Collaborators? Patients? Caregivers? As much as we strive to divide the world into categories, these tend to disappear the moment we talk about wellbeing and health. For over 85 years, Chiesi – a biopharmaceutical company represented in thirty countries – has aimed to improve quality of life for everyone, by having a positive impact on the environment and society. Underlying every action taken are the concepts of shared value and empathy. How do these two elements contribute to improving people's lives? We asked three members of the Chiesi Group's Diversity&Inclusion Committee.
Chiesi's identity has always been linked to scientific research, with the company's main goal being to improve health through innovative therapeutic solutions. Among other things, Chiesi is working to achieve a fully patient-centred approach, where empathy and an understanding of the real needs of people living with an illness are the key concepts. What are your thoughts on this journey and what challenges remain?
Research and collaboration with the scientific community have always been part of our DNA, so much so that over 20 percent of our revenue is invested in research. There is a continuous exchange of knowledge with all stakeholders, with the aim of creating innovation to benefit patients’ health. Patients are primarily people, not just recipients of care. After all, the role of the patient has undergone important changes over time. Patients are increasingly protagonists in making choices related to their health. We believe that the concept of care must go beyond making medications available, to include the outcome of our actions on society. When we talk about patients' needs, having a mindset that is open to diversity and inclusion becomes crucial: diverse teams that do not engage in homogeneous thinking are more likely to be innovative and to approach people’s needs empathetically. Only if we are constantly listening to patients can truly useful innovation take off, and dialogue with the patient community allows us to plan strategies that can create appropriate responses to their real needs.
However, in addition to patients there are also caregivers: relatives, friends, colleagues. What is Chiesi doing to centre this group of people as well?
For Chiesi, involving the entire community, both patients and caregivers, is crucial. The pandemic has increased the burden on caregivers. In Italy, for example, about 14% of the population is engaged in caring for frail family members. As a pharmaceutical company, we insist on the process of systematically including the perspectives of both patients and caregivers, and we activate support programmes through educational opportunities for patients and family members. Finally, in order to truly make an impact, it is crucial throughout patients’ journeys to raise awareness using digital channels and all the tools that are currently available.
How does Chiesi approach the issue of disability inside and outside the company?
At Chiesi, we have been reflecting deeply on disability, and disability has become our main D&I focus in 2023. The goal is to create a working environment where people with disabilities, whether these are temporary or permanent, feel completely included. We operate in many very different regulatory environments, depending on location. After identifying the relevant law, we create an ‘awareness path’ that is supported by actions that can break down all kinds of prejudices and barriers. We have, in addition, established Affinity Networks, voluntary groups of colleagues who reflect on specific areas of diversity. We want to fuel conversations through proposals shared by our employees, both internally and externally, and with the collaboration of relevant associations and organisations. Indeed, it is important to understand how other organisations are working to learn about new best practices.
At Chiesi, among the more than 6,000 employees, there are of course many people who are patients or caregivers themselves. What perspective do you think they bring or could bring to a pharmaceutical company like Chiesi?
Chiesi's philosophy centres the patient. Our employees’ contributions are therefore fundamental because they allow the organisation to have a greater impact and to have a clearer grasp of patients’ and caregivers’ expectations. The starting point of any Affinity Network is therefore precisely people’s daily experience, as well as listening to all of the voices involved, which is made possible through educational workshops that stimulate reflection and awareness. In this sense, a welcoming and inclusive work environment is needed to improve all our employees’ experiences of the workplace.
The concept of caring for the community and pursuing the goal of creating shared value for people, society and the environment is in Chiesi’s DNA – Chiesi is a Benefit Company and B Corp certified. How is this identity reflected in actions that improve quality of life for the people (within and outside of the company) and communities where Chiesi operates and has a presence?
The key concept for Chiesi is that of shared value, which guides business decisions with the aim of combining the creation of value for the company with social progress. In recent years we have, therefore, structured our sustainability strategy based on this concept, to ensure it is integrated and applied in all dimensions of our business.
Even before embarking on the path that led Chiesi to become B Corp certified, the company's focus on its people and community was already strong. My role, established in 2015, was initially created to deal with the company's impact on the local community. But that wasn’t all! The ultimate goal of improving quality of life for patients and people, and the specific focus on local communities, were included in our bylaws when Chiesi became a Benefit Company in 2018: this means that the company is also legally committed to achieving and verifying these goals.
Specifically, what is it critical to emphasise when thinking about the Chiesi Group's identity and its work involving the most vulnerable, such as those living with a disability? How does this theme fit into the values of the company and the B Corp community?
