CSR

A responsabilidade social empresarial é essencial para a evolução dos Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável da ONU. Como parte do compromisso de retratar iniciativas bem-sucedidas que promovem a inclusão social e a preservação do meio ambiente, entrevistamos Henrique Hélcio, Coordenador do Grupo de Trabalho Coprodutos da Usiminas, um dos maiores complexos siderúrgicos das Américas. Nessa conversa com o Horyou blog, Henrique fala do projeto Caminhos do Vale, que viabiliza a pavimentação de estradas rurais no Vale do Aço, em Minas Gerais, a partir de rejeitos do processo industrial. A iniciativa já aplicou mais de 1 milhão de toneladas utilizadas em cerca de 600 quilômetros de estradas rurais, na restauração de 50 quilômetros de vias urbanas e na recuperação de 35 pontes, encostas e áreas degradadas.

Estrada pavimentada pelo programa Caminhos do Vale, da Usiminas
Estrada pavimentada pelo programa Caminhos do Vale, da Usiminas

Qual o envolvimento da Usiminas com os objetivos de desenvolvimento sustentável? A qual deles o projeto Caminhos do Vale é direcionado?

O Caminhos do Vale está inserido no Programa de Sustentabilidade Usina Circular da Usiminas, que, como o próprio nome sugere, tem como base o conceito de Economia Circular e se apoia nos três pilares da sustentabilidade. Ao todo, o Usina Circular conta com quatro vertentes que têm como objetivo reduzir a emissão de CO2, ampliar a eficiência, evitar o desperdício e conservar ou aumentar a vida útil das matérias-primas, bem como inovar para garantir a sua durabilidade.

No caso específico do Caminhos do Vale, que conta com a coparticipação das prefeituras, a Usiminas destina adequadamente o material originado de seu processo industrial; incentiva a implementação de projetos socioambientais, a exemplo da recuperação de 684 nascentes e da proteção da fauna e da flora, como contrapartida à doação do agregado siderúrgico; e promove a melhoria do acesso viário das comunidades, especialmente as rurais, o que impacta diretamente a economia, a educação, a segurança e a qualidade de vida dos moradores.

Pavimentação de Santana do Paraíso
Pavimentação de Santana do Paraíso

Além do Caminhos do Vale, há outros projetos de sustentabilidade social e ambiental? Pode citar alguns?

Sim, a Usiminas conta com diversos projetos e programas voltados para essa temática. Especificamente em relação ao Usina Circular, podemos destacar o projeto Junto e Misturado – Baia de Mistura de Resíduos. A partir da revisão de práticas operacionais, adequação e adaptação de equipamentos já existentes, o projeto tornou possível a captação e reciclagem da lama fina originada na produção na Usina de Ipatinga. Antes depositada em aterro industrial, a lama reciclada passou a ser utilizada em substituição ao uso de minério e antracito no processo produtivo da siderúrgica.

A reciclagem da lama trouxe resultado nos três pilares da sustentabilidade. No ambiental, houve a redução da disposição do material em aterro industrial, assim como a preservação de recursos naturais como minério e antracito, devido à menor demanda. O projeto também fez a diferença para a comunidade, com redução de 60% ao mês no número de viagens de caminhões em vias públicas (redução de 550 viagens/mês) durante transportes de material para o aterro industrial. A produção também se tornou eficiente com economia anual de R$ 3,4 milhões em aquisição de matérias-primas.

Equipe da Caminhos do Vale
Equipe da Caminhos do Vale

Na sua opinião, qual o papel das empresas em transformar positivamente o mundo em que vivemos? Acredita que o setor privado está se envolvendo mais com questões sociais e ambientais?

Acredito que já houve avanços nesse sentido, mas ainda estamos longe do ideal. Especialmente no setor industrial, vivemos mais de dois séculos dentro do modelo linear de produção, que é o extrair, fabricar e descartar, sem uma preocupação sobre o que estamos deixando de herança para as gerações futuras. Mudar paradigmas e adotar ações realmente efetivas no caminho do modelo circular, especialmente na maneira como nos relacionamos com matérias-primas e resíduos, são movimentos que ainda podem encontrar resistência dentro das empresas. Ainda assim, é inegável que o tema está mais presente do que nunca na agenda corporativa e que estamos criando novos espaços de discussão e ação. Acredito que as empresas podem e devem retornar às comunidades e ao meio ambiente tudo aquilo que é de certa forma retirado deles no processo industrial.

