Letter from Miguel Pereda
The idea of promoting social action within the company took shape more than 18 years ago. It was more than just a response to a trend. Rather, it was a response to the motivation to return to society some of what it had given to us, and to provide the GL team with a tool for channelling these social concerns. It was also a response to the conviction that companies should have a soul, and that strengthening this soul is both an obligation and a significant challenge.
Initially the “social action committee” managed the financial and human resources to support social projects presented by the different team members.
The definitive boost came from the prize we received for best social action plan, awarded by the Fundación Empresa y Sociedad and presented by King Felipe VI, at the time Prince of Asturias.
After this initial project, two foundations were set up, the Fundación Altamira and the Fundación GL. The former was founded as the result of an initiative by various GL shareholders, and the latter arose from the the social action committee’s move towards a more institutional direction. With their goals, people and resources coinciding, both foundations merged in 2010 into what is now the Fundación Altamira Lar.
Deciding where to concentrate our efforts was an interesting exercise. Research and education were considered the two great forces transforming our world and, after much reflection, both of these fields were selected. Eventually however, we concluded that research would require high levels of technical and specialist resources, so we decided to concentrate our efforts on education in its broadest sense. Naturally, our relationship with the property and construction sector in countries where we were active was, and continues to be, an important bonus.
A business management system was implemented which was identical to the systems used for managing other business areas. The tools selected included project and project manager evaluation criteria, responsibility and monitoring systems, and of course, results measurement systems. They were channelled with much enthusiasm and generosity by our collaborators who became part of a highly participatory and open system.
The ability to contribute our experience in other fields and to involve the company’s collaborators has increased over the years and has provided great added value. Furthermore, the support we receive from other foundations and specialised NGOs who share their know-how and work has become vital for us.
To illustrate what can be achieved in the sphere of social commitment, we have included in this report some examples of the initiatives we have supported in recent years. We have carried out more than 140 projects involving over 300 people at a cost of more than €2.5 million, which, although it is a drop in the ocean, we feel very proud of.
Besides being a good summary, we hope that this document provides a sufficiently solid basis for the promotion of new activities in the future.