13 tons
of waste were collected in Tulum, Mexico through the “Puntos Limpios” program

We launched the
Caravana radiofónica
podcast to share the stories of migrant families and children in their own voices as part of “Puerto Abierto” initiative

Fundación FEMSA
Fundación FEMSA was created in 2008 on the premise that a sustainable company can only exist with sustainable communities. Today, it is an important part of the way FEMSA creates value by making a positive difference.

+US$ 240,000
invested in enabling public spaces with a childhood perspective in five countries

Fundación FEMSA was created in 2008 on the premise that a sustainable company can only exist with sustainable communities. Today, it is an important part of the way FEMSA creates value by making a positive difference.

Created in 2008, the mission of the Fundación FEMSA* is to make social investments that will have a positive impact on people’s lives and to build more solid and sustainable communities where we operate. This includes our purpose of combating systemic problems today for the health and prosperity of future generations. In 2021, we advanced the four pillars of the Fundación FEMSA’s long-term impact agenda: Water Security, Circular Economy, Early Childhood, and the Arts & Culture, which contributes to FEMSA’s Sustainability Strategy.

* Fundación FEMSA is made up of two organizations that share the same purpose: Difusión y Fomento Cultural, A.C. and Fundación FEMSA A.C.

Water Security
Our actions in support of water security for the communities where we operate include expanding sustainable access to safe water, improving sanitation conditions, and strengthening watershed conservation through applied scientific research. Programs include:

  • Fondos de Agua. First launched in 2011, Fundación FEMSA co-founded the Latin American Water Funds Partnership (LAWFP), an agreement to contribute to water security in Latin America and the Caribbean through the creation and strengthening of Water Funds – coalitions of organizations that promote water security through stakeholder engagement, informed decision-making, and responsible governance. To date, 26 Water Funds have been launched in ten Latin American countries.

    Each Water Fund has a strategic plan that focuses on the dynamic needs of the location and related water security situation. Pilot programs help to execute on those strategies and identify innovative solutions. In 2021, through the Fondo Ambiental Metropolitano de Monterrey (FAMM, by its Spanish acronym), we launched a pilot to change the culture of water management in local communities through citizen activations, including high school students. This approach is expected to be replicated in more locations in the state and in others where Funds are installed.

    In partnership with Agua Capital, we also developed a series of projects aligned with our strategy to achieve water security in Mexico City, including one in which 100 rainwater harvesting systems were installed across the city, benefiting more than 600 people.

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In 2021, through the Fondo Ambiental Metropolitano de Monterrey, we launched a pilot to change the culture of water management in local communities.

  • Lazos de Agua. In partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank, The Coca-Cola Foundation, One Drop, and the Cirque du Soleil Foundation, this program focuses on promoting behavior change toward embracing water care and hygiene practices through social awareness and art interventions based on traditions and customs of communities in Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Paraguay. As of 2021, we have supported the access of nearly 150,000 people to water and sanitation services, and more than 195,000 have participated in “Social Art for Behavior Change” activities.

    To assess the progress, scope, and impact of this complex program, in 2021 we employed multiple new quantitative and qualitative tracking methods – from observational surveys of households and water utility service providers to a software-based research tool that captures insights from storytelling. These inputs confirmed that the Social Art for Behavior Change interventions have already resulted in significant increases in handwashing, prioritizing the payment of fees for local water services, and safe storage of drinking water in homes.

    To listen to some of the most compelling stories of the role of water in Latin America, tune into the Lazos de Agua podcast, Entre dos aguas, on Spotify or other podcast applications.

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As of 2021, we have supported the access of nearly 150,000 people to water and sanitation services, and approximately 195,000 have participated in “Social Art for Behavior Change” activities.

