Karina, Solidarity manager
Following a degree in psychology, Karina quickly turned her attention to human resources. She joined Carrefour Brazil's HR department 12 years ago, before taking over the management of solidarity issues in 2007. "Brazil is a country where there are significant income disparities. When my company asked if I wanted to work on these issues, I seized the opportunity". Since then, Karina has been working in highly varied areas, including food, social inclusion and diversity.
"Carrefour has been operating in Brazil for more than 40 years. We have two generations of employees and we take the role that we play in society extremely seriously". This means working on a number of joint projects lasting several years, including one with Gastromotiva, association created by Chef David Hertz. This restaurant, which began by serving 140 meals every day to the poorest people, was involved in the Rio Olympics, collecting products that were not consumed by the athletes. With Carrefour's support, Refettorio Gastromotiva was able to set up a project to train talented cooks and create a charity canteen. So far, this initiative has prevented some 6000 tonnes of food from going to waste. In addition to its partnerships, Carrefour Brazil also works with its employees on a volunteer programme – “Volontario” – which has been in operation for 16 years and through which the group's employees can donate four hours of their time every month. Nearly 12,000 of them have already donated their time.
In a country that is 15 times larger than France, it is important to have local coordinators. Karina coordinates a network of ambassadors. These people can work in each of the Group's stores across Brazil and receive specific coaching and training. They are also in contact with Head office on a regular basis. In addition to these ties at local level, Karina identifies organisations operating at the forefront on issues in which Carrefour is involved and projects for which the group could provide genuine added value. She works with them on creating partnerships with the authorities, puts in place mechanisms for assessing results, is involved in tracking, etc. "It's very time-consuming, but after several years in this job, I have seen changes occurring out in the field, and it's really worth it".
Carrefour is one of the largest private employers in Brazil, and so Karina continues to align the partnerships for which she is responsible with the Group's values. "And it works. Currently, each of our 200 stores has links with at least one local charity. The employees get involved, understand our work and bring initiatives to us from the field". And Karina has no intention of stopping there. A programme to disseminate examples of best practice has been set up, and although solidarity is one of the company's mainstays, it is now embraced by all of the Group's employees.