Corporate social responsibility grows in the Cuban private sector

De Todo Un Team is a community of Cuban economic actors who practice corporate social responsibility as a lifestyle.

Photo: IPS Cuba Archive

This journalistic product is part of the special coverage New economic actors and local development in Cuba (2023-2025).

Havana, May 2.- Although it is not yet a practice assumed by the majority of economic actors, more and more members of the Cuban entrepreneurial community promote corporate social responsibility for the benefit of neighborhoods, specific social groups and environmental care.

These initiatives are born from the will of people who are owners, partners and workers of businesses, who allocate part of their income to activities with social and environmental purposes, and establish practices in that sense. They even come together as a collective.

Under this principle, the De Todo Un Team group emerged a year ago, made up of representatives of very diverse ventures.

The story is told by Ernesto López, 36 years old, a member of the Mayan artisan family business, who joined 24 other entrepreneurs, in April 2023, to celebrate World Entrepreneur Day in a home for girls, boys and adolescents without family protection. , in the municipality of La Lisa, Havana.

There could be more responsible ventures to contribute to a greater extent to the sustainable development of the nation,” says William Bello, coordinator of the Oasis initiative, which promotes the corporate social responsibility approach in Cuba.

According to him, together with the group he met in the CubaEmprende training workshops, a training project promoted by the Padre Félix Varela Cultural Center, he discovered “the need we had to help others, to rescue values ​​and that solidarity that so characterized Cuban society.”

A Whole Team is Born

At that time, De Todo Un Team emerged, “a community of economic actors who practice corporate social responsibility as a lifestyle. There are already 60 of us,” he explains.

It is made up of educational initiatives, local development projects (PDL), micro, small and medium-sized companies (MSMEs) in construction, production and sale of food, clothing and technology.

It also connects farms, self-employed workers (TCP), beauty salons, state companies and religious organizations such as the Cabildo Quisicuaba Sociocultural Project, “which was a guide for what and how to do and to whom to direct the actions,” López points out.

In his opinion, “they all have in common leaders with an excellent heart, with a sense of humanity and leadership who believe and make their goals come true. Without them, this community would not exist,” he states.

The group today focuses on several lines of action, among them, care for girls, boys and adolescents with long stays in hospital institutions and for minors without filial protection. It also provides help to older adults in vulnerable situations. (Photo: Taken from Facebook)
Improve Life Quality

De Todo Un Team focuses today on several lines of action, among them, care for girls, boys and adolescents with long stays in neurosurgery and oncopediatric institutions, as well as residents in homes for minors without family protection.

At the same time, it works in collaboration with the Humanitarian Affairs Unit of the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana, based in the Belén Convent, where a care program for the elderly is developed.

The group provides support to this age group in Old Havana, “to help not only those who live in social residences, but also in the community,” López highlights.

In addition to cultural activities and blood donations, the project carries out minor repairs and maintenance, thanks to the contribution of construction MSMEs.

“We go to hospitals, homes for the elderly and children without family protection, we fix bathrooms, electrical installations, kitchens and metalwork, we install water motors and tanks to minimize vulnerabilities,” he exemplifies.

According to López, although it is almost impossible for them to solve everything, they can “go so far as to facilitate a desired state or at least increase the quality of life.”

of an entire team
Educational initiatives, local development projects, MSMEs, self-employed workers, state companies and NGOs are integrated into the De Todo Un Team community. (Photo: IPS Cuba Archive)
The Team is family

William Bello, coordinator of the Oasis initiative of CubaEmprende, which promotes the corporate social responsibility approach, recognizes the large number of social impact actions of the Team and the growth of the actors involved.

“Today it is a big family, which includes not only economic actors, since we have 200 collaborators, people who do not have any type of business but contribute what they have to share, from clothes to soap,” he indicates.

He also explains that, as part of its growth and diversification, the group creates training lines. For example, it mentions that each entrepreneurship leader conducts workshops in homes for girls, boys and adolescents without family protection and they teach them trades as a way to prepare them for their adult life, outside the institutional system.

The work of the De Todo Un Team community radiates to the province of Holguín, in eastern Cuba, with the participation of people and institutions “to make corporate social responsibility a reality and reach those who need it most, sometimes only with the support ”, he notes.

Historian Rosandra Echavarría, 35, learned about the initiative on a trip to Havana, when a friend invited her to one of the activities dedicated to grandmothers and grandfathers.

“I had wanted to do something for a long time, but in Holguín I had not found the space. I returned to my province with that idea. A bit skeptical, I thought no one would support me. However, the institutions were the first to welcome the proposal,” says the entrepreneur.

Sometimes, MSMEs, PDL and TCP support people or groups in vulnerable situations with food, as happened during the covid pandemic. (Photo: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS Cuba)
A snowball

The scope of corporate social responsibility is unknown among the 10,962 MSMEs, 71 non-agricultural cooperatives and 1,080 PDL that appear in the registry of the Ministry of Economy and Planning from September 2021 to April 18, 2024. Some of them could also do so. the 596,000 self-employed workers.

Sometimes, MSMEs, PDL or TCP support people or groups in vulnerable situations with food, as happened during the pandemic, when numerous entrepreneurs mobilized to help both quarantined populations and medical personnel in the red zone.

Likewise, they make regular donations to people with disabilities, teach free courses on various topics, organize internships for university students or call for environmental and recycling initiatives.

In Bello’s opinion, there could be more responsible undertakings to contribute to a greater extent to the sustainable development of the nation.

Cuban economist and professor Fernando Díaz said on local television that “corporate social responsibility is not a cost, it is a return investment in the medium and long term; Nor is it something that is achieved once and for all. It is an itinerary, an achievement, a path that must be followed every day.” (2024)

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