Five Questions about SRI – Weekly Expert Interview with Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia, Professor, School of Accounting, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Mexico– June 7, 2013

Each week Emerging Markets ESG publishes an interview entitled, “Five Questions about SRI.”  The interview features a practitioner’s insights about SRI in emerging markets and through Emerging Markets ESG shares this expertise with a wide global audience.  The goals of Five Questions about SRI are fourfold:

  • To collect a catalogue of examples of SRI in practice in emerging markets;
  • To raise awareness about SRI in emerging markets;
  • To reflect on what SRI in emerging markets means to practitioners; and
  • To enable SRI practitioners in emerging markets to network with peers around the world.

This week’s interview is with Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia, Professor, School of Accounting, Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Mexico.

The Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP) is a Mexican university founded on April 14, 1578.  It is an autonomous institution, located in the city of Puebla. The university has a large impact in Puebla because of the conferences it holds and the research it conducts. It is considered one of the most important universities in Mexico.  It is one of six Mexican public institutions that are part of the Macrouniversities Network of Latin America and the Caribbean.  It offers academic degrees in several career paths.

This university offers face to face and on-line courses. Since 2011 business administration, communication and public accounting are offered online.  The symbol that identifies the University is related to its history: the phoenix rising from the tongues of fire that destroyed a past and give rise to a future framed by Athena. Its academic slogan is: Think Good, For Better Living. It summarizes the importance of knowledge in human development.

Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia is a Professor in the School of Accounting of the Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP).  Her interests include accounting and financial systems.  She has worked in the private and the public sector.  She has a PhD. in Accounting from the Universidad de Cantabria, Spain.

Emerging Markets ESG:  How would you define socially responsible investment (SRI)?

MRLMMaria Rosa Lopez Mejia:  SRI is an inclusive and sustainable investment, characterized by ethics in business, promotion of community development, job creation and environmental care.

Emerging Markets ESG:  What distinguishes SRI from mainstream investment? 

Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia:  I think that is the attitude in business. I believe that the attitudes of SRI investors, who are interested in corporate governance and corporate social responsibility (CSR),are guided by an ethical sensibility and consider social and environmental concerns, within and outside the companies in which they invest.

Emerging Markets ESG:  Which extra-financial theme – environmental, social or governance – is the most challenging for companies in Mexicoto manage?

Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia:  I believe that it is necessary to continue a public dialogue about accountability and transparency between social organizations and governmental institutions.  Accountability and transparency impact the economic and social development in the country.  Such a dialogue would reinforce confidence in the management of public resources.

Emerging Markets ESG:  Which extra-financial theme – environmental, social or governance – is the most challenging for investors in Mexican companiesto analyze?

Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia:  I think it is urgent to promote an integral tax reform that would allow/promote the growth and development of socially responsible SMEs.  Such a tax reform would enable them to be competitive companies and to create jobs. Additionally, Mexico needs to promote best practice in corporate financial reporting and corporate management.

Emerging Markets ESG:  From your vantage point, how should SRI be promoted in Mexico? 

Maria Rosa Lopez Mejia:  SRI in emerging markets should be oriented towards and focused on the development of socially responsible companies that can satisfy the demands of the global economy in holistic ways.  For example, this would involve working towards a balance of production, services, trade etc. through responsible companies which generate employment opportunities and jobs.  A responsible company is one whose impact benefits a wide range of stakeholders, including customers, employees,government, investors, society and suppliers.  A responsible company also remembers its responsibility towards and impact on the environment.  This is a utopian vision, but it can move forward.