September 25, 2023

Nine Medellin Companies Among Colombia’s Top-25 Social Investment Leaders

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Semana Sustainability magazine and project-development consultant Jaime Arteaga & Asociados jointly announced June 25 results of a prestigious nationwide competition to determine Colombia’s top social-investment leaders.

Medellin-based companies took nine of the top-25 spots in the “Indice de Inversion Social Privada 2020” (Private Social Investment Index) competition, including electric-power transmission giant ISA; cement-production giant Argos; power producer Celsia; insurance giant Grupo Sura; banking giant Bancolombia; foods manufacturer Grupo Nutresa; gold-mining powerhouse Mineros SA; motorcycle assembler Incolmotos Yamaha; and higher-education leader EAFIT University.

Bancolombia noted that its 12th-place ranking among the top 25 was best among all financial institutions in Colombia — and an advancement of 11 places over its 2019 ranking.

Actions promoting “sustainability and corporate responsibility” as measured by indices such as the Global Reporting Initiative were among the keys to the 2020 ranking, according to Bancolombia.

“In gender equality and inclusion, 56% of employees linked to our organization are women; 58% of our management team is female; and since March 2020 the first woman has joined the Bancolombia board of directors: Sylvia Escovar, President of [fuels-retailing giant] Terpel and the business-woman leader with the best reputation in Colombia, according to Merco,” according to Bancolombia.

The company added that its Bancolombia Foundation organization benefited more than 45,000 people with “projects of social, environmental or cultural interest,” while its participation in initiatives such as the Carbon Disclosure Project, Climate Action 100+, Global Investors for Sustainable Development (GISD) and the Dow Jones Sustainability Index also boosted its ranking.

USAID, AmCham, KPMG Contributors

For this year’s competition, USAID got additional advice from the Colombian American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham),  the Council of American Companies (CEA) as well as global corporate-practices consultant KPMG.

In total, 102 companies participated in this year’s competition, including 26 U.S.-based companies, according to USAID.

In Colombia, those 102 companies collectively made social investments last year totaling more than COP$1.3 trillion (US$348 million), “equivalent to the entire budget of Bogotá’s social-integration sector,” according to USAID.

“Every day there are a greater number of companies interested in allocating resources for the development of social projects that benefit a significant number of communities,”  the agency added.

Among U.S. companies participating in this year’s competition: coal-mining giant Drummond; bottled-beverages behemoth PepsiCo; paper manufacturer Kimberly-Clark; pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer; and satellite-TV pioneer DirecTV.

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