Social Responsibility and Sustainability as a vocation for public service
Social Responsibility and Sustainability as a vocation for public service

In 2021 it will be ten years since the publication of the European CSR Strategy (2011-2014). This guideline led to the launch of the Accelerating CSR in Public Companies project, which brought together the Ministry of Labor and Immigration, the companies Adif, Emasesa and the Port Authority of Valencia, and eight regional governments (Andalusia, Asturias, Catalonia, Galicia, the Balearic Islands, Murcia, Navarre and the Basque Country). Under the technical secretariat of Forética, this group developed pioneering initiatives such as the Guide to Responsible Public Procurement, the first CSR study on public companies and an agreed script as an internal tool for the Good Governance Report.

From then until now, much has changed in terms of the relevance that Corporate Responsibility has taken in public companies. CR, CSR or CSR has been reinforced at the national level with public initiatives, such as the Transparency Law or the Public Sector Contracts Law and in the international context with the approval and implementation in 2015, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations Organization.

But what has not changed in ten years is our goal. From the public companies we continue to aspire to provide the best possible public service. We work every day to make people's lives easier, improving the service we provide and optimizing it as much as possible by making resources as efficient as possible, we owe it to the citizens, our ultimate shareholders. And to achieve this excellence it is essential, today more than ever, to insist that Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability be incorporated into the strategy, operations and processes of the organization. This is the only way to respond to what the public expects from this type of company.

After the first joint project in 2011 ended, the group of colleagues from the public business sector that made it up never lost contact or stopped sharing concerns, challenges and professional needs. It remained active informally, growing in number of components, until in 2018 it was decided to take a new step forward and resume the collaborative project under the umbrella of Forética. With the formalization of the Sustainability and CSR in Public Companies Action Group, a collaboration project that some of us had been working on for years was once again made official. The advantages of sharing and exchanging knowledge are indisputable. The alliances with shared goals and values defined by SDG 17 were already in place. Joining forces allows us to anticipate upcoming trends, as well as to lead and give visibility to the work done. The ultimate aim is to contribute to improving the public service provided and, in short, to boosting Spain's competitiveness and the competence and leadership of public companies by implementing Corporate Responsibility in their daily activities.

The current context and the great uncertainty in which we find ourselves once again place public companies in a scenario in which we will have to demonstrate that we are serious about our commitment to sustainable development. In crisis situations, transparent and ethical management and a medium- to long-term vision will help us to continue working to meet the challenges of the 21st century: the fight against climate change and the defense of the environment, the reduction of inequalities, including gender inequality, and making our cities more accessible, and together, it will be easier.




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