In recent years we have been developing an increasingly structured path for diversity inclusion. We are paying particular attention to the issue of disability, which is very important to our colleagues and the entire community in Parma. Internally, among other various actions taken, for example, we activated a job station, through the Itaca Parma Project, which provides for the inclusion in the company of people with a history of mental health issues.
As part of our community development activities, we support and work with local organisations that make it possible for people with disabilities to enter the workforce, and we have supported the activation of a support network for frail people living in Parma. This is a complementary commitment to what the company does internally, reflecting the values that guide us every day.
By the Editorial staff
Behind every Company’s success story are the men and women who work there every day. In Ferrari, the pursuit of excellence in its products goes hand in glove with the pursuit of a quality working life, the wellbeing and the professional development of the employees. In recent years, this has been the fulcrum of a growing number of specific, carefully crafted programmes.
Since 1997, the Company has developed the “Formula Uomo” initiative, with the intention of developing a high quality working life for the employees. Over the years, the project has become a pillar of the corporate culture, based on redesigning the working environment, enforcing a safety-first culture, enabling individual development, enhancing teamwork and building a community now comprising 53 different nationalities. The complex in Maranello, a state-of-the-art work environment, was designed to reinforce the synergistic relationship between work and results. With the needs of employees firmly in mind, manufacturing facilities are specifically created to combine carefully designed lighting systems, projected to maximize the amount of natural light, and several external and internal green areas. Thermal comfort throughout the factory is also a crucial requirement and special measures aimed at reducing the environmental impact and noise through the use of advanced technologies are also in place. As an example, the design of Machining Department is aimed at providing the workplace with maximum acoustic comfort thanks to noise reduction solutions. One of the most important programme is focused on education, targeting skills development as the prerequisite for successfully tackling future challenges. Last year, the Prancing Horse achieved a record of over 57,600 hours of training, an increase of 12% on 2018. The educational options on offer also grew in parallel due to the partnership with Harvard Business School, which has made one of the most advanced online learning platforms in the world available to the employees. Among all training initiatives, Ferrari is very proud of “Scuola dei mestieri”, started in 2009. It is a unique in-house technical training project which increases the professionalism of junior talents and motivates senior employees, recognizing their competencies by asking them to become Maestri and pass on Ferrari’s unique heritage to the next generation. The initiative combines different didactic methodologies, including on the job sessions and in-classroom training, both focused on the consolidation of competencies and skills, with a particular focus on innovation.
Another area of Ferrari excellence is its wellbeing and welfare programme for employees and their families. This spans a series of services and opportunities ranging from study grants to recreational activities and free medical visits as part of “Formula Benessere”. As part of its benefits, preventative healthcare is provided to all employees and their children. Medical specialists are available for consultation in areas such as ophthalmic, cardiology, osteopathy and dermatology, among others. A free annual check-up focusing on general health and fitness is also provided to managers and children of all employees aged 5 toIn 2019 the program was extended with “Formula Benessere Donna” specifically designed for women. In the course of the year, Ferrari employees and their children availed themselves of over 4,500 medical and specialist check-ups.
On this front it is worth mentioning the efforts provided by Ferrari against the Covid-19. The Company’s priority in this health crisis has been to safeguard the health and wellbeing of all Ferrari employees while assuring to the extent possible its responsibilities towards business partners, clients and all other stakeholders. For this reason Ferrari presented the project “Back on Track”, the fruit of a partnership with a pool of virologists and experts, which aimed to provide a safe working environment from the resumption of the company’s productive activities. Ferrari has also joined the collective fight against the pandemic through several solidarity projects. The Company has launched a fundraising among some of its clients, matching all of their donations, in favor of the medical staff and the health system of Ferrari’s surrounding communities. Other initiatives in the local community include the purchasing of equipment for local hospitals, emergency medical service vehicles, IT equipment for schools and essential goods for struggling families coping with the emergency situation.
The overall funds donated for these specific local initiatives were generated thanks to the Chairman, the CEO and Board of Directors pledging their full compensation from April to the end of the year, with the Senior Management Team donating 25% of their salaries for the same period. These contributions add to respirator valves and fittings for protective masks produced by the Company at its Maranello plant and donated to Italian hospitals. Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow and the IIT have also projected FI5, a pulmonary ventilator useful in emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ferrari’s attention to the promotion of health and safety in the work environment goes well beyond the pandemic. The Prancing Horse continues to make significant investments in safety at work: improvements in the existing structures and specific training have allowed to achieve significant results.
