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IDB launches CSR Innolabs in partnership with leading companies in Latin America

Innovation laboratories in private sector social responsibility

  • Cemex, Citi, Gas Natural Fenosa, Microsoft, and PepsiCo join with the Inter-American Development Bank and Forética to promote the initiative
  • The alliance of companies participating in CSRAmericas in Quito on May 23 and will address issues related to sustainability and competitiveness

A group of leading Latin American companies, including Cemex, Citi, Gas Natural Fenosa, Microsoft, and PepsiCo, have joined with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to create innovation laboratories in corporate social responsibility (CSR) called CSR Innolabs.

The objective of the initiative is to promote a clear link between CSR and competitiveness. It will create a forum for a shared vision of private sector leaders in the area of social responsibility. The firms will learn together and share innovative examples for overcoming present barriers to CSR with the aim of creating more competitive and sustainable models.

"The IDB is pleased to support this key initiative for private sector development with social responsibility," said IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno. “CSR Innolabs will clearly help to eliminate barriers in this field and disseminate ideas and successful experiences of leading companies in Latin America and the Caribbean."

The CSR Innolabs project will be carried out with technical assistance from Forética, a leader in promoting and developing CSR tools.

CSR Innolabs seeks to go beyond conventional models of promotion and dissemination of CSR by creating systems of knowledge generation and innovative solutions to the challenges of sustainable and responsible management in the region. It will also create a space for collaboration and create opportunities to improve efficiency, competitiveness, and integration of CSR into all aspects of business operations.

Base of the pyramid, social entrepreneurship, and climate change

The project began last March with the first incubation workshop on "Business at the base of the pyramid," in which participants discussed business models and work approaches in which companies can incorporate gender in their core model business.

In this way, company representatives together with IDB experts discussed initiatives to support the creation of businesses at the base of the pyramid. These initiatives ranged from support to small farmers in Haiti, to programs to build homes in poor areas in Mexico, to initiatives to promote employment and new businesses in Colombia. Also discussed was the role companies play in promoting financial, technological, and professional support to spur the generation of businesses and microenterprises.

CSR Innolabs will also hold special sessions in May and September on issues related to social entrepreneurship and climate change. The results of these sessions, as well as examples of leadership in these areas, will be presented in a series of interactive online documents being developed by the consortium of companies and organizations.

CSR Innolabs is presenting a workshop on "Sustainability management within the company," at the Inter-American Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility CSRAmericas 2012, which is being held in Quito, Ecuador, May 21–23. At the workshop, firms participating in CSR Innolabs discussed the challenges in the management of CSR within firms, interaction with senior management, and the role of CSR and sustainability in the process of change.

New initiative linked to competitiveness and CSR

CSR Innolabs will promote trends and synergies, identify good practices among participants, and position itself to respond to sustainability challenges of each CSR issue. CSR Innolab results will be presented as a roadmap that sets forth key findings, trends, and practical examples.

The objectives of the initiative are the following:

  • Create a group of leading companies that share methodologies, tools, and examples to help disseminate CSR strategies to firms in Latin America.
  • Facilitate collaboration among businesses that encourage innovation in solving regional challenges.
  • Strengthen CSR business leadership in Latin America in collaboration with the IDB and groups of companies in the region with excellent CSR practices.

CSRAmericas conference

The Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group and Ecuador’s Ministry of Coordination of Production, Employment and Competitiveness organized CSRAmericas 2012 - Inter-American Conference on Corporate Social Responsibility. CSRAmericas is being held in Quito, Ecuador, May 21–23, 2012.

CSRAmericas, the premier event on responsible business practices in Latin America and the Caribbean, seeks to promote sustainable and equitable development in the region. Each year CSRAmericas attracts some 1,000 participants from business, government, and civil society organizations from over 35 countries. In the past nine years, CSRAmericas has provided a platform to share innovative trends and propose practical approaches to business competitiveness.

About the Inter-American Development Bank

The IDB is a major source of long-term financing for Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded in 1959 and with a present membership of 48 countries, the Bank helps to accelerate the economic and social development of its 26 borrowing member countries in the region.

As one of the largest regional multilateral development institutions, the IDB collaborates with many partners through its provided through its Office of Outreach and Partnerships.


CEMEX is a global company that produces high-quality materials for the construction industry and reliable service to customers and communities in America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and Asia. Its network of operations produces, distributes, and markets cement, ready-mix concrete, aggregates, and related products in over 50 countries. It conducts business operations in some 102 countries. The company encourages the development of countries in which it operatesby creating innovative and sustainable solutions for construction to improve the quality of life.

About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments, and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including banking and consumer credit, corporate banking and investment, securities brokerage, and asset management.

About Gas Natural Fenosa

Gas Natural Fenosa is the largest integrated gas and power company in Spain and Latin America. The company is active in more than 25 countries and has about 20 million customers. One of its major challenges as a multinational energy leader is to meet the energy demand in the developing world and produce power more cleanly, safely, and efficiently. The company policy on corporate social responsibility affirms and makes available its commitments to stakeholder groups in the areas of customer focus, commitment to results, the environment, concern for people, safety and health, social commitment and integrity. 

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo is a world leader in the food and beverage industry. The company has a net income of more than $65 billion and a product portfolio that includes 22 brands that individually generate more than $1 billion in annual retail sales. Its main businesses―Quaker, Tropicana, Gatorade, Frito-Lay and Pepsi-Cola―produce hundreds of delicious foods and beverages that are appreciated around the world. PepsiCo is committed to sustainable growth through its investments in a healthier future for people and the environment, which also means a more successful future for PepsiCo. The company calls this commitment "Performance with Purpose": PepsiCo is committed to providing a wide range of foods and beverages to suit local tastes, find innovative ways to minimize its impact on the environment by conserving energy and water and reducing the volume of its packaging, provide excellent working conditions for its employees, andrespect, support and invest in local communities where it operates.

About Forética

Forética is an association of companies and CSR professionals whose mission is to promote a culture of ethical management and social responsibility by providing the knowledge organizations and tools to successfully develop a competitive and sustainable business model.

Forética ia a member of the Board of CSR Europe. It is also a member of Eurosif partner, Organizational Stakeholder of the Global Reporting Initiative, and a member of the Enterprise Network Forum. It owns the Standard SGE 2, which implements and certifies socially responsible management.

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