Being in business is about more than just the bottom line, according to the Costa Rican-American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM), which this week recognized eight companies and one newspaper for their “corporate social responsibility.”
During a ceremony Tuesday in Heredia, north of San José, AMCHAM unveiled the winners of this year’s Contribution to the Community Awards, an initiative started by the chamber 10 years ago to encourage businesses to carry out educational, social and environmental programs.
The grand winner in the large business category was the Compañía Bananera Atlántica, a branch of Chiquita Brands International, for its “Nature and Community” program, which protects more than 100 hectares of forest and educates citizens about environmental responsibility.
Ecodesarrollo Papagayo S.A. won the grand prize in the medium business category for its program “PapagayoPeninsula,” which promotes responsible development in the PapagayoGulf, off the northern Pacific coast.
Wal-MartCosta Rica was honored in the social responsibility category for its program “FertileLand,” while the beverage company Florida Ice and Farm won in the environmental category for its recycling and dengue prevention program. In the education category, Microsoft Costa Rica took home the prize (all winners received elegant glass trophies) for its “Alliance for Education” program, and the Arias & Muñoz law firm won as a medium business in the education category for its ELW program to teach English to lawyers.
AMCHAM gave honorable mentions to Sykes Latin America for its program “Planting Hope” and Procter and Gamble Costa Rica for its “Eliminating Barriers” program.
The chamber also recognized the first winner of the Alberto Martén Chavarría Award created this year for media coverage of corporate social responsibility. The honor went to Carolina Acuña, of the daily La Prensa Libre.
The luncheon ceremony was attended by guest of honor President Oscar Arias, who bestowed the winners their trophies and seized the opportunity to speak to the roomful of businessmen and women about his tax-reform initiatives.
“The tax reform my government is proposing can be seen as an extension of the principles of corporate social responsibility you all represent,” Arias said.