16 May May 2012 1844 16 May 2012

AVSI at CSRAmericas 2012, 22 May, Quito, Ecuador

“Árvore da Vida”, or “Tree of Life”, a joint venture between AVSI and FIAT Brazil in the area surrounding the FIAT plant in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, was selected to be presented at CSRAmericas 2012, a global event organized by The Multilateral Investment Fund (FOMIN) of the Inter-American Development Bank.

The CSRAmericas is the largest CSR Conference in Latin America and the Caribbean each year, attracting over 1,000 participants from leading businesses, governments and civil society and this year will take place in Quito, Ecuador, from 21 to 23 May 2012.
Marco Antonio Lage, Director Corporate Communications, FIAT-Chrysler, Brazil will present AVSI-FIAT’s experience, results and lessons learned within the “Árvore da Vida” project in the panel “Bridging the Skills Gap”,  22 May, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.
Moderator: Carmen Pages-Serra, Unit Chief Labor Markets, IBD
• Branka Minic, Director Global Corporate & Government Affairs, ManpowerGroup, United States
• Alejandra Solla, Directora Adjunta, Fundación SES, Argentina
• Marco Antonio Lage, Director Corporate Communications, FIAT-Chrysler, Brazil
• Donaciano Domínguez Espinosa, Deputy Coordinator, Servicio Nacional de Empleo, Secretaría del Trabajo y Previsión Social, Mexico
“Árvore da Vida” developed out of the interest of FIAT Brazil to invest in the educational resources of the communities surrounding its plans in the hope of contributing to a reduction in violence and increasing the availability of qualified employees. Since 2004, Árvore da Vida has provided a social and educational path for youth that effectively keeps young people engaged in school and prepared for the transition to work.
From having a handful of employees coming from the vicinity of its plant in Belo Horizonte, today FIAT employs over 1,000 youth from the neighborhood.
Some results:
  • Improvement in the life conditions of almost 13,550 highly vulnerable people.
  • 1,300 youth successfully inserted into labor market.
  • Community development approach, integrated across sectors, and participatory.
  • Specific attention to professional training and introduction to the world of work.
Lessons learned:
  • Partnership among public, private businesses & communities is essential for CSR.
  • Corporate Social Responsibilty as part of businsses model:  with Árvore da Vida, Fiat has concentrated their CSR strategies into the issue of youth employment and in its factory area. From a logic of philanthropy, Árvore da Vida has turned into a sustainable development intervention.
  • Priority of education and youth employment: the project is focused on youth and work. Engagement in the sector cannot be limited to job placement initiatives but must enter into education more broadly, helping youth to recognize the value of education and the dignity of work. The private sector responds enthusiastically to this proposal: 1,200 youth have received stable contracts from FIAT and firms in its supply chain.
  • Fruits of partnership can be unexpected: Other small business activities have been started as a result. The Cooperarvore Cooperative is a women-owned business that recycles discarded materials from the FIAT factories in Brazil and produces bags, key chains and other gadgets.
  • Centrality of the person: sustainable development always originates in the person: manager, entrepreneur, public administrator or person living in poverty. It is this aspect that allows initiatives to reach the “base of the pyramid.”
Read more about Árvore da Vida:
Download the project summaryDownload the project presentationRead the publication CSR Third Sector