Companies that have embraced the 2030 agenda are speeding up sustainability and the positive impact on society and the planet
Spanish companies view sustainability as a key priority when managing their business and clearly understand that the 2030 Agenda is enabling them to accelerate the impact on people and the planet, and to move forward in the fight against climate change, in reducing inequality and in becoming more transparrent. “They are a prime example of the commitment being shown to the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.” This is the conclusion reached in the report titled “The contribution of Spanish companies to sustainable development in Ibero-America,” which was recently presented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, and which 17 global companies took part in, including MAPFRE, in a bid to raise awareness of the contribu¬tion we are all making toward sustainable development in all the countries we operate in.
The work highlights several projects by virtue of which MAPFRE is contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals in the region, especially SDG 1 (End poverty), SDG 3 (Health and well-being), SDG 4 (Quality education) and SDG 10 (Reducing inequalities). It also reflects MAPFRE’s commitment to other goals, including 1, 2, 5, 11, 13 and 17 through its Corporate Volunteering Program, in which 11,300 employees and family members worldwide are taking part with the aim of improving the well-being of the most disadvantaged people in society.
Companies should create not only material wealth, but also ethical and above all human wealth. MAPFRE is working toward this goal in some 50 countries because it is a company that has also pledged to generate rewards for society. The company has made clear on several occasions that there can be no business without ethics; a principle that governs everything it has been doing for the past 90 years or so and that allows it to protect the social footprint, i.e. improving the well-being of people who live in the communities where MAPFRE operates. This is precisely what gives it its main competitive edge.
“The 2030 Agenda can and must help change the world, and at MAPFRE we are fully committed to its objectives, which are ultimately everyone’s duty and commitment, requiring us all to take part and seek solutions.”
This much was said by Clara Bazán, Group Head of Sustainability at MAPFRE, during a debate that also featured Manuel Muñiz, Secretary of State for Global Spain, and other experts on the matter. Clara Bazán also pointed out that “the post-COVID era forces us to review and prioritize sustainable development goals, focusing on people, the planet and prosperity, leaving no one behind.” She was also optimistic on this particular subject. “The pandemic shows us that we can work together. Our talent and solidarity has flourished in response, clearly showing us that only through the collaboration of all public and private agents, third sector players, civil society and citizens will we be able to meet the huge challenges in store.” She added that MAPFRE and Fundación MAPFRE have contributed over 200 million euros to help the economic recovery, protect jobs and provide the resources (in particular health care equipment) needed for society to overcome this pandemic.
Health and equality
Among MAPFRE’s good sustainability practices in Ibero-America, the Healthy Company Model stands out, within the framework of which MAPFRE Week takes place, which is highlighted in the report, and which is aimed at promoting physical activity, healthy eating and mental well-being. It also highlights the Company’s commitment to diversity and equal opportunities. The company has a workforce comprising 84 different nationalities¬ (cultural diversity), of which 55 percent are women and account for 40.8 percent of the positions of responsibility within the company (gender diversity). In addition, employees of the Group span five generations (generational di¬versity), and people with a disability make up 2.5 percent of the total workforce (functional diversity).
Spanish companies: 160 million in social investment
Social investment in Ibero-America by companies such as MAPFRE, Banco Santander, Telefónica, Inditex and Iberdrola amounted to around 160 million euros in 2018. Over 13 million people benefited from the 9,000 social projects and endeavors of the 17 Spanish companies mentioned in the report in their bid to improve the world. Together, they employ more than 360,000 people across all countries on the continent, the second largest recipient of Spanish direct investment, with 148.64 billion euros of stock, equivalent to 29.5 percent of foreign investment. The six countries that feature in this report account for just 26.1 percent. In all of them, Spain is the first or second biggest investor in the world.
Inequality, climate change and transparency
Making sustainability policies part of day-to-day business is a given and has now become a “factor for competitiveness and differentiation,” as well as a focus of business opportunity, a “key attribute in business management.” The report argues that the public is becoming “increasingly concerned” about inequality, human rights, transparency, climate change and the impact of technology on social transformation.
Spain, an example of excellence
MAPFRE, BBVA, Acciona, Banco Santander, Iberdrola, Repsol, Inditex and Telefónica are just some examples of the “high level of commitment” to achieving the SDGs shown by the large Spanish companies to have collaborated on the rep¬ort. All of them have actively incorporated the principles of the Global Compact and the goals of the 2030 Agenda into the day-to-day management of their business. Most of them demonstrate a “high degree of maturity” in managing ESG (environmental, social and gover¬nance) criteria, a value shared by companies with a significa¬nt presence in Ibero-America; the subject of this document.
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru —the main Ibero-American countries where Spanish companies are present and which have been picked out for this report— have voluntarily pledged to implement programs that will enable them to comply with the 2030 Agenda, and have done so at the highest governmental level. All these countries sit mid-table when it comes to the degree of attainment of the 2030 Agenda, i.e., ranging from 31st (Chile) to 78th (Mexico). The SDGs on which the greatest progress has been made are 1 (End poverty) and 4 (Quality education).
More urgent challenges
The current environment presents numerous challenges for com¬panies, including climate change, the greatest challenge of our time, followed by the circular economy, stakeholder management, demographic challenges, gender equality, and digiti¬zation.