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In Concepción, InvestChile draws attention to best labor practices of overseas companies

18 November, 2016

Carlos Álvarez, director of the Foreign Investment Promotion Agency (InvestChile), accompanied by local authorities, highlighted the contribution that multinational companies make as regards inclusion and gender equality.

InvestChile’s Director with the Undersecretary of the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality; the Director of SernamEG in the Biobío Region; the President of Desarrolla Biobío; representatives of Sodexo and Walmart.

At a meeting in the city of Concepción, the director of InvestChile, Carlos Álvarez, spoke about the work undertaken together with local bodies to promote foreign investment in southern Chile’s Biobío Region and underscored the best practices that international companies bring to the country, particularly as regards gender equality.

Speaking at the seminar “Biobío: A Region in which to Invest”, organized by the Corporación de Desarrollo Regional del Biobío and InvestChile, Álvarez drew attention to the country’s new approach to the attraction of foreign investment, noting that “in the case of the Biobío Region, we are working to support and serve as a vehicle for the promotion of opportunities that the Region itself is identifying, doing so in coordination with the local authorities, in sectors that are relevant not only for the Region but also for the country as a whole.”

He added that “we want foreign investment to make a positive difference and to contribute to the Region’s development, harnessing its competitive advantages and helping to close the gaps that may exist.”

Álvarez also pointed out that “economic development does not only involve GDP growth; it is a multidimensional concept. Overseas companies bring new management practices to Chile, including gender policies.” This is particularly valuable in the framework of the country’s development policy, he noted, emphasizing that “if we want to progress in development, we also have to make significant progress on gender equality.”

The regional representative (SEREMI) of the Economy Ministry, Iván Valenzuela, also spoke at the seminar, explaining that “collaborative work and public-private alliances that provide development for all are part of the regional government’s policies.” This stance was also underscored by the undersecretary of the Ministry for Women and Gender Equality, Bernarda Pérez, who pointed out that “women’s participation in the economy directly impacts the country’s GDP” which could rise by some 6% if women were fully incorporated into the labor market.

In this context, the best labor practices on inclusion and gender equality that overseas companies bring to Chile stand out and were discussed at the seminar by representatives of Walmart and Sodexo.

Mirta Palamara, head of diversity and inclusion policies at Walmart Chile, pointed out that “we are the world’s most important retailer as regards our openness to diversity; it is a strategic part of our business.” Similarly, Macarena Torres, coordinator of diversity and inclusion at Sodexo Chile, indicated that “diversity and inclusion are not only competitive advantages; they are key for the success of our business.”