By Bruno De Nicola, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – On November 17th, USAID and +UNIDOS (Mais Unidos) held a Workshop on Social Responsibility Partnerships with more than 30 U.S. companies presenting over 50 of their social projects. The event was held at the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) in Sao Paulo.
The workshop’s goal is to establish new partnerships between U.S. companies operating in Brazil for the implementation of corporate social responsibility programs. “Mutual development brings mutual growth and prosperity,” a motto for those who took part of the event.
During the workshop, business men and women from over 30 U.S corporations shared social responsibility programs, seeking mutual aid for improving life conditions in Brazil. 77 potential partnerships have been identified, which will be further discussed during the workshop’s second session in February.
USAID/Brazil representative Alex Alves seemed very pleased with the outcome of the meeting and hopes to see some fruitful results soon. Last year IBM and Dow partnered to provide computers for Dow’s social program called “Ambaixadores do meio ambiente” (Environment Ambassadors).
Mr. Alves believes that the workshop is a great way for companies to tighten their business relations as well, “company managers get to know each other and exchange their market views”. According to Mr. Alves, “one thing leads to another, and then it just happens… We call that the Multiplier Effect” he says, “when social oriented meetings lead to a general business development”.
Created in October 2006 by the U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, the +Unidos Group is a partnership between the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Brazil through its U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and American companies established in Brazilian territory. +Unidos seeks to promote visibility for its member’s investments in environment, social and economic-related projects, as well as to promote corporate social responsibility among different sectors of Brazilian society.
USAID (United States Agency for International Development) history goes back to the Marshall Plan for the reconstruction of Europe after World War II and the Truman Administration’s Point Four Program. Back In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed the Foreign Assistance Act into law and created USAID. Since then, it has been the most important U.S. agency for extending assistance to countries recovering from disaster, trying to escape poverty, and engaging in democratic reforms. USAID priorities in Brazil focus on environment, health, job market access to disadvantaged youth, clean energy, and corporate social responsibility programs.
Among the members of the +Unidos group are popular U.S. companies like: Coca Cola, Google, IBM, Nike and Visa. Hopes are high for the 77 potential partnerships established last week, which are expected to come to a more tangible stage during the second round of the USAID/Brazil and +Unidos workshop, scheduled for February 10th.