Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox encouraged companies to adopt socially responsible business practices during the American Herbal Product Association (AHPA) annual member meeting on March 6 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.
President Fox noted that more and more companies are recognizing that increasing profits shouldn't be the only goal and are looking for ways to better serve the community while making profits. He recommended companies create a leadership position responsible for social responsibility to ensure the company is effectively serving the community.
"The main motivator for people isn't necessarily more money, it is moving toward happiness," he said. "That is the best return for human beings."
To provide this happiness, President Fox also encouraged attendees at the AHPA member meeting to set aside five minutes a day to think about what they and their company can do for others. This is how we discover new frontiers, he said.
President Fox highlighted that we live at a unique time when the entire scope of human knowledge is instantly accessible and encouraged AHPA members to take advantage of this.
"We should be thankful that we have this opportunity and I congratulate this community for its hunger for knowledge," he said.
To help increase legal immigration and trade, President Fox advocated reforming the U.S. immigration policies adopted following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
"The walls put up in reaction to the attacks have hampered what has historically been a mutually-beneficial and productive exchange between the two countries," he said. "There are better ways to solve the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities presented by this border."
The U.S. and Mexico have the largest trading balance in the world - larger than the U.S. and China, according to President Fox. Every year, the U.S. and Mexico exchange roughly $500 billion in trade with roughly equal amounts being imported and exported between the two countries.
President Fox, who farms the same land his Ohio-immigrant grandfather settled in Mexico and is familiar with the challenges of dealing with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections, stressed the importance of immigration between the two countries.
"This nation's success is due to immigration and the United States would benefit the most from immigration reform," he said.
President Fox criticized U.S. drug prohibition and the war on drugs for strengthening the criminal organizations that perpetuate large-scale violence on both sides of the border. He explained that Mexico doesn't many drugs (besides inferior-quality marijuana) but drugs cause serious problems for his country simply because it is situated between countries to the south that produce drugs and the country to the north that consumes the drugs.
"U.S. prohibition has dragged Mexico into a terrible, terrible war," he said. "And drug consumption in the U.S. has only gone up during the 40-year war on drugs."
President Fox also contended that drug prohibition represents government encroachment on personal rights.
"Governments don't have the right to intervene in my behavior as long as I don't impact a third party," he said, noting that "alcohol, tobacco and sugar are killing many more people than illegal drugs."