ACTORS FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR LEARNED ABOUT THE SUSTAINABILITY EXPERIENCE OF UTALCA

THE GROUND COVERED BY OUR INSTITUTION AND ITS COMMITMENT IN THE FIELD OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY WAS EXPLAINED BY PRESIDENT ALVARO ROJAS IN A SEMINAR WHERE HE WAS INVITED TO SPEAK.



August 10, 2016

President Alvaro Rojas emphasized well-being and quality of life as a shared topic by all the institutions of Society, in his presentation in the "Sustainability from Two Prisms: The Public and the Business Role " seminar, organized by the Transelec company and “Qué pasa” magazine.

Rojas was invited to give a lecture on the issue from a University perspective and in his speech he analyzed how the concept of social responsibility has evolved since the beginning of the past century, and the way in which the Corporation has assumed its work in that context.

To situate the issue of sustainability, the president addressed its evolution, the new trends in corporate responsibility, his view on the State and the private sector roles and the commitments of the Universidad de Talca in this area.

Among the most important milestones, regarding the first point, he mentioned the creation of the ILO, in 1919, and he said that, in a second phase, in the 50s and 60s, it arose the awareness about the ability of the private sector to help solve social problems, while in the 70s and 80s the concepts of social sensitivity and also business ethics appear "which today is a discussion focus in our country".

"The issue of well-being and quality of life should be a goal of all the institutions that go beyond the mere State role, since it also covers businesses," he said.

The president pointed out that at the end of last century that role began to gain more importance within organizations and it began to produce the first social reports in the companies. "And we are living now in a fifth phase, which started at the beginning of this century, where the sustainability reports in all organizations acquire relevance, a documentary demonstration that shows what each company does in that area. Talks begin about sharing values between the State, businesses and communities where they act", he said.

Trends

Regarding the new trends in sustainability, he highlighted the progressive search for the use of green energy and saving energy, strategic private-public partnerships, eco design and analysis of products and processes lives and transparency not only in terms of public resources, but also in terms of what organizations are doing in their environment to achieve a more sustainable development. He also referred to the progress in research on waste management.

"Sustainability in the business model becomes a subject of design; it is no longer possible to continue growing in an aggregate way, but the dimensions of economic, environmental and social aspects must be considered", he said and then he added that in the management and impact of the communities, proactivity has a growing value. At the same time he emphasized social innovation as part of a new culture of business.

The president said that “companies can make large contributions, and consider social responsibility into their business strategies and people as the center of these strategies. Not only should the State worry about people".

Another factor he talked about was the confidence with which society expects entities to work, an issue which has become complex. However, he argued that this imbalance regarding confidence "can be recovered to the extent that our country can produce adequate public policies".

Commitment

Concerning the commitment of the Universidad de Talca, Alvaro Rojas said that a decade ago, the institution implemented a curriculum reform introducing social responsibility in the training of all degree programs, which are also contained in many master’s degrees. In addition, the Department of Engineering possesses an important focus on renewable energy; the University is part of the network of sustainable campuses, it has a botanical garden of 18 hectares in its Talca Campus and it has institutes and technology centers that provide social and environmental solutions to business problems.

Among other actions, he also talked about the Coastal Maule Hub project, about the young professionals program and the contribution made from the Conicyt Maule Explora project.

In terms of environmental management, the president emphasized, among other aspects, the preparation of the Fourth Report on Sustainability, developed with the GRI methodology.

Prorector Pablo Villalobos announced that the Universidad de Talca has a Social Responsibility Office, linked to the environment in various ways.

At the seminar, which took place at the Hotel Casino de Talca, also spoke the Undersecretary for the Environment, Marcelo Mena; the Intendant of the Maule Region, Pablo Meza, and Executive Director of the Association of Electric Companies (EEAG), Rodrigo Castillo, as well as the general manager of Transelec, Andrés Kuhlmann.



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