Horyou apoia as iniciativas de inovação social que ajudam o mundo a alcançar os Objetivos de Desenvolvimento Sustentável

An active member of our platform and an engaged social enterprise, beyondBeanie was created in 2014 to support Bolivian women artisans by re-selling their products and reverting part of the profits to social projects. In the following interview, Beyond Beanie’s founder, Hector Alvarez, tells us his story, makes plans for the future and talks about the importance of social entrepreneurship. An awarded member of SIGEF, Hector shares his experience of our most awaited event!

The beyongBeanie team with Bolivian children
The beyongBeanie team with Bolivian children

– What’s the story behind the foundation of beyondBeanie?

In summer of 2013, I travelled to Bolivia to go on a backpacking trip together with my wife and friends, among whom was Paty, a long-time friend and co-founder of the project.  While there, I noticed that there were a lot of women doing knitted handicrafts such as beanies and scarves on the streets of La Paz and the way they made their living was through the sale of these items to tourists. I could see that their lives were not easy.

I bought a handful of different hats from a few different artisans which I took back to Europe to give as souvenirs to my friends and family. While I was giving them my gifts, I talked to them about my experience lived in Bolivia as well as showed them pictures of the women who made these products. My friends immediately found this a cool concept to actually know who made their beanie. This positive reaction from my friends gave me motivation to want to start a social enterprise which would help provide much needed jobs to artisans in Bolivia. After a lot of planning, bB was finally born in March 2014.   

In addition to empowering artisans, Paty and I decided to expand the concept to not just provide work to artisans but also to help street and orphan children with every item sold. That’s how they idea of 1 hat = 5 meals was born which then expanded to other products, such as as bags = school supplies, bracelets = dental care, etc.

Bolivian artisans working on their products
Bolivian artisans working on their products

– You have a strong link with Bolivian artisans. How have you been supporting them with the project?

The artisans who make our products are all women from difficult backgrounds, such as women who have been abandoned by their husbands or boyfriends with two to five children to raise as single mothers or women who have had no opportunity to get an education and can barely read and write.

Through beyondBeanie, we are able to provide these women with the opportunity to work from home while taking care of their children.  Furthermore, we also support their children with school supplies, school uniforms, meals etc.

– How do you think you can empower these artists by selling their products?

One of the important issues which we wanted to do with bB was to not just provide our artisans with work, but also to help boost their self-esteem. When we first met, many of our artisans were quite shy and had very little pride in their work. In fact, many of them had nobody ever tell them that they have an incredible talent and that they do an amazing job. Therefore, in the same way as for example a painter signs his/her paint, each one of our artisans signs her finished product. Then, clients have the opportunity to meet their artisans through our site and even send thank-you letter if they want. This whole mechanism, while quite simple, plays an extremely powerful role in boosting our artisans’ self esteem.

The project boosts the self-esteem of the artisans
The project boosts the self-esteem of the artisans

– What was your biggest accomplishment with beyondBeanie?

The biggest accomplishment is seeing how our work is helping to make a difference in the lives of our artisans, as well as seeing the lives changed of the children we support with the help of our supporters. Thanks to our fans and customers, we’ve been able to provide over 10,000 meals and are currently able to give work to about 25 artisans. Our next stage is to increase our presence at retail outlets in the USA and Europe. For this, we are networking with different agents distributors and shop owners.  

– Do you believe sustainable businesses are the future of capitalism?

I do believe so. Thanks to the internet, nowadays, people are more and more aware about everything which is going on in the world and want to play a more active role in helping change the world for the better. Companies which facilitate this role to consumers will have a clear advantage over those companies who don’t.

beyondBeanie supports  children with school supplies, school uniforms and meals
beyondBeanie supports children with school supplies, school uniforms and meals

– Horyou is now organising the 3rd edition of SIGEF. You were awarded a prize in 2014, and last year you were part of the jury. How do you evaluate SIGEF and its impact on organizations worldwide?

For us, SIGEF 2014 was key to validate our business concept as well as to have much needed initial capital to start our first production of winter hats. This is aside the incredible networking which we did with like-minded individuals. SIGEF 2015 was equally important for us! It was a great honor to be invited to be part of the jury.

I really believe that SIGEF is a great portal to network with fellow changemakers, validate ideas and even find funding!

By Vívian Soares

Eric Coly’s professional trajectory is not a usual one. After moving from native Senegal to the US to pursue a successful career in finance, he decided to make a radical change and thus created Le Dessein , a sustainable clothing company which supports African girls by using their drawings as embroidery. In addition to valuing their creative work, Coly helps improve the girls’ education through a foundation in Liberia. Ever-optimistic about the prospects of sustainable business, he shared with Horyou blog his views on social entrepreneurship, women empowerment and the challenge of providing education for girls from underprivileged communities.

