With a two-day webinar, Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy marked the launch of new diversity guidelines for Norwegian companies in Brazil.
The webinars took place on September 30 and October 1, and counted with the presence of Ambassador Nils Martin Gunneng, Carlo Pereira of UN´s Global Compact, Kaka Rodrigues, Vera Sofie Borgen Skjetne from the Norwegian Directorate for Children, Youth and Family Affairs and Yara´s country president Olaf Hektoen, among many other high-level speakers.
Norway is considered to be one of the most gender equal countries in the world. But there is always room for improvement, and diversity could become a competitive edge in today´s society, Ambassador Nils Martin Gunneng said in his opening on the first day.
Anastasia Divinskaya, Director of UN Women in Brazil, called Norway “a flagship”.
“The standard set by the Norwegian private sector represents an opportunity for Latin-American companies”, she said to the virtual audience of almost 80 people.
Project manager Pilar Neves of Innovation Norway presented the results of a survey made among Norwegian companies in Brazil. The survey shows that although gender parity seems to be taken quite seriously, with 97 percent agree that woman should have 100 percent of equal pay, 77 percent have not defined goals for top management diversity.
The companies also lack policies to increase diversity in race. Few companies have signed international commitments on diversity.
“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance. But how do we ask people to dance”, Ms. Neves asked?
The guidelines include several actions that the companies can adopt, where communication, training, strategy, policies and facilities are key words. Access the document here.
An executive summary of survey and guidelines will now be distributed to Norwegian company business leaders in Brazil.
Six strategies that are highlighted in the guidelines are:
- Adoption of gender goals, internal training and internal growth strategy in companies
- Promotion of internal courses, structuring of policies and conduct guideline with aspects of diversity
- Construction of affirmative policies to expand diversity: for example encourage the hiring of black people
- Raising awareness of the theme of care, building spaces for dialogue and affirmative actions
- Design of affirmative policies such as application of blind recruitment in selection processes, Diversity Census, employee listening survey
- Elaboration of a report to participate in sustainability indicators, link indicators to goals
The future is diverse
Fertilizer company Yara is one of the Norwegian companies in Brazil which started adopting diversity policies several years ago.
“If Yara wants to be relevant tomorrow, we need the best ideas, and we need the sharpest minds. This means fostering a plurality of ideas – something that is not possible in an environment where all voices are homogeneous. The future is full of innovation, and only companies that are aligned with the new times will survive. There is company value in diversity, and there is richness to diversity. To be relevant and competitive and to be able to survive, we need to have those different groundbreaking ideas. Only diversity can ensure this. Of course, it requires change – and change is never easy. Inclusion must permeate all moments of the employees’ journey in the company, so that it is not just the fulfillment of a number, said Olaf Hektoen, president of Yara Brasil.
Innovation Norway director to South America, Mr. Hakon Ward gave the closing remarks to the webinar on Day 2.
“Research has shown that equal participation of men and women in working life is an important driver for economic growth. Studies show that companies that have gender equality and diversity embodied in their strategy are up to 25 percent more profitable and tend to have more sustainable growth than companies that do not focus on this. The business community also has a special responsibility in helping to correct social and structural imbalances in society. I would like to challenge all of us to think about how we relate to equality and diversity in our own lives. Do not shut your eyes to these important questions, but find answers and become a good role models. For managers and leaders, please follow up and make sure that findings and guidelines presented during these two days are not put in a drawer but can be of inspiration and conducive to even greater gender equality and diversity in your company”, he said.