Mexican companies stood out in an international study for their efforts to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the United Nations (UN).
Tec de Monterrey’s Institute of Family Enterprise for Mexico and Latin America (IFEM for its initials in Spanish) participated in this study together with international educational institutions to evaluate family businesses from around the world.
María Fonseca, Director of IFEM, said that the Mexican family businesses that were surveyed stood out for their interest, work, continuity, and the development of family values.
“In the study, we were trying to verify some hypotheses about the perceptions of certain values in which it seemed that there would be differences between generations,” said Fonseca.
The Director said that the study wants to understand how members from different generations of family businesses see issues such as the SDGs, philanthropy, and other family values.
The Family Enterprise Global Survey on Generational Perspectives was developed by academics and consultants from the ESE Business School at the University of Los Andes in Chile; Tec de Monterrey in Mexico, and The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in China, among others.
Mexican family businesses: SDGs and continuity
The global study reveals findings about our country. Regarding the sample of family businesses surveyed in Mexico, the head of IFEM shared that they had identified a very strong commitment on their part to contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“In comparison to the United States, Chile, Spain, and China, Mexico comes out the highest in the 17 SDGs,” she emphasized.
Fonseca also said that the survey shows that Mexican companies prioritize a positive perception of family.
“In comparison with the United States, Chile, Spain and China, Mexico comes out the highest in the 17 SDGs.”
The director explained that in the Mexican sample, both the under and over 40s groups clearly identify with family and family businesses.
“Mexico and its family businesses set an example to other economies. Mexican family businesses have put a lot of effort and resources into developing continuity and prosperity.
“There’s a need to develop values and the importance of family in the enterprise, and there’s an opportunity to follow that connection so that it continues for future generations,” Fonseca said.
Philanthropy as a challenge for companies
However, the director of IFEM said that there are areas of opportunity corresponding to family businesses in Mexico, such as philanthropy, which are not as developed in the country, unlike other nations in the global study.
“It doesn’t stand out there. There are a lot of issues such as taxes, law, and culture. It’s like talking about gender. If you talk about gender in Colombia, it’s different from talking about it in Peru, Chile, or Mexico. They’re years ahead of us,” Fonseca said.
However, she said the study shows that members of family businesses are increasingly prepared to accept new challenges and to equally recognize the role of women in leadership positions.
“Mexican family businesses have put effort and resources into developing continuity and prosperity.”
María Fonseca added that the data from studies like this allow us to identify challenges and opportunities for the future of family businesses in Mexico.
“It tells us that we have to believe in the new generations and not believe the story that they don’t care about what the older generations have achieved.
“Yes, they care, especially when it’s in line with their own objectives or what they believe in,” she said.
Fonseca pointed out that as companies open up to trends, they create a mix of generations that are working towards the same goal of creating better spaces, more prosperity, and greater wellbeing.
International institutions working together
The director of IFEM said that the study began at the University of Los Andes in Chile, specifically in the ESE Business School.
“In Chile, Dr. Neus Feliu, who is one of the researchers and also an IFEM colleague and partner, was kind enough to invite us to team up and to participate in the survey,” Fonseca said.
Institutions from Spain, the United States, and China joined the study, financed by Julius Baer, an international point of reference in wealth management, as well as the consulting company Lansberg-Gersick & Associates from the United States and Spain.
“We have to believe in the new generations and not believe the story that they don’t care about what the older generations have achieved.”
Maria Fonseca said that the survey had already been validated in Chile. IFEM participated by adding Mexican family businesses.
“We started collecting information from September 2020 to April 2021. Each institution was responsible for providing at least 150 to 200 responses.
“We collected around 400 for Mexico but we kept it to 210, which is the sample used for the report,” said the director.
María Fonseca said that they want to create a report with a sample of Tec students and parents whose data was collected after the dates of the global study.
The Tec’s Institute of Family Enterprise
The Institute of Family Enterprise for Mexico and Latin America or IFEM at Tecnológico de Monterrey’s Business School aims to help strengthen, develop, and manage family businesses and their leaders.
It includes executive education courses, resources such as podcasts, videos, newsletters, and events, as well as its Legacy magazine, among other activities.
“We have external and internal audiences that we want to accommodate. We got involved with designing learning activities for the Tec’s previous and new educational models,” Fonseca said.
IFEM resources are open to the public, as is the Family Enterprise Global Survey on Generational Perspectives.