Disability: how diversity and inclusion can make a company – and society – stronger

Disability: how diversity and inclusion can make a company – and society – stronger

At the Enel Group we are committed to working with people with disabilities, not only because we believe in diversity and inclusion, but also because we consider it as an added value that improves the performance of our company.


As an inclusive company, the Enel Group is committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities both within its own organization and in society as a whole. Since 2019 it has been part of Valuable 500, a global business collective made up of 500 CEOs and their companies that innovate together for disability inclusion: its motto is “Disability is our Business.” Not only that, out of the Enel Group’s global workforce of 66,000, 2,000 people have disabilities.


The Wow factor

In 2020, the Enel Group set up its own Value4Disability project, which aims at empowering colleagues, clinets and communities where people with disabilities are present. As for client, our objective is to create inclusive products and services for people with disabilities under the “Design for All” principle: Enel X’s JuiceAbility product, for example, can be used not only for recharging electric vehicles but also wheelchairs. “Value4Disability” initiatives include “EnelPremiaWow” (literally, “Enel Rewards Wow”) in Italy, the country where the Group has its headquarters. This is a loyalty discount coupon program that focuses on issues of disability and inclusion. It currently features free courses on a broad range of subjects (Italian sign language and Autism and disability: the importance of relational and affective education, to name but two). The program also offers support for children with cognitive impairments, as well as discounts on products, like those made by Amplifon, an Italian company specializing in hearing impairment. The voucher program will be extended to other areas in the near future.


Chile sauce

Further afield, Inclusive Kitchen is an empowerment project in Chile, specifically at the Juan Jose Latorre school in Mejillones in the Antofagasta region. Here Enel Green Power worked alongside local government authorities and the school in order to upgrade its infrastructure and equipment. This was so that it could improve the quality of a two-year cookery course for 16 students with cognitive difficulties between the ages of 16 and 23. The project is in line with at least three of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely numbers 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

 As Carla Alcayaga, the integration coordinator at the school says: “We were working in the classrooms and we realized that it wasn’t a suitable place for the students in this workshop. They were very motivated, but the lack of adequate infrastructure was limiting their development. Enel trusted and believed in us and contributed with this project, which is now a point of reference in the region.” One of the students, Marcelo Paredes, adds: “The new and professional equipment will allow us to do much more, with greater quality and with a projection for those of us who want to make a career out of this.”


An inspirational story

If Marcelo Paredes’s story is inspiring, then so is that of Pablo Pineda in Spain. He is a work integration coach with the Fundacion Adecco, as well as the first student with Down’s Syndrome to graduate from a European university. He is also part of the “Ability Talks” project, together with José Bogas, the CEO of Endesa. The two of them discuss and analyze the situation regarding people with disabilities and the difficulties they must overcome in order to achieve their goals. At Endesa, as in all areas of the Enel Group, diversity is seen as something that can improve a company’s performance. And if there is a person who is qualified to express this concept, then it is Pablo Pineda. We conclude with his words: “It isn’t Down’s Syndrome that prevented me from making my dreams come true, but society’s attitude towards it. Empathy is a tool that can enable people to understand what another person is like: what are their worries, what they feel and think. This can enrich you and help build us a new business culture, but also a model for society, in which people are judged by their talents and not by labels.”