Talking about Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is not something new, but something that more attention is being paid to in recent times, and that is that companies Today they have understood that with their actions they can worsen or improve their own future, and it is in this sense that an awareness process is taking place where three dimensions are combined: the economic, the environmental and the social.
Sustainable development as a source of global debate
Since the XNUMXs, the UN has been interested in studying how this interrelation between economic development and protection of the environment should take place. She set herself the goal of achieving constant and regular economic growth over time, which was socially just and ecologically viable.
Thus, the idea is put forward that for sustainable development to occur there must be a balance between the economic, social and Environmental
and that current generations must respect future generations, leaving them sufficient resources for their enjoyment, considering first of all that human life can continue indefinitely, that human beings as individuals can develop without our actions destroying diversity, complexity and functioning of ecological systems life supports.
Likewise, the World Tourism Organization, understanding that it also plays an important role in ensuring that logical reasoning occurs and that far from destroying it is built, it was proposed in August 2004 that “The guidelines for the sustainable development of tourism and the practices of management sustainable are applicable to all forms of tourism in all types of destinations, including mass tourism and various tourism segments ... "
And it defines that for tourism to be sustainable it must
- Give optimal use to environmental resources that are a fundamental element of tourism development, maintaining essential ecological processes and helping to conserve natural resources and biological diversity,
- Respect the sociocultural authenticity of host communities, preserve their architectural and living cultural assets and traditional values, and contribute to intercultural understanding and tolerance and
- Ensure long-term viable economic activities that bring well-distributed socioeconomic benefits to all actors, including stable employment and income-earning opportunities and social services for host communities, and that contribute to the reduction of poverty, pointing out, in addition, that sustainable tourism must also report a high degree of satisfaction to Tourists and represent for them a significant experience, which makes them more aware of the problems of sustainability and fosters sustainable tourism practices in them. " (OMT)
In essence, sustainability has become a point of debate in any agenda and reason for various publications in which theories arise, are confirmed or discarded, and where each according to the discipline, paradigm or ideology that represents greater weight to one variable or another, there is no consensus to clarify what it really means.
El strategic thinking and competitive advantages as supports for sustainability
It is then that we must look in all directions, especially if it is assumed that Sustainability has been the object of Insights
in the most important world grandstands and also understand that small and medium-sized companies must focus on putting into practice various alternatives that contribute to their sustainability, since it constitutes the foundation of every act that must occur at any level, but at the same time. It also becomes the most affected one, if the different policies are not applied consistently.
It was until very recently, it may well be said, that the traditional approach to business management was based on the original model of Porter's competitive strategies, the essence of which was that the advantages derived from the creation of a position based on differentiation. and in the costs
, or those who considered that the advantage was in the assets and capacities that they have accumulated throughout their existence. However, although they are functional, they do not say how to maintain those advantages.
Creation and maintenance
The competitive advantage of any organization is a continuous cycle, where the company, after examining itself, must contrast where its greatest strength is, because each of them, in addition to being incrementally transitory, follow the "Law of Nemesis" which means that each One encloses its own destruction in itself and this means that each advantage identified by the competitor will try to neutralize, equalize or exceed it, leading to the fact that they cannot be permanently maintained, but must be replaced by others.
It is then up to the modern manager to look for new sources of competitive advantage that make his company sustainable and not to focus his forces on seeking or believing that he will find advantages for life.
Five dimensions and one goal: sustainability
Recently, when I was defending my research topic for the culmination of a doctorate in management
business, addressed the role of gastronomy in society and emphasized that eating is a biological need that does not take into account age, ability to pay, creed and sex; it came to constitute a way of social exchange.
He also defended the hypothesis that gastronomy is a form of identity of peoples, it is one of the heritages that identifies and allows to recognize a community or a nation and more than a relationship between man and nature, it becomes a form culture in society that implies the exchange of forms of intracultural communication, strengthening the links between them. In this way, the act of ingesting proteins, minerals and vitamins takes on other nuances as it becomes a mixture of actions that defend and enrich the identity of peoples.
When generally speaking about sustainability, three dimensions are linked: the economic, the ecological and the social. However, I am of the opinion that there is an important implication of the cultural and political dimension; and that is the sense in which I base myself to reformulate or rethink that process of interaction, because in my opinion all the actions that are generated based on sustainability must consider those cultural and historical traditions of the peoples and together with it the impact it has the government's own ability to make the best strategic
without interfering in that propi that the company has to achieve its objectives.
To be consistent with my approach, and then I join all those authors who defend their disciplines and paradigms, and although I have already implied it in the course of this reflection, I contribute my own theory on Sustainability, adding to all this process of interrelationships between the economy, ecology and society, those that must occur with culture and politics and, which I reflect in what I have called the Circle of Sustainability, which I summarize below:
So that scarce resources can be adequately distributed and satisfy human needs, convinced that future generations will not be affected, governments must dictate measures that condition the adequate use of available natural resources that favor the development of nations and that in correspondence respond to the historical traditions of each town and in turn engage individuals generating jobs and incentives for them to be protected
Sustainable gastronomy. Reality and not utopia
One of the main assets of a gastronomic company comes to constitute the image that it is capable of maintaining before its public and society, from the efficient use of human, technological and financial resources, being, in particular, the face of what above, the offer of food and drinks that is made, without leaving aside the conservation and care of all those natural resources that are made available to them.