  • Collaboration on water security & COVID-19. In 2021 we worked with the United Nations Development Program, Ayuda en Acción, Fundación Zurich, Rotoplas S.A. de C.V. and the government of the Mexican state of Morelos to improve access to water and sanitation services for rural and indigenous communities in areas of water risk, specifically eight central and southeastern states of Mexico impacted by COVID-19. The vision of this collaboration is to strengthen local governance and community water management through participatory planning and the development of local technical and functional capacities that encourage resiliency, recovery, and local economic reactivation following the impacts of the pandemic. Toward this end, the initiative supported actions of reforestation and watershed conservation that reinforced local water supplies and recharge areas, thereby strengthening water security, and reducing conditions of vulnerability for more than 6,000 families.
We collaborated with Ayuda en Acción to improve access to water and sanitation services for rural and indigenous communities in areas of water risk, specifically eight central and southeastern states of Mexico impacted by COVID-19.

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Through Ayuda en Acción, the local water supply and recharge areas were reinforced, strengthening water security and reducing the conditions of vulnerability of more than 6,000 families.

Circular Economy
In support of the circular economy, we focus on understanding how we can stop the post-consumption leakage of waste into the environment by identifying solutions that support a clean and healthy environment for current and future generations.

  • Circularity Assessment Protocol (CAP). In 2021, Fundación FEMSA undertook a series of studies to gain a greater understanding of the current state of waste disposal in five cities in Mexico. Using the CAP developed by the Circularity Informatics Laboratory at the University of Georgia in the United States, the model provides data for local, regional, or national authorities to help reduce the leakage of single-use plastics and other waste into the environment, while increasing opportunities for improved circular materials management. We are using the insights to help inform our strategies in this area and, as a next step, we will also share the data and results from the study with policymakers to encourage public interventions that support the shift towards a circular economy.
  • Puntos Limpios. To reduce waste generation and increase material recovery rates in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico, we launched Puntos Limpios in 2021. By including the community as part of the solution, this initiative promotes environmental education, encourages waste separation at the source, and expands the capacities of waste collectors to help prevent waste leakage into the environment or the landfill. In alliance with strategic partners, including Sustainable Tulum, TETRAPAK, and the Coca-Cola Foundation, among others; in 2021, the program installed nine collection modules, achieving a collection of more than 13 tons of waste, we have trained more than 1,700 homes in the community with this program, as well as dissemination through social networks and local media. Following this pilot program, we hope to replicate this initiative in other states in Mexico as well.

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In 2021, Fundación FEMSA undertook a series of studies to gain a greater understanding of the current state of waste disposal in five cities in Mexico.

  • #SinDesperdicio. Approximately 127 million tons of food are lost and wasted every year in Latin America and the Caribbean, despite being a region where 42 million people suffer from hunger. First launched in 2018, #SinDesperdicio is a platform of non-profit, corporate, and advisory partners – including the Inter-American Development Bank, Nestlé, Grupo Bimbo, The Global Food Banking Network, Dow, World Resources Institute, OXXO, IBM, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - committed to reducing regional food waste through innovation, public policy changes, knowledge sharing, and the promotion of sustainable behaviors. Directly supporting the twelfth U.N. Sustainable Development Goal, “Responsible Consumption and Production,” the program grants seed capital and personalized incubation opportunities to social entrepreneurs that present the most viable solutions.

    Since its creation, more than 500 startups have participated in innovation initiatives, specifically in waste and loss of food. During 2020, 12 projects benefited from seed capital to implement their innovative solutions to this pressing challenge, closing the first stage in 2021. We hope to further amplify scope of this platform in 2022. Learn more.
  • Expanding Waste Recycling in South America. In collaboration with the Inclusive Waste Recycling Consortium (iWrc), we launched the first pilot program of a new initiative to strengthen the informal sector of waste recycling in Brazil and Colombia by setting up a socially responsible network of cooperatives that are now digitally connected through an online platform that allows the tracking and purchasing of certified recycled materials for their reinsertion into the market. We secured the participation of several large multinational companies to buy recycled materials for their supply chains, which benefits the cooperative network and its more than 2,000 members.

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We closed the first stage of #SinDesperdicio, having engaged more than 500 startups and benefiting 12 projects with seed capital to implement their innovative solutions to food loss and waste.

