challenges and opportunities for achieving viability, legitimacy and competitiveness
Urs Jäger and Vijay Sathe
The preconditions for a company’s success are social and market institutions that work. As Peter Drucker pointed out in a collection of his writings spanning over 65 years (Drucker, 2003), businesses need a ‘functioning society’ to be able to make profits. But many emerging countries, including the countries in Latin America, have weak government institutions and markets that do not work well. In these countries, as described in Part II of this book, companies must learn to operate without the benefits of a fully functioning society. To be able to function at all, leaders of companies operating in emerging countries like those in Latin America must find solutions to basic everyday challenges like erratic electricity, bad roads, low education, unstable political environments, poverty, criminality and much more. In Latin America, an investment such as the construction of a community road may not be a matter of corporate social responsibility as much as it is a ‘business necessity’. Such investments may be essential for the company to be able to operate at all. Without good roads, for instance, the trucks of a logistics company cannot move with efficiency or speed. It is as simple as that. In developed countries, companies can count on relatively good roads, stable electricity services, access to water, social services from the government, functioning financial markets, well-developed education systems and much more.
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