The Sustainability Frontier
Edited by Urs P. Jäger and Vijay Sathe
Chapter 10: No trade-off
The challenges and actions relevant to Latin American (Latam) companies are to develop profitable and scalable sustainability strategies in their core business. These strategies can leverage existing strengths in Latam countries, such as abundant natural resources and family-centric businesses that are in some ways more socially and environmentally aware than many of their North American, European or Asian counterparts. Such strategies not only represent new profit opportunities; they are also important pathways to social and environmental responsibility in countries where civil and government institutions have struggled to meet challenges such as corruption and the widening gap between rich and poor. In this chapter, we propose a ‘no-trade-off ’ model for embedding sustainability in Latam businesses. Such a model is different from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach taken by many Latam companies in which profits are earned only in compliance with social and environmental laws, with any additional CSR efforts limited to charity or philanthropy. A tradition of paternalism in Latam countries has long supported corporate philanthropy as a way to deal with economic and social crises (Gutiérrez and Jones, 2004). The ‘no-trade-off ’ model is also different from the triple bottom line (TBL) approach, in which environmental and social targets are balanced or traded off against profit targets. With its three overlapping but distinct bottom lines, the TBL approach implies that economic performance must be somehow constrained by the pursuit of social and ecological targets.
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