Many companies announce strategies for diversity and inclusion, but few turn words into action. The Ageas Portugal Group took the next step and with the objective of helping to change lives and transforming opportunities into hope, created the concept "For a world without labels". There are still thousands of people who continue to be excluded from professional or social opportunities because of their characteristics, both physical and mental, that make them different - no human being is the same as another - and the way society looks at them and labels them negatively.
The Ageas Portugal Group wants to amplify the collective change towards a world without labels, because it believes that we all can contribute to a fairer society, in which inclusion is more than a desire, but a reality, and in which diversity is seen as an asset. Because it believes that diversity is one of the crucial factors for global growth and development, the brand is driving the creation of conditions that allow the development of a policy that reflects the valorisation of the skills of each employee, considering their individuality and heritage of personal qualities and differences.
In an original way, and to put its intentions into practice, the Ageas Portugal Group decided to welcome to its recent buildings, in Lisbon and Porto, associations whose scope is social solidarity, fostering the integration of people who, unfortunately, continue to be excluded by society. It should also be noted that it is the first company in the country to have social intervention organisations operating common spaces in its buildings. In Lisbon, it has Café Joyeux (which employs young people with intellectual and development difficulties such as autism spectrum or Down syndrome), CRESCER (which employs people in vulnerable situations, such as ex-drug addicts and people who have been homeless) and SEMEAR (which also employs young people with cognitive and development difficulties), in the form of a cafeteria, restaurant and community vegetable garden, respectively. In Porto, the difference is made by hosting Serviços de Assistência de Organizações de Maria (SAOM), which is a reference in the food sector. The Ageas Portugal Group is also the first insurance group in the world to use the ColorADD® (colour identification system for the colour-blind) code in its communication materials, because it believes in its motto: colour is for everyone.
In the context of this dynamic, last September the insurance group developed an event completely dedicated to the topic, whose main objective was to debate the role, not only of individuals but also of organisations, in incorporating this value in the Community. Under the motto "For a World Without Labels", the initiative culminated in a conference, moderated by Catarina Furtado, and which was attended by the Secretary of State for the Inclusion of People with Disabilities, Ana Sofia Antunes, who defended the fight against social exclusion through a concerted strategy between public and private bodies. Américo Nave, from CRESCER, Filipa Pinto Coelho, from Café Joyeux Portugal, Joana Santiago, from SEMEAR, and João Machado, president of the Ageas Foundation, took part in the debate.
The conference ended with a celebration of diversity and inclusion at the Ageas rooftop, on the top of the Lisbon building, with several initiatives by Café Joyeux - with a dance of all its employees to the sound of the Joyeux anthem -, by CRESCER and SEMEAR institutions - with catering and a tasting stall and product exhibition, respectively - , and by the ColorADD® project, with an activation in which each person put on glasses that made them colour-blind, and therefore put themselves in the "other person's shoes". With a clothesline of shirts, they could see what colour a colour-blind person would see them, and what colour they should be.
The event also included live broadcasting of a special emission of RFM's "Café da Manhã" program. Because imagining a World Without Labels challenges each person in a different way, each guest left their opinion or mark on a blank mural, making the connection between the purpose of the event and the celebration of inclusion and diversity. It could be a word, a phrase, a symbol.
And because inclusion is about skin colour, gender, sexuality, what one wears, and age, often forgotten as a fact of exclusion, another activation of this day consisted in a partnership with Grandma Came to Work, in which, together with young people, grandmothers played hostesses and accredited the guests. Transmitting the vision that both young and old people can do this kind of work, a very fun and different dynamic was created.
With the objective of being the voice forerunner of positive changes in Society, the Ageas Portugal Group continues to develop other actions and initiatives in line with this commitment, on a daily basis. The future requires that we continue to be one of the driving forces of change and that we continue trying to positively influence more companies and entrepreneurs to join the change of mentalities and behaviours, for a more inclusive society that respects diversity.