Celebrating Ten Years of Corporate Governance Leadership

PROMINENT LATIN AMERICAN COMPANIES HAVE RECOMMITTED THEMSELVES TO IMPROVED CORPORATE GOVERNANCE AND PROMOTING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR GOVERNANCE ENHANCEMENTS.

These companies, which, together form the Latin American Companies Circle, addressed key governance issues at their annual meeting in Washington, D.C, hosted by IFC.

They celebrated a decade of achievements, including participation in several public events and webinars to increase the understanding of the importance and value of corporate governance in the region; the production of the Practical Guide to Corporate Governance: Experiences from the Latin American Companies Circle; the series of papers that offer insight on highly relevant governance topics—such as annual general meetings, board evaluations and corporate governance of company groups—to other companies in the region and around the world. At this meeting, the group reviewed a forthcoming addition to this series: a white paper on compliance and ethics functions, based on their own experiences. 

During her opening remarks, Saran Kebet-Koulibaly, IFC Vice President for Corporate Risk and Sustainability, acknowledged the valuable work of the Companies Circle. “We have a growing body of evidence to support the links between good corporate governance and better company performance, helping to attract investment; increase the efficiency, functionality and productivity of internal operations; enhance reputation; and reduce risk. The Companies Circle has contributed to this knowledge base by sharing their governance journeys and the benefits that have resulted.”

The group acknowledged shifting dynamics in the region, including economic uncertainties, regulatory changes, and the emergence of the new common market, the Mercado Integrado Latinoamericano, which will require listed companies to standardize their governance procedures. Several noted the role they have played as agents of corporate governance change beginning in 2005, at a time when corporate governance in Latin America was not well-known among businesses.

Initially drawn together by IFC and OECD over their shared commitment to improving their own companies’ governance practices, the group continues to demonstrate thought leadership as the governance landscape changes. During the event, members participated in sessions on business ethics, compliance, and the tie-in to good corporate governance.

Now, more than ever, should companies be attending to governance issues, presenters said. As the region faces some economic headwinds, the role of corporate governance in creating value becomes even more important.

Claudia Drago, Chair of the Companies Circle, noted that when the Companies Circle was founded a decade ago, the region faced different issues—including how to cope with rapid growth.  “While market conditions may have changed, the message that good corporate governance delivers business value remains the same.  These diverse and market-leading companies have been key influencers of change in the private sector, and they have the opportunity to play a similar role going forward, as they continue to advocate for corporate governance best practices,” she said.  

The Companies Circle is an initiative of IFC and has the support of Switzerland, through its State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and OECD.

The Latin American Companies Circle members are: Grupo Los Grobo (Argentina); Grupo Algar, CPFL Energia, Embraer and Ultrapar (Brazil); Grupo Argos and ISA (Colombia); Florida Ice & Farm Co. (Costa Rica); Grupo Compartamos (Mexico); Buenaventura, Ferreycorp and Grupo Graña y Montero (Peru).

Follow the Latin American Companies Circle in Twitter: https://twitter.com/companiescircle
 


Related Links:

Press Release: IFC Hosts Companies Circle: Corporate Governance Champions Celebrate Achievements, Focus on Emerging Challenges

Photo Album: Latin American Companies Circle 10th Anniversary Meeting, Washington, D.C., September 8-9, 2015 (Flickr)

Website: IFC Corporate Governance Program in Latin America and the Caribbean

 

September 2015