Girls drawings are used as embroidery
Girls drawings are used as embroidery

What’s the story behind the creation of Le Dessein?

Hailing from Senegal, I thought I had fulfilled my childhood ambitions by pursuing a ten-year long career in Finance. Attending the UCLA Anderson Graduate School had the opposite effect of cementing my career in finance, and instead triggered a deep feeling of dissatisfaction and uncertainty about my professional trajectory. A year of self-examination led those feelings to be supplanted by a desire to enter the world of Fashion. Introduced to it at an early age by my mother, I felt like Fashion alone still would not suffice. I realized the deep impact that education had on the women of my family on a socio-economic, cultural and social level, starting with my grandmother’s introduction to college back in the 1920’s, passing through my mother and trickling down her four children, I found it to be a great addition to Le Dessein’s mission: providing the opportunity of an education for young girls from underprivileged communities from around the world by featuring their art onto our fashion.

Like Horyou’s CEO, you had a career in finance before launching your own company. What made you decide to quit the glamorous and profitable world of finance to that of a social entrepreneur?

It was about seeking a sense of pursuit and human validity in this world. My first sign of freedom came when I realized that money didn’t have the highest place in my hierarchal tower of needs. Second came a deep and painful, yet highly rewarding journey of self-introspection designed to figure out who I was exactly – since I believed that one should know oneself in order to know what one’s passion thus career could be. Last was mustering the courage to fully embrace what I was convinced would revive my life and give myself permission to execute it. I had always had a nurturing nature, and needed to find a way to honor that. What better way to do it but to be of service to courageous and brave girls who have the potential to be powerful leaders and create rich legacies?

One of the drawings used by Le Dessein
One of the drawings used by Le Dessein

Beside the drawings, the girls also design some of the clothes?

Actually not – the girls’ activities involve the drawings of the artworks which we embroider on our clothes. We will be adding the creation of jewelry into their artistic activities soon. This endeavor is about more than just the financial contribution that the girls receive. The more important beneficial attribute in my own estimation is the self-readjustment of their own value when visualizing the final product worn by the customers. This is about heightening empowerment and self esteem which are generally acquired through ownership – ownership of their art.

What is the relation between your company and educational projects for girls?

We have the pleasure of working with the More Than Me foundation, which is dedicated to educating girls in Monrovia, Liberia. They have done an excellent job after Liberia’s long war of taking young girls from the street in order to give them access to education. We work directly with them and use them as a conduit, given their expertise. Part of their duties is to adequately allocate the funds that are contributed to the girls’ education.

What is the ultimate goal of Le Dessein?

Our ultimate goal is to put 10,000 girls in school in the next ten years. The ripple effects of women and girls educated are quite far reaching. 65 million young girls are currently not in school. 40,000 girls are given away in forced marriage every day. 3 million children under the age of 5 are lost every year because their mothers are not in school. A lot of work still needs to be done in trying to educate girls and we intend to devote our full participation along with our peer partners in eradicating this issue.

An example from Le Dessein's lookbook
An example from Le Dessein’s lookbook

What is your vision about socially responsible businesses?

Highly optimistic. There seems to have been a systematic shift in the global world community in prioritizing human, environmental, animal and a slew of equally important issues. This has been reflected in the birth of a number of socially responsible businesses. Their successes have further justified the creation of new ones and given validity to the world’s appetite for consuming socially responsible products. For instance, the presumed leader in the socially responsible industry, TOMS (known for the one for one business model – they give one shoe to a person in need for every shoe purchased) has given to date over 45 million pairs of shoes worldwide. Its current annual revenue is over $400 million – in just years of existence, in not only in the competitive world of fashion, but also in the totally uncharted territory of the socially responsible world. Our future vision for this field remains high indeed.

Horyou’s tagline is “dream, inspire, act” – what do those words represent for you and your business?

These words represent the quintessential pillars of our company’s mission statement. They do not seem to mean much when taken apart, but put together they have the power to move mountains, revive cultures, and provide restoration to humanity. We fully stand by them and do our best to uphold their intended messages.

By Vivian Soares

Eric Lonergan first grabbed my attention when I came across an interview with him in an Irish Sunday newspaper. As somebody who also read philosophy and political economy at University, I’m always intrigued as to how I often look at economic issues through a completely different lens than some of my contemporaries who have studied pure finance or mathematics. Horyou, although not solely profit seeking, is an enterprise like any other with respect to having financial costs, so it is keenly aware that money, whether used for social or personal interest, is a tool of mobilization. In the interview I read, I learned that Eric Lonergan has just written a book on the philosophy of money and society’s relationship with it it. And I found myself nodding along with much of Eric’s hypotheses, so I was delighted when he agreed to sit down for a chat.

