Review of 2018

Cloves Carvalho, CEO of the Votorantim Institute, takes stock of the year and future perspectives

How was the year 2018 for the Votorantim Institute?

It was a busy year, as usual. We maintained a portfolio of more than 200 projects managed directly by the Institute throughout the year, with a 91% delivery rate of what was planned. This is a very significant result, since our planned goals are always very ambitious, and the follow-up is detailed. We have an established management and monitoring system, and we evaluate progress together with the companies on a monthly basis.

What are the main program highlights?

From an execution standpoint, we had achievements in several areas. An important highlight was the Votorantim Partnership for Education (PVE) program. Our goal was to reach 100 municipalities, as an activity to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Votorantim in Brazil. This was a bold plan that we began to execute in 2016 in partnership with the Votorantim companies. And we did it. We went from 17 municipalities in 2016 to 51 in 2017, a three-fold increase. And from 2017 to 2018, we doubled in size. We now serve 104 municipalities—a contingent of more than 1,100 schools and almost 3,000 technicians of municipal offices of education and school directors and coordinators of the schools involved. It was a great effort, focused on the quality and impact of the activities, and the results were very positive.

Do you have indicators on these results?

Yes. Our internal monitoring process follows the development of the municipalities in the PVE competence matrix, which includes the skills that are considered key for participants to ensure the improvement of local education in the technical and mobilization dimensions. The vast majority of municipalities—98% of the ones that were assessed—made progress, with 72% of them meeting or exceeding their targets for the year. And the impact assessment carried out by an external consultant once again confirmed the program’s ability to accelerate the improvement of the Basic Education Development Index (Ideb, for its initials in Portuguese) in public schools. Between 2013 and 2017, municipalities where PVE is in place advanced 35% more at the elementary school level and 52% at the middle school level, when compared to other public schools.

In terms of coverage, was the PVE the main highlight?

Among the programs, yes, with its presence in more than 100 municipalities. But in 2018 we also worked on an innovative initiative that has gained depth and breadth: the Voting Guide, a free mobile app with a computer-view option, aimed at drawing voters’ attention to the importance of the voting process.

In addition to its reach—185,000 downloads in almost all states—the initiative was also notable because it reinforces some of Votorantim’s positions: commitment to Brazil, belief in engagement and participation, and seriousness with which it views the present and the future, which is built every day.

How did the Guide work?

Users could test their knowledge about Executive and Legislative activities, pick topics that they considered relevant, and analyze the information they already had about the different candidates in a more organized and objective way. The initiative was neutral and nonpartisan. It was designed to ensure data security and confidentiality and did not collect any user information or information entered by users.

In 2018, the Institute also led the process to support Votorantim S.A. in the construction of Votorantim’s Social DNA. What is the purpose of this document? What does it mean for the businesses?

Votorantim has a long tradition of social performance—a history that began together with the company one hundred years ago and has evolved in different businesses. Having a document that spells out the positioning and guidelines is key to guiding business management in a comprehensive way. Take the case of CESP, which was acquired in 2018 by the joint venture formed by Votorantim Energia and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB). The Social DNA can guide more consistently the social strategies for the new business.

The very process of constructing the document was an interesting exercise. It included the participation of shareholders and company executives and CEOs. The methodology helped us connect past, present and future and define the path that we will follow from here on.

Can you share information on the Institute’s challenges for 2019 and what is being planned?

One area in which we always strive to evolve is that of assessing impacts: measuring the long-term changes that social performance drives in localities as objectively as possible, and evaluating their effectiveness. We have already developed some initiatives in this area, with studies that integrate qualitative and quantitative methods to identify the impacts of a given intervention and methodologies inspired on the Social Return on Investment (SROI) of the Social Value British network. So this is an area where we expect to have news.

Another increasingly important issue is having an integrated vision when applying technologies in the same territory. We already monitor our social performance by location and base our work on a diagnosis of that location. The challenge in the future would be to leverage the potential interfaces between the various technologies and to integrate the initiatives, in a way that they can complement and reinforce each other. We are pursuing this approach to be more effective in building legacies in the medium and long term. This is both an opportunity and a challenge that we envision.

And from an internal organization standpoint, we also hope to reap the rewards of the Innovation and Institutional Development Department, created at the end of 2018. This new area has the challenge of being a hub of innovative solutions to the needs of the companies and their communities.