While many companies fill their websites and annual reports with self-congratulatory and often misleading claims about Corporate Social Responsibility, it’s nice when the reality surpasses the hype.
On a recent trip to Madrid, I popped into the Ilunion Atrium hotel, one of several the Ilunion chain runs in the Spanish capital. It sits close to the IFEMA event centre, among all the hi-tech, fast-growing businesses. It’s light, spacious, modern and filled with friendly staff and funky design.
In the UK, the chain, which operates 25 hotels in 12 major Spanish cities, is represented by Kai Schomann and his team at Hotel Republic.
Since 1989 the group (Ilunion) has also been creating profitable corporations providing employment for professionals with some form of disability. Outside hotels, the businesses include security, recruitment and insurance. The ethos is to deliver quality employment and “honest profit”.
At the heart of the mission is a CSR policy expanded to “recognise people with disabilities as a legitimate group of interest for all organisations, particularly, for corporations.”
And, being pragmatic, it makes sound economic sense. There are 3.8m Spaniards with at least one recognised disability, some 10% of the population. Across Europe the figure increases to 15%.
As Ilunion bluntly states, “the inclusion of people with disabilities in CSR policies… enables companies to exploit their talents and commitment in order to contribute to diversity management… (and) it opens a whole new market for corporations and provides them with the opportunity to offer accessible products and services that benefit not only customers with disabilities but also the population in general.”
Ilunion provides more than ambitious statements to deliver on that ambition; across the hotel group more than 40% of staff have some form of disability, and a quick tour of the sites shows how the challenges disabled people face have been addressed in a straightforward, non-patronising manner. So, when you are next confronted with a hotel manager presenting CSR policy that has been carefully etched onto the horn of a white rhino, bear the honesty of the Ilunion chain in mind.