The unions and the Esther Koplowitz philanthropic effect in FCC

jxMADRID | Esther Koplowitz, Fomento de Construciones y Contratas' (FCC) core shareholder, recently received an award from the Construction and Woodworkers Foundation (FCM) of Comisiones Obreras labour union in the 'commitment to the community' category. The union noted FCC's work in the area of

“creating a solidarity network which focuses on the most disadvantaged groups.”

The Foundation lauded FCC's efforts to encourage its employees to volunteer in its solidarity network.

Esther Koplowitz is first vice-chairman of the board and principal shareholder of FCC (Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas, S.A.) Esther and her sister Alicia inherited the company Construcciones y Contratas, S.A. upon their father's death in 1962 and in 1992 they effected the pioneering merger of the company with Fomento de Obras y Construcciones, S.A. to create FCC, which is listed on the Ibex35 index. Esther bought her sister's stake in 1998 ending a period of joint control and she has led the company ever since.

In recent years, the company has evolved from a principally Spanish company to a multinational. FCC has over 92,000 employees and attained more than €12.5 billion in revenues in 2009.

Esther Koplowitz commenced her charitable work in the 1970s and institutionalised it through the creation in 1995 of a foundation that bears her name. Since then, she has launch

ed numerous large-scale projects on her own and has also worked in cooperation with hundreds of noted charitable institutions. To date, the Esther Koplowitz Foundation has allocated more than €100 million to philanthropic causes.

Fernando Serrano, General Secretary of FECOMA CCOO, presented the award to Esther Koplowitz and highlighted the important role played by Esther Koplowitz and her entrepreneurial style:

“We should applaud those companies which take their greatest asset and make it stronger, rather than weaker, which maintain their workers despite the crisis, rather than destroying jobs, and which understand that social dialogue and the role of unions in a company make it stronger.”

The first edition of the Foundation's Corporate Social Responsibility Awards also recognised OHL in the 'Commitment to People' category, citing its

“notable interest in creating a stable framework for relations with employees while also promoting training in human rights.”

The award was presented by Manual González Blanco, head of the the Madrid regional board of the Construction Labour Foundation, and was collected by Luis García-Linares, Corporate General Manager of the OHL Group.

After referring to the “unprecedented” crisis in Spain, Fernando Serrano commented that

corporate social responsibility is gradually becoming the gold standard for analysing companies' performance and their relations and performance with respect to people, the community and the environment.”


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The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.