It is logical that changes are constantly occurring in the sector and that these changes are coupled with those that occur socially, technologically and humanly. These three variables are interrelated, and it is that from the moment a technological medium appears, it impacts on social development and it is the man himself who evaluates, executes and transforms that technology.
The effect produced by the mass media (radio, cinema, television and internet) cannot be left aside by supplying proven or supposed information, which sometimes requires time to be confirmed or refuted, but which certainly generate a change mentality.
When man has access to this information, he processes it and, based on his interpretation of it, establishes measures to take advantage of it, preserve it or avoid it. Thus, for example, through this information that is acquired daily, groups of clients have emerged such as those who only consume foods that do not affect nature or those who seek those that contribute to their diet, just to give a couple of examples. But not only the impact of the information has an effect on the consumption of food and beverages, but the customer begins to ask questions such as lighting, climate, noise level, and how these affect them.
It is then that, based on the aspiration of every gastronomic entrepreneur, it is based on the existence of a public to whom they can offer their attractions and satisfy a need, a desire or supply an expectation, which together with it will provide the necessary income to be able to satisfy your needs as a company and stay competitive in the market by acquiring the means necessary for your own development, I dare say, that gastronomy should focus on its steps towards sustainability.
How to know if we are a sustainable company?
This is a complex enough topic, because its assumptions not only respond to mathematical calculations, but its basis lies fundamentally in the awareness that is on the matter. However, inferring that we are all convinced that we must and want to work to turn our companies into sustainable companies, I am going to present some ideas about the indicators, associate them with the concept of sustainability and in turn adapt them to gastronomic activity.
The use of indicators is a common practice in any company that provides general information, but which come to constitute tools in the process of management
and that allow, based on their results, to adopt corrective or improvement measures.
An indicator is valid when you know what you want to measure, have relevant information (only the necessary one) and synthesize it objectively so that the results can be evaluated in the same way.
It must be clear what sustainability or sustainability is, this concept should not be used coldly or as a cliché to use it when necessary, being convinced that the concept of sustainability and each indicator associated with it has its origin in the ecological field and environmental (Hughes, 2002) but in which the other components (cultural, social, economic and political) should not be ignored
As there is no universal list of universal and only accepted indicators (Bakkes, 1994 and Mesera, 1999) and an indicator describes a specific control process, they must be sensitive to the perceptions of the agents involved in its development, in such a way that the results obtained by their application are easily interpreted.
It should be clear that the results obtained are not always coincident, nor are the results obtained in the same way.
In this sense, I will now present in a very synthetic way each of the indicators that I propose:
Economic indicators: They synthetically, quantitatively, meaningfully and legitimately reflect the state of reality in the economic sphere. In the field of gastronomic activity, it is necessary to know how to define them, understand what those indicators are that reflect this economic reality, given that many indicators of this type are mixed with other branches or dimensions and it is sometimes very difficult to determine them.
Cultural Indicators: they reflect the impact of the activity on the cultural development of the community, as well as those resources that contribute to the organization being seen as part of it and a reason for its visit, it also reflects the image that is perceived of training in matter of culture of that community from the existence of various cultural media that provide such training.
Environmental Indicators: An environmental indicator is a variable that has been socially endowed with an added meaning to that derived from its own scientific configuration in order to synthetically reflect a social concern with respect to the environment and coherently insert it in the decision-making process ”(OECD , 1998)
Social Indicators: They refer to those that allow measuring the impact of the activity on the development of that community itself.
Political Indicators: they seek to measure the capacity of the organization or the community to establish their own laws and make decisions, that is, the capacity to govern themselves and how the laws dictated by the government influence or comply.
In this way, and taking into account the above, I propose the following indicators for the activity in general as an example:
- Private investment of restaurant in relation to the investment that is executed in the sector.
- Number of community providers contracted relative to the number of providers contracted in the restaurant.
- Amount of tax contributions to the community against total income of the restaurant.
- Number of community hired employees in the restaurant with respect to the total number of employees in the organization.
- Number of public means of transport that allow the facility to arrive against the total public means of the community.
- Parking capacity in the restaurant against the number of vehicles that attend it
- Number of access roads to the restaurant.
- Existence of restaurant's own web pages.
- Architectural values of the installation
- Cultural resources available as added value to the service
- Typical dishes of the community that are offered in relation to the general offer
- Own drinks produced in the community in relation to the total of drinks offered
- Quantity of cocktails with indigenous drinks against the total number of cocktails offered
- Restaurant electric energy consumption in relation to the general consumption of the population.
- Energy produced by cogeneration in the restaurant against the energy consumed.
- Daytime energy consumption in relation to nighttime energy consumption.
- Water consumption in the restaurant in relation to the community's water consumption.
- Daytime water consumption in relation to nighttime consumption.
- Noise level generated by recording in relation to noise generated by live groups
- Quantity of gases generated in relation to total production.
- Number of laws enacted in the community in relation to the total number of laws enacted in the country
- Amount of the restaurant's own measures in relation to the laws dictated by the community and the country
Dear administrator, the above indicators only serve as examples, personally I call on all of us to become aware of the issue, identify those that allow us to measure the impact of our organization in the community and work to make them increasingly sustainable, without losing the seal that identifies us or compromise our future generations. Let us contribute to the development of our communities, protecting them, adding value to them and using their resources appropriately and rationally.