Eric Lonergan
Eric Lonergan

1) You did your undergraduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford and your masters in economics and philosophy at the London School of Economics. Subsequently, working as a hedge fund manager, do you find yourself reading certain situations or analyzing things differently to your colleagues who might have studied pure finance?

One of the challenges with education in areas like economics and finance is that you have to learn the conventional wisdom before you can identify what’s wrong with it. So I spent a lot of my time studying mainstream economics and finance – much of which has some insight. Even advocates of ‘efficient markets’ like Eugene Fama, have useful observations. That said, the most useful studying I have done, ironically, was philosophy. I learned that virtually all theories are flawed, as is a lot of ‘expert opinion’.  Financial markets are similarly unforgiving. Pure finance typically ignores the most important aspect of markets – human behavior and psychology.  

2) In your recent, highly acclaimed book ‘Money’, you make the point that money as a function should be looked at as a tool to live rather than an ability to accumulate. Was this view formed from your academic study or from seeing money at work in the real world?

Part of the reason I wrote ‘Money’ was to broaden our understanding of money and finance. One of the intellectually fascinating aspects of money is that it underpins human progress, but it is also a source of many problems. I tried to explore this theme more broadly. Finance connects us all at a real human level – pensions are inter-generational transfers, mortgage lending connects depositors and young households etc. And at the other extreme, millions of people are inter-connected through global financial markets. I have seen both sides at work in the real world. At a positive level, global investors can try and set high standards for global governance, encourage long-term thinking in policy-making, and finance international trade and the exchange of technology and ideas. These are all positive forces. The other side of this interdependence is that you can have destructive financial panics – which I witnessed first-hand in the late 1990s, during the Asian crisis, and again in 2008. The challenge for policy-makers is to harness the benefits of trade and finance and mitigate these risks – which primarily means developing policies to prevent or shorten recessions.  

3) There are hundreds of stories of people leaving finance post crises, when the greed of the system was exposed, including Horyou’s own CEO who held director positions at JP Morgan and Bank of China. As someone who still works in the industry, have you seen a definite culture shift/change in priorities? How does conversation within the industry compare to pre-financial crisis?

I do think there has been a cultural shift, encouraged also by a major shift in the regulatory environment, which should be welcomed by the industry. But it would be naive to think that an industry mainly focused on making money will foster a culture of generous, socially-minded, individuals! The main challenge for the regulators, who have a difficult task, is to ensure that the incentives of participants in the industry are aligned with doing the right thing, and ultimately the interests of broader society. 

Money: The Art of Living
Money: The Art of Living

4) Horyou have just launched their global social currency “Spotlight”, which matches investors to social enterprises they want to support. We see that there is a huge appetite for impact investing, green finance etc. What are your views on these areas? Will environmental/social returns ever override profits for investors or as consumers become more discerning and regulations tighten, do you think they even have a choice to ignore more sustainable investment patterns?

My thinking on this has been heavily influenced by knowing and working with Nigel Kershaw from the Big Issue, and one of the UK’s leading social entrepreneurs and thinkers. I think social enterprises will grow in importance. In contrast to many charities, which have to devote considerable resources to fund-raising, social enterprises can be self-sufficient. And they can have an economic advantage – there is little doubt, I think, that consumers will continue to be more discerning in considering the broader effects of their actions and those of the enterprises they interact with.

5) What are the main areas you are seeing investment opportunity in, in the short term?

I try always to think in terms of the ‘long term’ – there is a lot of distracting noise in the short-term. I think one of the most interesting aspects of public markets currently – a huge fad – is what I call ‘volatility aversion’. Investor obsession with recent historic volatility as a measure of risk is causing huge anomalies in pricing. The most straightforward manifestation of this is the equity risk premium – the difference in implied returns from equities compared with government bonds. Global equities are currently priced to deliver far superior returns to government bonds over the next five to 10 years.

6) Finally, Horyou support people making impact on society for good. What impact or contribution do you want to be remembered for/still want to achieve? 

I’m too much of a philosopher to want to be remembered for anything – I’m not sure that’s a helpful ambition! I would be very happy if I could contribute to the development of policies that shorten the duration of recessions.

