Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Question of the Day: 5/17/17

How does the free zone fit into Costa rica's sustainable development? Use examples from today's company tours to support your answer.

Costa Rica's Free Trade Zone Regime is a set of incentives and benefits granted by the Costa Rican government to companies creating new businesses in Costa Rica. It offers tax incentives and benefits to the company in exchange for thenm creating business in the country.  This program has proven to be extremely beneficial to both the business and the country's sustainability goal. 

Today we visited several businesses in and around the San Jose area.  The businesses ranged from large multi million dollar firms to smaller locally owned and operated businesses.  All provide a similar value to the country - SUSTAINABILITY.

We visited a souvenir manufacturing company.  This company manufactures and sells souvenirs mainly made out of wood.  Much of he wood available for this production comes from deforestation efforts.  Deforestation has long been a huge problem in the country of Costa Rica but it is getting better.  The fact that most of the materials for this business comes from deforestation does not support the sustainability of the country. However, the business in general supports the sustainability of Costa Rica by providing employment opportunities for local workers.  When locals are employed they are able to support their families, afford education which can lead to future sustainable opportunities, and produce a product or service which could potentially promote the country to people outside of the country.  Simply keeping people employed plays a huge role in achieving sustainability. 

Another company we visited today was VMWare.   VMWare provides cloud and virtualization software and services that makes it possible to partition a single physical server into multiple virtual machines. We had the privilege of speaking to one of VMWare employees that described to us how wonderful it is to work with this company.  She was an amazing presenter and she reiterated to me that outstanding performance in any workplace starts with the heart.  People are the center of most businesses - whether it be employees or customers.  Connecting to people has to be genuine and sincere before any of the buainesss aspects can flourish.  VMWare supports sustainability by encouraging its employees to be better people.  Better people at work as well as outdid of work.   The cycle is carried down to our children and our children's children.  Thus creating a sustainable value and work ethic that the entire country can benefit from.   The presenter used an example of how she applies her work values (EPIC) to raising her daughter and she is certain that her daughter will grow up to give back to society  as she is being taught. 

The third business we visited today was Thomson Reuters.  This company is also a beneficiary of Costa Rica's Free Trade Zone Regime.  The business has a very minute footprint on the environment because they are an "information company". They sell knowledge.  The fact that their products and services do not harm the environment supports the country's sustainability effort.   Thomson Reuters promotes employee development by providing their employees the opportunity to learn a second language through a special employee program.  This opportunity directly adds to the sustainability of the business and he country as a whole.  If a person is bilingual, they are a more valuable asset and will likely instill the same values in their children witch will potentially keep the cycle going.  They discourage overtime work hours because that does not support a work / life balance for employees.  Another thing that Thomson Reuters does in support of sustainability efforts is offering transportation for their employees to the business district from residential areas.  This reduces their evrinmebtal footprint and supports sustainability of the country as well.  


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