Corporate Equality Distinction
Granting the distinction
Corporate Equality Distinction
The Corporate Equality Distinction is a new public certification specifically governing the implementation of equal opportunities in business. It enables public administrations to single out companies that have good business practices concerning equal opportunities and rewards them through benefits and preferential treatment in tenders for public administration contracts.
The distinction promotes the transparency and credibility of good practice developed to ensure equality at work. It is a type of communication tool to help clients, employees, investors, the authorities and society in general to see companies that receive the distinction as socially responsible corporate citizens that are willingly and publicly committed to pursuing equal treatment and opportunity policies for their employees as part of their corporate culture and strategy.
The distinction facilitates the standardisation of the information that companies must provide regarding equality in labour relations, and enables society to monitor such companies' actions, compare them and check their progress over time. This certification of equality has been created in response to two trends that have been observed on the international market:
- Such certificates are becoming increasingly important for consumers when evaluating a product or service, insofar as they help them to decide what to buy; and
- There is growing interest from consumers and society in general in business ethics and the need to ensure transparency in the management of business.(1)
Receipt of the distinction proves how committed a company's management is to promoting equal opportunities and guarantees to consumers, employees, owners and the rest of society the existence of a gender-sensitive corporate culture in the management of the business.(2)
The distinction also brings external benefits to the company by:
- distinguishing it from its competitors;
- providing it with new opportunities;
- making it easier to negotiate with public administrations, employees and certain marketing channels that have the same interests; and
- giving the company a better position in terms of value for money.
As the distinction was created by the public authorities, it is based on the rules resulting from a general consensus as to the labour practices that must be adopted. In addition, it is controlled by a neutral and independent entity, thus increasing its reliability.
It remains to be seen whether the distinction will win consumers' confidence (which will be evident if tthey are prepared to pay a little more for the services of companies with the distinction), or whether it will become just another requirement that a product needs in order to penetrate and remain on certain markets.(3)
Companies holding the distinction will receive preferential treatment in public administration contracts.
Any state-owned or private company that operates in Spain can be awarded the distinction, provided that it satisfies the requirements established in Royal Decree 1615/2009. These requirements are grouped into three categories which deal with:
- the company's equality plan or policies;
- access to employment and working conditions; and
- the company's organisational model and corporate social responsibility.
The Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality is the authority competent to award the Corporate Equality Distinction. The ministry's decision is published in the Official State Gazette and consists of a list of companies which have been awarded the distinction. The decision in the first award of the distinction was made on December 3 2010, with 39 companies (out of 600 applications) receiving the distinction. The distinction is initially valid for three years from when the list of successful companies is published in the Official State Gazette, but an extension of this term is possible.
Each company awarded the distinction receives a certificate and an official plaque from the Ministry of Health, Social Policy and Equality at a public ceremony. In addition, the selected companies are announced in the media.
For further information on this topic please contact Ricardo Pradas Montilla at Pradas y Cebrián Asociados by telephone (+34 9170 103 90) or email ([email protected]).
(1) Fernández Daza, E, "Analysis on Social Responsibility of Companies, Their Social Economy and Development Policies", CIRIEC-Spain, Cooperative, Social and Public Economy magazine (2005) No 53, pp.261-283.