Early Childhood
At Fundación FEMSA, our vision is for all children to achieve their maximum developmental potential and transform their communities. To nurture crucial life skills – and help overcome inequality or other gaps arising from living environments – we invest in the physical, cognitive, linguistic, and socio-emotional development of Latin American youth, particularly early childhood from gestation through age five. It is in these first stages of life that children’s brains grow and develop at tremendous speed – making more than a million new neural connections per second – representing a vital foundation not only for health and wellbeing, but for the social and emotional capacities that will last them a lifetime.

Our strategy is focused on nurturing three primary areas: Care, Communities, and Policies.

Nurturing Care
Through unique educational tools, content, training, and support services, we seek to strengthen early childhood development by building socio-emotional skills and competencies for parents, caregivers, and children.

For the last four years, we have supported ¡Listos a Jugar!, a cross-platform educational program – created by Sesame Workshop in collaboration with Fundación FEMSA and other partners – to promote healthy habits in preschool children related to eating, playing, and personal care. The program uses technology to bring useful content to children in 13 Latin American countries through episodes and songs starring Sesame Street characters. In 2021, in cooperation with our network of regional allies, we focused on strengthening the program’s community component within educational and childcare centers by launching a new module to support social-emotional skills and positive parenting. Bringing together more than 30 experts from four countries, we created a new awareness campaign that reached five million people, including 150 educational centers, 750 educators, and 15,000 children and their families.

We created a new awareness campaign that reached five million people, including 150 educational centers, 750 educators, and 15,000 children and their families.

Caring in an Ongoing Pandemic

Stretching into a second year, the global health crisis has continued to bring incredible challenges for millions of families, caregivers, and schools around the world. From social isolation stemming from school closures to ensuring safe returns to classrooms, Fundación FEMSA has endeavored to extend nurturing care to the people and institutions responsible for the wellbeing of children impacted by the pandemic.

  • #PotencialParaTransformar. In alliance with United Way, Fundación FEMSA worked in Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and Costa Rica in 2021 to provide socio-emotional and technological support to parents, educators, and caregivers of children struggling with pandemic-related isolation and related challenges at home, such as lack of internet access. The program, customized by country, was launched through the communities of 67 educational institutions, reaching more than 33,000 families. In Colombia, the “Socio-emotional Learning Route” program was created; in Chile, “Educational Communities: Support for Health & Emotional Management in Crisis Situations;” in Brazil, “Crescer Aprendendo” offered digital content and guidance for accessing hygiene and food supplies; and in Costa Rica, 50 companies were impacted or involved in the early childhood topic and a research project on the subject was developed.
  • Safe Returns to Classrooms. As some facilities prepared to reopen their doors in 2021, Fundación FEMSA sponsored multiple projects prioritizing safety and the emotional health of educators, including by strengthening their capacities to identify and follow-up on unsafe environments. In October, Fundación FEMSA and a network of organizations joined forces with community NGO, ENSAMBLE, and early childhood specialists, Proyecto DEI, to provide guidance to more than 4,600 caregivers of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (or IMSS by its Spanish acronym), which offers daycare for children of working mothers covered by social security. Through a two-week online training and networking platform, IMSS nursery staff were equipped with practical tools and emotional support to safely prepare for the re-opening of childcare centers in Mexico.
  • ChildTech Challenge. With the pandemic exacerbating lags in education and exposure to online toxicity, Fundación FEMSA, in alliance with other partners, joined with social innovation platform, Impactus Ventures, to launch the ChildTech Challenge in July 2021 – a call to social entrepreneurs for high-impact technological solutions aimed at stimulating mental wellbeing and cognitive development in youth. Winners each received US$ 30,000 to launch a new program in Chile, with the idea to scale to other countries in the region. From among more than 100 startups answering the call, the first two winners were announced in October:
    • BRAVE UP! was recognized for the success of their digital platform in detecting bullying and cyberbullying in schools. Their mobile app and website increase communication, identify risks, and generate real-time data to support responsive strategies that improve the safe coexistence of schools and the digital world.
    • Afinidata was recognized for their early childhood education platform that uses artificial intelligence and a chatbot to deliver relevant content and guidance to parents through their existing social networks. Using this model, the new program in Chile will support the cognitive development of 1,700 children under the age of six.

