Volume 2, 2005
Perspectives On International Corporate Responsibility
Roberto Gutiérrez, Audra Jones
Effects of Corporate Social Responsibility in Latin American Communities
A Comparison of Experiences
Five different Latin American experiences help us to understand the impacts of corporate social responsibility on communities. We focus on communities composed of low-income populations to compare types of interventions, their main characteristics, spaces for community participation, and some results and impacts. Some of the findings indicate that (a) a company’s enlightened self-interest in its CSR program ensures its commitment to the program and the program’s sustainability; (b) community involvement from the outset in defining a project increases the probability of success, since corporations cannot assume they understand the needs of a community by taking them at face value; (c) projects do not create untenable expectations in local communities when they consider the whole life cycle and the sustainability of the investment after an appropriate exit strategy is executed; and (d) financial resources are only part of the equation because corporations can have enormous impacts with limited financing if programs are well defined and supported.