Local Values, Global View: Building Reputation Capital in a Multistakeholder World-The Brazilian Way

By Patterson, John; Almeida, Ana Luisa | Communication World, November-December 2011 | Go to article overview

Local Values, Global View: Building Reputation Capital in a Multistakeholder World-The Brazilian Way


Patterson, John, Almeida, Ana Luisa, Communication World


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Brazil's unique blend of government involvement in business and society's interest in corporations giving back to the communities in which they operate gives the country's globally minded companies a built-in advantage in navigating the current global reputation economy. Why? Because multistakeholder engagement is second nature to them. As opposed to the customer experience (products and services) or shareholder value (financial performance) mantras of most American and European multinationals since the 1990s, Brazil's best companies have focused on building reputation platforms that address all seven dimensions of corporate reputation--products and services, innovation, workplace, governance, leadership, citizenship, and financial performance--telling both a product story and an enterprisewide narrative to different stakeholders. Despite the Fact that chemicals, banking and energy are among the most reputarionally challenged industries in the world, that hasn't stopped Braskem, Itau and Petrobras from building strong reputations in their home country while starting to take the necessary steps to connect with local stakeholders abroad.

Braskem | Making "green plastic" a sustainable reality with stakeholders

In less than a decade, Braskem has emerged as one of the largest petrochemical companies in the world, building a position in specialty chemicals that now rivals DuPont and BASE The company was formed in 2002 as part of a major restructuring of the Brazilian petrochemical industry. At that time, Copene merged with other petrochemical companies owned by the Odebrecht and Mariani groups to create Braskem.

Managing the reputation impact of rapid industrial consolidation is not unique to Braskem, but the degree to which the company continually reinforces and communicates its reputation platform to internal and external stakeholders in Brazil is. Braskem does so through its 2001 Founding Principles and Values:

* Contribute to Brazilian social and economic development through technological improvements, export growth and foreign currency generation, and offer high-quality products that improve the standard of living for Brazilians.

* Foster growth and innovation in the Brazilian petrochemical industry by adding value to plastic products and the plastic production chain, following free competitive market practices.

* Uphold sustainable development principles.

* Increase the relationships with the local communities where the company's units are located, preserving the environment and capitalizing on regional competitive advantages and regional skills.

* Value the employees who build and bring life to the company.

* Establish a solid partnership with suppliers, based on a mutual commitment to operational efficiency and access to competitive technology.

* Manage the company's financial resources responsibly and transparently according to best practices of corporate governance.

Since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, Braskem has moved to consolidate its leadership position inside Brazil as well as usher in an era of global expansion and innovation. In 2010 the company acquired Quattor, the second-largest petrochemical company in Brazil. That same year it opened the world's first green ethylene plant in Triunfo, which will produce 200,000 tons annually of "green plastic" made from sugarcane. Outside of Brazil, Braskem became a major player in the U.S. through the acquisition of Sunoco Chemicals, for US$350 million in February 2010, and, this past July, of Dow's polypropylene business in the U.S. and Germany, for US$323 million.

The company's master plan over a decade of successful post-merger integration is all about reputation: competing on culture. Each new Braskem employee learns about the three-volume Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology series (TEO in Portuguese), written by Norberto Odebrecht, one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Brazilian history, whose family is a majority owner of Braskem. …

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