Nurturing Communities
We recognize that the environments in which children develop not only influence their own growth and development, but also impact the surrounding communities and society at large. Through this lens, we focus on promoting healthy, sustainable, and stimulating public spaces where children can feel safe and spend quality family time.

Tactical implementations allow us to bring improvements in public spaces to communities with an early childhood perspective, and in 2021 we benefited more than 22,000 people through seven interventions in Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico. For example:

  • We partnered with Urban 95, specialists in urban planning for early childhood, and other organizations in Latin America to begin creating a regional platform in Colombia, Guatemala, and Chile for greener, safer public spaces that encourage safe and educational playtime outside, particularly important to combat pandemic-related isolation indoors.
  • In partnership with Glasswing International, Fundación FEMSA has committed to contributing to the quality of life of children and families. Wellness kits were delivered with the aim of reducing stress levels caused by the pandemic and improving interactions between caregivers and children. This year, a public space with a childhood perspective was enabled in each of the countries, with an investment of more than US$ 240,000. The objective of the adaptation and rescue of this public space is to contribute to the quality of life of the inhabitants of Mexico, Guatemala, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, benefiting more than 22,000 people directly and indirectly.
  • Together with Movimiento de Activación Ciudadana AC, Hello Cities, Government of Monterrey, Government of San Nicolás, Government of Santa Catarina, Campana-Altamira Initiative, Fomento Plexippu, and The Home Depot, we took steps to implement several “Tactical Urbanism” initiatives in support of early childhood in Monterrey, Santa Catarina, and San Nicolas, Nuevo León that are benefiting more than 13,000 people. Interventions included enhancing community safety at street crossings and using residual spaces to create areas for community participation and recreational modules.

With the intention of generating systemic change, we are focused on growing and stimulating a community of multisectoral leaders in Latin American cities with the tools they need to promote public spaces for early childhood. Together with the C+LAB, an initiative of the Tecnológico de Monterrey, we organized a cycle of interactive dialogues, produced an evidence-based guide of recommendations on the optimal design of public spaces for children and families in the context of vulnerability, and produced a catalog of ideas with concrete examples of interventions in public spaces with a focus on children. Through these initiatives, we have reached more than 2,000 people from multiple countries, including the United States, Canada, El Salvador, Guatemala, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Poland, and Spain.

In 2021 we benefited more than 22,000 people through seven interventions in Guatemala, Colombia, Chile, and Mexico.

Nurturing Policies
To position early childhood on both public and private sector agendas in Latin America in a more visible way, we promote the understanding, awareness, and mobilization of both sectors through policies that put children at the center of society. For example:

  • In Brazil, together with partners, we launched the Early Childhood Guide for Business as an interactive platform with more than 600 actions and policies for the private sector to incorporate early childhood development considerations into corporate strategies. The initiative aims to promote the role of companies as agents of early childhood transformation, in alignment with the private sector’s strategic focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion. As of year-end 2021, more than 112 companies had registered for the Guide, and almost 4,000 people participated in digital events that we co-hosted with our partners during the year.
  • We continued to work closely with the Consejo Coordinador Empresarial (CCE or Business Coordinating Council of Mexico) this year – the highest representative body of the private sector in the country – to bring expanded private sector awareness around early childhood issues. In 2021, the Fundación FEMSA founded and launched the CCE Early Childhood Subcommittee, whose membership now includes more than 33 committed companies and 1,500 private leaders trained and organizations that actively recognize early childhood as a strategic pathway for national competitiveness and productivity in Mexico.
  • In collaboration with La Tríada – an alliance between Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Tecnológico de Monterrey, and Universidad de los Andes to achieve a prosperous future for all Latin Americans – we co-organized four collaborative virtual forums between September and December 2021 to discuss the issue of early childhood as a priority in combating inequality and poverty in the region. Through these online engagements, we reached more than 72,000 people from Mexico, Colombia, and Chile.