Eric Longeran has an interesting way of looking at the world. I could be accused of bias, considering we share many of the same views on the concept of money within society, but the more we watch economies evolve each day, the more we realise how we view money and our propensity to spend or save, is actually very much driven by human sentiment and social pressures, be it from our neighbour or the data we see in the markets. There is nothing to say that these views are right or wrong, but it is becoming more apparent that the discipline of economics is moving away from linear models and learning to adapt to the uncertain world we live in today.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

Cannes Film Festival is a unique event in many respects as indeed it is a place where movie-making royalty gather to showcase and celebrate cinema, while the powerful meet to illuminate and make a call to action on the very real life issues and stories that are changing our world. This year, I was delighted to meet Helga Piaget, former wife of Yves Piaget, CEO and President of luxury Swiss jewellery and watch company Piaget. Helga is a remarkable woman of integrity, using her voice for positive social impact. She is passionate about Ocean conservation and education of the next generation and I was delighted she took the time out to speak with me about her Passion Sea organization .

Helga Piaget
Helga Piaget

1. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Passion Sea, how did it all begin? 

Living on the coast of the Mediterranean makes you be connected with the element of water on a daily basis; you can’t help but notice how alarming the pollution of the waters has become. It made me react in founding Passion Sea, an environmental, educational and artistic project. Water is not only what we need, it’s what we are. The cycle of life, of our body is the same as the water cycle on our planet. We need clean water to survive! It is evident that we need to react!

2. Many companies are reforming their business models to reflect changing consumer patterns of demand and values. The millennial generation are more environmentally aware and proactive than the previous ones. Is this why Passion Sea focuses on educating the next generation? Do you believe that a culture change towards more sustainable behavior has to begin in the classroom?

The young generation is in charge of the world of tomorrow and will help shape its future. For this reason, Passion Sea focuses on young people through art contests, books, films, music and sports, so they become aware in their formative years, of the importance of protecting the seas, the waters into the future. Giving the children this ecological education is the only way to change behaviors on our planet and to have a chance to survive! Rivers, lakes, seas and oceans don’t need us; we need them and have to start respecting them again, like our ancestors did when they honored the waters with gods for their  purity! The population on our planet is growing and the amount of clean water is regressing! The plastic pollution of the last 50 years is slowly but surely killing the waters, and the living marine species! Without education, we will have more plastic in the oceans and in 20 years, all fishes will die!

Youth education project from Passion Sea
Youth education project from Passion Sea

3. Tell us about some of the work Passion Sea has been involved with so far? You will have an event at Toronto Film Festival?

Since 2 years Passion Sea has been spreading awareness around the Globe through it’s art contest, workshops, gala dinners, golf tournaments, books, films and a fantastic music to come! We are using all social media to bring the awareness to the maximum audience possible! Schools in many countries follow our artistic and educational program in the classrooms. By motivating the children through their own creations of a marine environment on paper, they will remember these lessons for a long time! Palm Beach, Monaco, Venice, Milan, St Moritz, Cape Town and many more locations already have a Passion Sea event ! Now we are preparing some amazing days in Toronto, Canada, on September 9/10, starting with a kid’s day, followed by a VIP Golf tournament and an evening in the beautiful Ripley’s aquarium. This event will take place during the Toronto film festival. It will be a meeting with international VIP’s from Film, TV, Sport, Business and Politics who will be listening to important speeches from Marine biologists, researchers, nutritionists and water experts in a lounge style evening around the entire aquarium, and it will be broadcast around the Planet! We are looking forward to a great party, supported by the mayor of Toronto and a number of major local and international companies!

4. One of Horyou’s key values is solidarity. Do you believe in the power of collective action to make progress? Has Passion Sea partnered with any person or organization so far? 

We very much believe in collaboration! We are linked with numerous associations allover the world, in respect with pollution, over-fishing, climate change etc. Scientists and researchers, alongside the foundation of HSH Prince Albert II are supporting our project! Together we can change behaviors! Let’s join forces and unite like drops of water to become a powerful, passion filled sea of change. Passion Sea.

5. Horyou supports people acting on their dreams. What is the ultimate goal of Helga Piaget with Passion Sea? 

Our mission with Passion Sea is to instill awareness and change habits of the global population, to restore, respect and protect the waters of our life! Every school should teach the importance of water! Let’s change the world and make it a better and more respectful place! Our own lives will depend on these changes. It is true that our own lives will depend on these changes. I think the world has woken up to the fact that conservation of our natural world is not something that should be treated with a long term view. Our people and planet are being impacted now and so the time to act is now. People like Helga and platforms like Horyou can help mobilize and raise awareness, but it is within every single persons remit to make an individual effort to be the change you want to see in the world.

Written by Dearbhla Gavin

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