Mandatory health and safety training is provided to all new hires during the second day of the induction program, while periodic sessions are developed for all employees.
To foster a sense of belonging among employees and their families and to offer concrete support to working parents with the demanding duties of childcare during school holidays, it has launched the program “Formula Estate Junior”. This initiative consist of a free camp for employees’ children, with various programs including sports, outdoor activities, excursions and workshops. The program has a duration of 11 weeks and allows children to enjoy an exciting experience with a didactic purpose. Education is also the focus of a series of different initiatives that provide scholarships to talented junior high, high school and university students. In 2019, the scholarship program, named after the founder “Enzo Ferrari”, was awarded to 56 talented students. Moreover, in 2019 almost 600 employees were reimbursed for the cost of their children’s textbooks.
As a result also of a working environment putting people first, Ferrari received in excess of 45,000 applications during last year, including specific as well as spontaneous applications from around the world for engineering, technical, marketing and financial positions. Along with the need to hire, develop and retain talents, all these initiatives prove that the management of human capital is a critical resource to achieve the best possible results, and that the quality of the famous luxury sport cars cannot be separated from the lives of the people working in Ferrari.
In 2016, at a session co-organized with corporate leaders on LGBTI issues at Davos, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights pointed out that achieving further progress – especially in countries where neither the government nor the public opinion is receptive to calls for change – would require broader coalitions including the private sector: "If we are to achieve faster global progress towards equality for lesbian, gay, bi, trans, and intersex people, businesses will not only have to meet their human rights responsibilities, they must become active agents of change." His office, together with the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and corporate and civil society partners developed global guidance for businesses. The guidance co-authored by Fabrice Houdart, United Nations Human rights Officer, referred to as the UN Global LGBTI Standards for Business, builds on the UN Global Compact and the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. On September 26, 2017, in New York at Microsoft's Times Square offices, the HC unveiled the standards for business to tackle discrimination against LGBTI people which Fabrice has since launched in more than 16 locations globally (New York, Mumbai, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Washington DC, Geneva, Melbourne , Nairobi, Tokyo, Sao Paulo, Pretoria, Madrid, Belgrade and Milan).
To date 260 of the World's largest companies have expressed support for the Standards, they constitute the largest corporate social responsibility initiative on LGBTI issues. The Standards have been translated in six languages: Spanish, Portuguese, French, Korean, Japanese and Serbian. In Italy, the Standards have received the support of Barilla, UniCredit, Gucci, Eataly and Safilo.
The five standards are:
• KNOW AND SHOW RESPECT for human rights.
• ELIMINATE discrimination.
• PROVIDE support.
• PREVENT other human rights violations
• ACT in the public sphere.
The first four standards call for companies to have anti-discrimination policies in place, exercise due diligence and establish effective grievance mechanisms. They also urge companies to equalise staff benefits and sensitise managers, and to take steps to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI customers, suppliers and distributors – and to require the same of their business partners.
Perhaps most ambitiously, the fifth standard "Act in the public sphere" challenges companies to stand up for the rights of LGBTI people in the countries where they do business – including through dialogue and advocacy, support for local community organisations, and, in some cases, civil disobedience. Fabrice Houdart is working closely with Out Leadership, the global LGBT+ business network CEOs and multinational companies, to spell out concrete ways these companies can become a motor for change globally. Yet the Standards remain realistic in what companies can and should do. The language is suggestive rather than prescriptive, recognizing that every situation is different, and that a company's actions will inevitably be shaped in part by the context in which it operates. This does not mean companies should make no effort; rather, they should assess the local situation and context, and implement their policies without harming their employees, and use their influence and leverage with the government to work patiently towards bringing about change. One of the most salient aspect of these standards is that they encourage companies to "find their voice" on human rights of LGBTI people acknowledging that companies cannot fulfil all five standards in all markets all the time.
The team developed a three-pronged strategy to raise awareness on the Standards:
- Holding a series of launch events in various parts of the world;
- Building partnerships with other organizations in that space including UN agencies/working groups, LGBTI civil society organizations and other Human Rights organizations;
- Asking recognized corporate names/brands to "express support" for the Standards.
While OHCHR did not ask companies to sign off on the Standards as it did not believe companies can fulfil all standards in all markets they operate in, it asked companies to lend their name to raise awareness on the Standards by "expressing support" and therefore indicating that they are on a journey to respect and promote human rights of LGBTI people. Having a critical mass of companies would send a strong signal to companies which have not started their journey to "find their voice" on human rights of LGBTI people but also contribute to raise awareness for the Standards globally.