As of year-end 2021, more than 112 companies had registered for the Early Childhood Guide for Business, and almost 4,000 people participated in digital events.

Arts & Culture
A fourth area of focus for the Fundación FEMSA is to engage communities and catalyze social change through art, including sponsoring unique sensory experiences and thought-provoking dialogues. Our Arts & Culture program has three clear objectives:

  • To strengthen the art ecosystem in Latin America.
  • To promote empathy, understanding, and emotional recognition of the experiences of others through art.
  • To expand the enjoyment of art without barriers, making it inclusive and accessible.

Strengthening the Art Ecosystem
For more than 40 years, the FEMSA Collection has sought to promote the cultural and artistic appreciation of modern and contemporary artistic production in Latin America during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The Collection comprises 1,387 works from 785 artists, which FEMSA shares with diverse communities through exhibitions, a loan program, and multiple cultural activities.

Similarly, for nearly 30 years, the FEMSA Biennial has served as a vehicle to recognize, strengthen, stimulate, and disseminate artistic talent and visual creation across Mexico through a traveling platform of educational events and cultural exhibitions. The XIV edition which ran from October 2020 to April 2021 in five locations in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, reached more than 3,800 people from Mexico, Colombia, and the United States. Among its activities are the educational, public, and editorial program, as well as talks in collaboration with strategic partners.

In October 2021, the Fundación FEMSA, Coca-Cola FEMSA and OXXO sponsored the 49th edition of the International Cervantino Festival, which will run through April 2022. Two exhibitions from the FEMSA Collection were presented in hybrid format to promote a dialogue on the identities of artists across different generations.

Promoting Empathy through the Experiences of Others
In 2021, Fundación FEMSA continued to support and expand Puerto Abierto, a series of community programs aimed at using artistry and creativity to build bridges of collaboration with the families of migrants and refugees living in Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico. For example, on Nuevo León Heritage Day in March 2021, the FEMSA Collection presented the talk, Escribir las Fronteras (Writing the Borders), featuring migrant testimonies and remarks from four experts on migratory flow, each emphasizing in their own way the intangible heritage shared by the migrant community.

In another extension of the Puerto Abierto initiative, in August 2021 Fundación FEMSA launched the Caravana radiofónica podcast on Spotify, Apple and Google platforms to share the stories of migrant families and children in their own voices. Across seven episodes, testimonies of personal experience promote greater connections of community understanding, awareness, and empathy.

The Art & Science of Migratory Geology

In November 2021, Fundación FEMSA and DistritoTec opened Geologías Migratorias, a project combining the art of migratory mobility with the science of geological knowledge. Presented in two spaces at the Tecnológico de Monterrey through 2022, the installation considers the notions of body, territory, time, and movement as a bridge between the human transitory experience and planet Earth. Preparations and workshops with the artist entailed carrying out expeditions to the mountains of Nuevo León to explore the soil and rocks from different geological eras while questioning the existence of geopolitical borders. Through these explorations, the artist worked with migrants to help them understand how geology can provide a sense of connection and home in a new territory. Learn more

Art Without Barriers: Expanding Inclusivity & Accessibility
Finally, at the Fundación FEMSA, we strongly believe in the power of art to transform, triggering new emotions, reflections, and mindsets capable of spurring change. In early 2021, with DistritoTec, we presented the open-air exhibition, Los Otros Lados, as a way to bring the stories of migrants to life. An extension of the Puerto Abierto program, the exhibition featured photographs and quotes from the point of view of migrants, conveying a message that contemporary migration is a phenomenon without a single origin or single destination.

Later in the year, Fundación FEMSA and the FEMSA Collection again collaborated with DistritoTec to present another open-air, interactive exhibition, Caminamos Imaginando Otros Mundos. On display from May through September 2021, the project helped make visible the local neighbors who coexist in the same space, including migrants, reminding us that there are more things that unite us than separate us.

With DistritoTec, we presented the open-air exhibition,
Los Otros Lados,
as a way to bring the stories of migrants to life.