The free zone in Costa Rica does a great job of helping the country's goals of promoting sustainable development. First off, if a company is included in a free zone, they are most likely an international company having offices in different countries. A company must also meet a set of requirements to be included in a free trade zone. A couple of these requirements include a minimum export level, minimum employment level, and minimum required investment. These requirements vary depending on which law the company falls under. Though each company may have different practices, they usually share common long run goals. One of Costa Rica's top goals is to achieve sustainable development. The two companies we toured today, vmware and Thomson Reuters, both have their own practices that help with the country's goals of achieving sustainability.
One way that the free zone help with the sustainability is that majority of the companies included in the zone are located in one central area. They are not spread out around the city taking up different spaces with the buildings and parking lots. Thomson Reuter for example, has buses that pick up and drop off their employees at set locations so they don't have to drive their own vehicles. This greatly helps the environment by keeping many cars off the roads causing less gas fumes. It helps the employees as well since this is less gas they have to use. The first zone we went to where vmware was located had a big common area out in the middle of many of the buildings. This was a great area because it was full of grass, trees, and other places for employees to sit while on breaks. There was even music playing. This is such an enjoyable, calm environment that was very natural as well. Instead of cutting down the small trees and replacing the grassy areas with cement, they left it as it was. When the free zones were made, they used as little damage to the land as possible to make a sustainable impact.
Not only do the companies in these zones help to take care of the country's environment, they also genuinely want to take care of their employees. At both companies they had workout facilities for the employees to have access to as well as many comfortable looking break areas as well as large kitchen and snack facilites. Thomson Reuter allows it's recent mothers as much time as they need for maternity leave. Most jobs in the United States would not allow this. They allow the minimum needed which is usually six weeks then they expect the mother's back at work. At vmware, they had a process asking employees how they wanted to change the world and made a video bringing these ideas to the President of the company. Employees at both companies truly feel appreciated and this business practice can not only help the company but can help the country as well by having succeeding businesses that let people know that Costa Rica is doing something right.