As of June 2019, 260 companies have done so: The companies that expressed support are 180hb, 3M, ABN Amro, The Adecco Group, Accenture, Accor Hotels Group, Adidas, Aetna, AirBNB, Airbus, Air Canada, Amadeus, Amalgamated Bank, American Airlines, Allianz GI, Anglo-American, ANZ, Aon plc, A.P. Moller – Maersk, Argos, Atos, A.T. Kearney, AT&T, Avianca, Aviva, Avon, AXA, Baker McKenzie, Banca Comunicacao, Banco do Brasil, Barclays, Barilla, Bayer, BASF, BCLP (Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner), Becton Dickinson and Company, The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), BDMG - Banco de Desenvolvimento de Minas Gerais, Ben & Jerry, Best Buy, Biogen, Bloomberg L.P., BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Booking, Braskem, Brewin Dolphin, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Burberry, Café Brisa Serena, Calvin Klein, The Carlyle Group, Carta, Cervejaria Ambev, Cisco Systems Inc., Clifford Chance LLP, Cobasi, ClubMed, The Coca-Cola Company, Credit Suisse, Daimler, De Beers, Deloitte, Demarest Advogados, Deutsche Bank, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Deutsche Telekom, Diageo, Dili Ashtanga Yoga, Dilicious, Dow Chemicals, DWF, Eataly, Ebay, EDF, Erste Bank, EY, Exelon, Facebook, Fidelity International, Firmenich, Fotos Publicas, Foozoo Travel Sri Lanka, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, Fujitsu, Generation Investment, The Gap, GlaxoSmithKline, GLG, Godrej Industries, Gol Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, Google, Granite Solutions Group, Greenberg Traurig LLP, Grupo Sa Engenharia, Gucci, Habitat, H&M, Hemofarm, Henry Schein, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP, Here Technologies, Hermes Investment Management, Hilton, Hogan Lovells LLP, HP, Hyatt, IFF, IGH, IKEA Group, Inditex, Infosys, ING, Intel, Ipsos, Itau Unibanco, JLL, Johnson & Johnson, JWT, Kellogg, Kenneth Cole Production, Kerring, KPMG, The Lalit Hotels, Lee/Brock/Camargo Advogados (LBCA), Levi Strauss & Co, Linklaters, Lloyd's of London, Lloyds Banking Group, L'Oreal, Lufthansa, Lululemon, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, LVMH, Louis Dreyfus Company, Manpower Group, Maria Farinha Filmes, Marks & Spencer, Marsh, MAS Holdings, Marriott International, Marui group, Mastercard, Mattos Filhos, Mazars, Metro AG, Microsoft, McCann, McKinsey, MCV Advogados, Merck Group, Molson Coors, Monsanto, Moom, Nasdaq, Natura, Nestle, Netflix, New York Life, Nielsen, Nike, Nokia, Nomura, Novartis, Oath, Panda Criativo, Ogilvy, Oliver Wyman, Omnicom, One Magical Week-End, Orange, Orkla, Ørsted A/S, OutLoud Strategies, The Palladium Group, Paul Weiss, Paramount, Paypal, PepsiCo, Pfizer, PIMCO, Pinheiro Neto, Pinsent Masons LLP, Pixelasia Productions Dili, The Phluid Project, Ponto Link, Procter & Gamble, Publicis, PVH, PWC, Ralph Lauren Corp, RELX Group, RBS, Robert Bosch GmBH, Royal Caribbean, Royal Dutch Shell,Safilo Group S.p.A., Salesforce, Sainsbury's, Sanofi, Santana, Santander Group, SAP, Scotiabank, Siemens, Simmons & Simmons, Schneider Electric SE, Scotiabank, Slack, Smirnoff, SNC-Lavalin, Société Générale, Sodexo, Sonders and Beach Group, Spotify, [SS*X BBOX], Stanley Black & Decker, Suit Supply, Swiss RE, Syngenta, Telefonica, Telenor, Teleperformance Philippines, Tesco, Teva, The North Face, Thomson Reuters, Thyssen Krupp, Timor-Leste Coral Triangle Heritage Alliance, Tommy Hilfiger, Trench/Rossi e Watanabe Advogados, Trillium Asset Management, Twitter, Uber, UBS, Um.a, Under Armour, UniCredit, Unilever, UPS, Vector, Veirano Advogados, Veolia, Vert Asset Management, VF Corporation, Viacom, Virgin, Visa, Vodafone, Westpac, Williams-Sonoma Inc, Xerox, Zara and Zurich.