Votorantim’s Social DNA

Shareholders and Corporate Executives Define the Essence of the Social Performance of Votorantim and Its Companies

DNA is the acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid, the name given to a molecule that encodes the various characteristics of each individual. Transposed metaphorically from the field of biology to the corporate world, the concept of DNA aims to express the essence of a company, the code that determines its attitude and reality. This was the idea behind a project that the Institute coordinated in 2018 with the support of a specialized consultant. The result: a document that explains Votorantim’s guidelines for social performance and aims to guide and extend the legacy built by the Votorantim businesses.

For the CEO of the Votorantim Institute, Cloves Carvalho, the definition of the Social DNA becomes increasingly relevant given the moment the company is at and its future prospects. Since 2015, Votorantim has been operating under a new governance model in which Votorantim S.A functions as the business portfolio manager. Cloves points out that this role includes making investment and divestment decisions. “From the moment you have this reference [DNA], it becomes easier to assess what can be added to the investments from a social standpoint and what to do. In divestitures, the DNA also serves as a reference on what you are selling.”

Some of the themes addressed in the document include:

This new document integrates Votorantim’s DNA, which already contained management guidelines for the Finance and People Management areas. The construction process included an in-depth analysis of Votorantim’s social performance history over a century of activities in Brazil, the current sustainability management models at Votorantim, and future perspectives and needs. The analysis also considered internal references (values and purposes) and external references (e.g., global social challenges).

The preliminary stage included two information collection activities. The first was a diagnosis of social practices (see table) in 159 operations of Votorantim companies in 11 countries, for which 136 leaders were consulted. The second was a series of face-to-face and telephone interviews with approximately 40 leaders, including shareholders, CEOs and directors.

Of the leaders interviewed, 30 took part in the workshop to draft the first version of the document, which was later submitted for adjustments and approval by the Votorantim Institute Board and the VSA Board of Directors. Finally, in the first quarter of 2019, Votorantim’s Social DNA was approved by the Board of Directors of Hejoassu, VSA’s parent company.


Themes: social investment; volunteering; site visitation program; community relations structure; dialogue forum; stakeholder relations; receiving complaints and compliments; conflict management.

Assessment of 156 operational units of eight companies: Votorantim Cimentos, Votorantim Energia, Nexa, Companhia Brasileira de Alumínio (CBA), Fibria, PazdelRío, Legado Verdes do Cerrado and Acerbrag.

136 leaders of operations consulted