GFDD on Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability: “Natural environments and communities are essential elements for businesses interested in creating successful sustainable strategies”

May 14, 2015

GFDD, the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic, and the National Supermarket Association organized a meeting in New York as part of Dominican Week 2015 to discuss Corporate Social Responsibility and commerce between the Dominican Republic and New York, with a focus on sustainable development.

Promoting sustainable development as well as encouraging exchange for collaboration and progress is an essential part of
GFDD’s institutional mission. As part of this mission, the Foundation supports Dominican Week, organized each year by the American Chamber of Commerce in the Dominican Republic (AMCHAMDR). Now in its 23rd year, GFDD has jointly organized two events. The first, which was held on May 12th at GFDD offices in Washington DC, promoted the goal of establishing networks and fostering partnerships among talented young representatives from international and governmental organizations,
universities, private companies, and non-governmental organizations, as well as top Dominican business leaders.

Today’s objective was to promote Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in trade between the Dominican Republic and the United States, especially New York. Samuel Collado, founding member of the National Supermarket Association (NSA), gave the welcome speech at the event, which was held at NSA headquarters in Long Island. Following Mr. Collado, María
Victoria Abreu, representing Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD), gave the opening remarks in her capacity as Manager of International Relations and Socioeconomic Development Projects.

Following these opening remarks, Jean Alain Rodríguez, Director of the Center for Export and Investment of the Dominican Republic (CEI-RD in Spanish), talked about “the importance of commercial relations between the Dominican Republic and the United States, in
particular New York City.”

Later, William Malamud, AMCHAMDR executive vice president, gave a presentation entitled “Commerce and Corporate Social Responsibility at a Glance.”  Louis Tejada, Vice President of Sales for Goya Foods, talked about the company’s successful experience with CSR concepts.

Finally, Rodolfo Fuertes, president of NSA, gave a talk entitled “Lessons learned by NSA in terms of CSR
and Trade with the Dominican Republic.”

“Reinventing ourselves and moving toward new solutions”
Manager of International Relations and Socioeconomic Development Projects of GFDD, María Victoria Abreu, discussed the in-house publication of the book, “Towards Sustainable Development and Green Economy in the Dominican Republic,” a practical guide for everyday life and businesses in a national
and international context, which was published last September. “In this publication we stress how, as a civilization, we have progressed in so many aspects and grown in many ways. However, we now face the challenge of sustainability in the way we live, produce, and consume.”

The challenge, explained Ms. Abreu, is a huge opportunity as well as a huge responsibility. “We can reinvent ourselves and move toward solutions that will make our
businesses successful, fill our lives and those who come after us with wellbeing, health, joy, and great opportunities for the future. Or we could reject the need for change, ignore the wake-up call our planet is making, and allow these destructive patterns toward the ecosystem, essential for our survival, to continue unabated.

Ms. Abreu proposed a question to the audience: Why are we talking about sustainable development at an activity on corporate social responsibility
and commerce? “Because we firmly believe that to achieve the full potential of trade growth between the Dominican Republic and the United States, especially New York City, and for this to lead to effective and efficient CSR initiatives, it must be based on a vision of sustainability.”

As an economist, Ms. Abreu explained that this meeting confirms the inspiring vision Dominican Week has shown since it began, with its integrative approach of bringing
together the business elite of the Dominican Republic with the Dominican Diaspora in the United States.

“It is a great opportunity,” she continued, “to reflect on the real importance of public-private partnerships and the role of civil society for sustainable development: the most successful companies in the world have understood that natural environments and communities that surround them are essential elements when it comes to planning
successful sustainable strategies for our businesses as well as for our family and personal lives.”

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