Cablegate: Colombia: Follow Up Response On Previous Ace Finalists
DE RUEHBO #3571/01 3511920
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 171919Z DEC 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1650
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
UNCLAS BOGOTA 003571
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT BEXP ECON EINV ELAB ETRD SENV
SUBJECT: Colombia: Follow Up Response on Previous ACE Finalists
REF: STATE 125948
1. Summary. Per reftel, Post contacted the following finalists of
the Secretary of State's Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE):
Occidental, SURevolution, General Motors. All three companies are
still working in Colombia and continuing their corporate social
responsibility programs since being selected as an ACE finalist.
2. Below are responses to reftel questions:
3. Is the U.S. company still working in the region?
- Occidental: Yes
- SURevolution: Yes
- General Motors: Yes
4. What community-based programs and corporate social
responsibility activities has the U.S. firm continued/added in the
region since being selected as an ACE finalist/winner? Please
refer to eight ACE criteria as applicable:
5. Good Corporate Citizenship: Oxy continues to promote its
corporate social responsibility programs since being selected as an
ACE finalist. With the support of the Colombian government and
Ecopetrol, Oxy's "El Alcaravan" Foundation continues to promote
social investment and self-sufficiency in the Arauca Department.
An estimated 30,000 people, more than 10% of the Arauca population,
have benefited from the Foundation's education programs. The
programs include "A Crecer," an initiative aimed at reducing
illiteracy in the communities surrounding Cano Limon. The region's
illiteracy rate has dropped from 35% in 2005 to 25% in 2007, and it
is projected to fall further to 15% by the end of 2009.
6. Contribution to Overall Growth and Development of the Local
Economy: In 2007, El Alcaravan created 49 field schools to provide
a forum for farmers in rural areas to exchange sustainable
agriculture techniques. These field schools continue to operate,
thanks to Oxy and Ecopetrol, which have jointly invested more than
$30 million in social programs in Arauca alone.
7. Compatibility/Contribution to Local Science and Technology:
The El Alcaravan Foundation is currently working with the GOC's
educational programs, "Ondas," on a science and technology project,
in which 2,800 Arauca children participate.
8. Responsible Environmental Protection and Practices: Oxy has
proven to be an exemplary environmental steward in Cano Limon and
its surroundings. The company established the first landfill in
Colombia to comply with international safety and quality standards.
Working with neighboring communities, Oxy reforested more than 650
hectares of land adjacent to its operations. With Oxy's
assistance, scientists identified 780 species inhabiting Cano
Limon. Oxy also discovered households near La Cifra-Infantas that
had connected illegally to abandoned oil wells to obtain cooking
fuel. Oxy worked with Ecopetrol and local government to launch a
safety campaign to educate the population about the danger of such
connections and established a community-operated propane
9. Good Corporate Citizenship: Since 2002, Sur's ten-person team
in Bogota has identified endangered indigenous artisan communities
in Colombia's remote conflict zones that have unique, intricate
handicraft techniques demonstrating their cultural heritage. Sur
currently works with 1500 Colombian indigenous artisans
highlighting the history of their products, protecting the valuable
natural resources that are needed for production, enhancing quality
and design, and ensuring adequate manufacturing capacity.
10. Contribution to Overall Growth and Development of the Local
Economy: All of Sur's work is done with a keen eye on economic as
well as social sustainability. Due to Surevolution's support, more
than 3,000 high-quality handicrafts are now available in high-end
retailers across the globe, including Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren
Home Store, Neiman Marcus, Calvin Klein, Barneys, and even the
Museum of Modern Art store. Products produced by Sur's partner
artisans in Colombia are also sold outside the United States in
Japan, Singapore, Italy, France, Hong Kong, and Mexico, with other
markets opening rapidly.
11. Responsible Environmental Protection and Practices: All of
Sur's activities seek to protect the fragile natural environments
within which their partner communities and organizations live and
work. All of their products are non-toxic, more than 90% are
biodegradable, and all are produced with organic materials
complying with the standards of the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's National Organic Program.
12. Good Corporate Citizenship: Since 2000 under the GM Plus
Voluntary Program, more than 600 GM workers have volunteered more
than 24,000 hours to assist social projects and work directly with
the communities in areas such as house building, education,
recreation and environmental endeavors. GM-Colombia has donated
more than US$ 146,000 to different charitable institutions.
13. Contribution to Overall Growth and Development of the Local
Economy: GM offers monetary donations to neglected communities in
order to improve their education and employment conditions.
14. GM -- in association with Sofasa, CAF, Mydas, Colciencias, and
Fomipyme -- is training and educating auto parts store owners on
international best practices. The training will be particularly
handy when the bilateral U.S.-Colombia trade accord is implemented.
15. Exemplary Employment Practices: GM employees also contribute
to programs that enhance the quality and coverage of education in
Colombia. The employees donate a percentage of their salary to
help finance these programs.