As part of its commitment to education and the employability of young people in the communities in which it operates, Mercado Livre joined Grupo +Unidos, a collaborative social investment fund, thus enhancing its social impact in Brazil. The company already had an investment strategy focused on education, technology and youth employability, which demonstrates a fundamental agenda synergy with the organization.
In addition to the marketplace, the company has other units, such as Mercado Pago. Thus, in addition to facilitating online sales, they also enable digital donation, guaranteeing possibilities for actions with social impact on different fronts. To celebrate the entry of Mercado Livre into Grupo +Unidos, we interviewed Laura Motta, the company’s Sustainability Manager, who addressed topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility and the importance of corporate engagement in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Check out the interview with Laura Motta, conducted by Júlia Pimenta, Communication Manager of Grupo +Unidos:
1. What are the reasons why the Mercado Livre joined Grupo +Unidos?
Within the sustainability strategy of the Mercado Livre, we have as one of the fronts to contribute to the communities we operate through education and technology. Today, then, this is a pillar of the company’s investment strategy and this association is very much in line with enhancing this social impact on these issues and also on the employability of young people. So, there is a very strong agenda connection with the strategy that we are already playing in Latin America as a whole. As an additional information, today, in Argentina, we already have more programs related to the theme and, as in Brazil we still have few, the link with +Unidos is an opportunity to strengthen the beginning of this activity in the country.
2. What are the expectations of the Mercado Livre regarding the association, that is, what would the company like our partnership to provide?
First, we expect a lot of exchange, but also to be able to add efforts and, possibly, investments in building a shared education and technology agenda. There is an expectation of understanding shared paths to enhance impact and even avoid dispersed efforts and investments. We see, for example, that many companies today invest in education, but with strategies, at times, very specific. We seek to seek synergy and sum of efforts, I think that is our expectation. In short, there are three very important things: in addition to enhancing social impact, gaining scale and also gaining continuity. The fact that +Unidos allows, for example, articulations with the public power, increases the chances of having more sustainability of the initiatives in the long run.
3. How did Mercado Livre perform during the COVID-19 pandemic?
We started with initiatives at home, from employees working from home throughout this period, to everything that was done to ensure that products arrived in people’s homes safely. But, in addition to the operation, Mercado Livre subsidized, for two months, Mercado Pago rates to 800 CSOs in Latin America to encourage fundraising; mobilized donations through Mercado Pago to the Red Cross and to the organization Banco de Alimentos, in the lines of prevention and food security; launched a program called “Redes para o Futuro”, which is a youth training program around our distribution center in Bahia; and we adapted this entire program to the online format. So, today, we are training 120 young people on employability and development issues.
In addition, we are training both social organizations and sustainable entrepreneurs on digital inclusion issues. To support these audiences, we launched a course together with Atados for digital mobilization for social organizations, thinking about meeting donors, knowing how to manage data and, above all, having digital resource mobilization strategies. And, within our programs, we have been talking a lot about selling online with entrepreneurs. In this sense, we are also associated with the Platform Partners for the Amazon (PPA) and we are mentoring 12 entrepreneurs from the Amazon regarding online sales. Within the “Entrepreneur with impact” program, for training entrepreneurs, we are giving a lot of focus to the issue of online marketing, understanding that these programs are chances to support the digital inclusion supported by the pandemic, gaining a sense of urgency in this context.
3. What is your view regarding the themes of Corporate Social Responsibility and, from your point of view, what is the importance of this practice at this time of crisis resulting from the pandemic?
The sustainability of any company and any business, in the long run, depends on its socio-environmental responsibility and the way it relates to stakeholders in its value chain. Beyond the social issue, there is an issue that is the company’s sustainability. Today, I don’t see companies not looking at this topic. It is part of building your long-term vision. The pandemic comes to open up some social problems such as inequality, but it also reinforces the public role of companies, as the interdependence of actors and themes is very clear. The health issue, for example, concerns everyone and touches all of us. Therefore, success in tackling the pandemic depends on the contribution of all actors.
4. With Mercado Livre being evaluated as the largest company in Latin America, do you believe that there is any change in relation to what people expect as the company’s CSR practices?
Of course, being the most valuable company in Latin America reinforces the company’s responsibility and the importance of having an increasingly solid sustainability strategy. But, also, I think it is a circumstance, inasmuch as we have been having socioenvironmental investments that have been growing year by year. Our expectation is, yes, to continue growing this planning in a sustained and innovative way, beyond the circumstance. With this, we increased the possibility of generating social impact and being a reference, even. In Latin America as a whole, we expect to grow in the areas where we are already working: impact entrepreneurship; education and technology; and, from an environmental point of view, we invest in both renewable energy and electric mobility.
It is a great honor for us to have Mercado Livre within our group of member companies! We walk side by side in our central purpose of making a difference and positively impacting the trajectory of so many young Brazilians. We are very grateful for the partner and we continue with the conviction that #UnidosSomosMaisFortes.