This article first appeared in La Tercera on October 22, 2019.

During the last few weeks, we have witnessed regrettable cases, such as the oil spill in Magallanes, the water contamination in Valparaíso, and the water cut that affected the community of Osorno, among others. We have become accustomed to seeing cases like these, where the first thing that is done is to blame a person, but we do not ask ourselves what was done to prevent this from happening.

The country is growing, times have changed and companies must keep up with these changes. The way companies operate is of real importance, as every decision-making affects not only the company but also society and the market in general.

We assume that none of the companies wanted this to happen, but what did they do to stop it? How long will we continue to turn a blind eye to what happens within companies? It is time to stop patting ourselves on the back, telling ourselves that we are the best, instead of being able to analyze where the failures are, to invest in improvements that contribute.

This is leading to a dangerous gap between companies and society. We are living a crisis of trust, where everyone works on their own, as enemies, looking for the negative side of the facts without valuing the positive. We must understand that if we want a better society, it must be built by all of us.

While greater efficiency is needed in the country’s audits, we cannot stand idly by. Companies must begin to internalize that how they obtain results is just as important as the results themselves.
It is really necessary to internalize compliance in the heart of companies. There must be processes that are incorporated into this culture of integrity, maintaining permanent traceability of their processes and decision making. For this, previously established procedures are key, thus contributing to ensuring that managers, workers, and other agents related to the operation comply with the law, and with doing things well.

Beyond doing it just to “comply with the law”, it is important to be aware of self-regulation, where companies are responsible for demonstrating that they did everything possible to prevent crimes or bad practices from occurring, making their processes transparent and emphasizing the standards under which they are governed to perform their work.

It is necessary to make investments that go in favor of doing things right, to move forward and thus be a more transparent country, which pursues the healthy functioning of all institutions.

We should not continue to wait for regrettable events like the ones we have seen. Do we want to be a more developed country? Let’s start by worrying and taking care of how we can improve, to have the best results.

By Susana Sierra