IDB Invest along with the Compete Caribbean Partnership Facility work together to support the economic growth and private sector development in 13 Caribbean countries. As such, in the 2021, we decided to conduct an assessment to understand if and how companies with operations in the Caribbean that have consciously developed and incorporated sustainable and inclusive practices throughout their value chains are more resilient to market disruptions and economic shocks, while contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The 13 countries are Antigua & Barbuda, Suriname, Belize, Barbados, Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent.
Selected from a long list of twenty-seven (27) firms, who are part of a regional or global value chain and operate in the Compete Caribbean member countries, five (5) companies from a variety of industries including tourism, retail, and manufacturing and distribution across the region participated in the study. The research began with an analysis of publicly available information, coupled with surveys and interviews regarding the companies’ participation in the value chain and if and how they are continuously embedding sustainability concerns throughout value chains and operations.
Given that the Caribbean is i) disproportionately affected, vis-à-vis the rest of the region, by catastrophic climate events, ii) the costs of doing business is high, due to high energy and transportation costs, to name a few; and iii) that the study took place during the COVID 19 pandemic, which challenged their resilience; the main highlights of the study were:
- Larger firms, including subsidiaries of global conglomerates, are more likely to have formal sustainability policies in place, as they are provided with support from the parent company to develop policies, practices and indicators that measure their sustainability performance.
- Even in the absence of explicit policies, there is strong evidence that sustainability concerns are becoming increasingly important to firms of all sizes and sectors, and are constantly looking into their integration throughout all their operations
- Companies with sustainability practices are better able to contain the potential negative impacts of market disruptions on their value chains.
- There is an opportunity for companies to move towards more transparent practices, supported by monitoring and reporting on specific indicators
- In addition to incorporating sustainability practices throughout their operations, companies tend advocate for ESG issues through their industry umbrella groups and direct engagement with stakeholders (such as policy upgrades to promote wider use of renewable energy and establishment of recycling facilities).
If you want to learn more about best practices and recommendations to increase corporate awareness on adopting assertive polices, programs, models and decision-making at the local and regional levels in order to increase uptake on sustainable practices that ultimately enhance value chain resilience while driving impact, download the full report (available only in English, for now) here.