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Diversity does matter in companies | Radar SME | Technology

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 Diversity does matter in companies |  Radar SME |  Technology

That 40% of the food waste that exists in the world every year is concentrated right after the harvest is no coincidence. It is precisely during those weeks that ugly-looking fruits and vegetables – those that do not conform to aesthetic requirements or the standards set for sale by the administration – end up in landfills. An atrocious practice, if we take into account that around 690 million people go hungry in the world and that annually around 1,300 million tons of food suitable for human consumption ends up in the garbage. To avoid this problem, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has proposed several ideas. One of them is to “put aside prejudices, and buy ugly fruits and vegetables” or irregularly, because “they are just as good, but a little different.”

In the EU, the movement Ugly Food (ugly food) supports the consumption of unsightly fruit and vegetables. The idea is to change the mindset of the consumer and help him fill the shopping cart with food at a reduced price. Because a product that is rejected for aesthetic reasons is just as nutritious and safe. There are already European supermarket chains, also in Spain, that sell these foods cheaper. In other countries such as the US, Canada and Australia, many businesses have adopted similar measures to prevent less attractive fruits and vegetables from rotting in containers.

Precisely “zero hunger” is one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in its 2030 Agenda. Its intention is “to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” throughout this decade.

More than 700 million people around the world live on 1.59 euros a day, below the international poverty line. In addition, the pandemic threatens to add another 500 million poor people in the coming years

The second chapter of the Radar Sustainable Development cycle, an initiative of El País Retina in collaboration with Banco Santander, focuses on people and addresses the first five SDGs: end of poverty, zero hunger, health and well-being, quality education and gender equality. This installment is part of Vision Radar Pyme, a project that until the end of the year will show El PAÍS readers a look at possible futures and the impact that the decisions we make today will have on the world of tomorrow.

Defend the most vulnerable

“Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is crucial to reducing poverty,” defends SDG 1. More than 700 million people around the world (10% of the planet’s inhabitants) live with 1, 90 dollars a day (1.59 euros), below the international poverty line. That is why it is a priority to ensure that all men and women, particularly those belonging to the most fragile groups, have the same rights to economic resources as the rest of the population. Reducing this vulnerability is essential, even more so in the post-covid era, since the pandemic threatens to add another 500 million poor people in the coming years.

Almost four decades ago, the psychologist Cristóbal Colón launched, in the region of La Garrotxa (Girona), a pioneering project that is now being studied in business schools around the world. The La Fageda cooperative is a yogurt and dairy products factory in which a large part of its workforce is made up of adults with mental disabilities or severe mental disorders, young people without studies who have never worked before and long-term unemployed, among others. vulnerable groups.

At La Fageda, a dairy cooperative with a turnover of more than 26 million euros, a significant part of the workforce is made up of people from vulnerable groups.

Colón had practiced for more than 10 years in psychiatric hospitals and realized that real work in a company is a very powerful tool to rehabilitate people who, due to their illness, were stigmatized by society and completely lacked individuality and self esteem. Today The Fageda It has a turnover of just over 26 million euros, produces 97 million units of yogurts and desserts, and has 2.8 million consumers. Figures that make the brand a reference in Catalonia, where it competes with the major players in the dairy sector.

In addition to offering them a stable job, the project includes the creation of new services to meet all their needs (through residencies, occupational therapy, leisure activities and volunteering…). “Having workers of this profile helps organizations to become aware of the different capacities that people have, and that they are all valid,” says the director of La Fageda, Sílvia Domènech. “He develops a very deep sense of responsibility and a gaze towards the other. It generates commitment, a sense of belonging and an immense respect for diversity. And all this fosters a network of solid and cohesive relationships ”, he adds.

Diversity management is precisely an increasingly important element for the proper functioning of business organizations, whatever their size. Day by day, more companies are aware that having different templates and teams (from different cultures, ages, backgrounds, ways of thinking …) favors their creative processes and decision-making, encourages innovation and has a positive impact on their cost effectiveness. “It also helps retain talent. Nobody wants to work in a company in which someone can be discriminated against because of their gender, age, origin … People look for those that promote meritocracy and allow the best to grow ”, says the head of Talent Management and International Mobility of Santander Bank, Belén Cano.

Having workers of this profile helps organizations become aware of the different capacities that people have, and that they are all valid

Sílvia Domènech, director of La Fageda

This financial entity is aware that diversity is a reflection of society. Therefore, if a corporation has very similar employee profiles, something is wrong. “Besides, it is legitimate not to discriminate against anyone and for the company to be ethical and fair,” adds Cano.

Women in the spotlight

“Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it is also crucial for sustainable development,” says SDG number 5 in favor of gender equality. Despite the advances in equality policies made in recent years in many countries, the figures show the gender gap: one in three women has experienced physical or sexual violence, almost 750 million marry before reaching the age of 18 , the wage gap is bleeding (in Spain it amounts to almost 6,000 euros on average) and unemployment hits them more than it (about 60% of registered unemployment in our country is female).

84% Of Komvida'S Workforce, Made Up Of 83 Employees, Are Women.
84% of Komvida’s workforce, made up of 83 employees, are women.

These are just some of the data that show all the way ahead to end discrimination. The two founders of Komvida, the first kombucha brand in Spain, which from the beginning have opted for talent and female workforce to launch its project in Fregenal de la Sierra, a town in Badajoz. 84% of its 63 employees are women, and many have signed their first employment contract here.

“It is a priority to offer an opportunity to women who want to live and work in rural areas. We want to contribute in some way to ending this drama of emptied Spain “, admits Beatriz Magro, Alma mater of Komvida with his partner Nuria Morales.

We are capable of everything, just like men. There’s nothing we can’t do

Beatriz Magro, founder of Komvida

For them, boosting the local economy in a rural region where the female unemployment rate reaches 60% was a priority. “We contribute to generating wealth in our area, which is already a dream in itself. We take the well-being of our workers very seriously and we want to show how capable we are to get things done, ”insists Magro. The entrepreneur laments the inferiority complex that, for so many years, has been instilled in many women, when the reality is quite different. “We are capable of everything, just like men,” he says. Of its workers, it stands out the coherence in the job, the tenacity, their ability to learn and work, the camaraderie, their courage, the leadership … “There is nothing we cannot do,” he says.