Maria, Director of Carrefour's Fundación Solidaridad in Spain: “Investing the world of business with human values”
Maria has always been driven by the quest for social justice and trained as a lawyer. "It's my profession as well as being a vocation – I believe in everybody's right to equal opportunities". Having worked as an independent lawyer for several years, she joined Carrefour in 2003. As well as justice, Maria believes in "the principle of co-responsibility" and in the need to “invest the world of business with human values”. It was this vocation that led her "quite naturally" to take over as head of the Fundación Solidaridad Carrefour in 2006, a role of which she is "infinitely proud".
Created in 2001, this Foundation is based on the very same principle of co-responsibility that drives Maria. "In 15 years, it has earned itself a solid reputation in the country's general interest sector and is a reason for our 49,000 employees to feel proud". Maria works on providing support for children suffering from disabilities or threatened with social exclusion, as well as helping vulnerable people and providing assistance in emergencies. She also promotes employment for the disabled and gets Carrefour Spain employees actively involved. "Last year, we provided 90,000 people with support and gave them 8 million kg of donated products".
Behind these figures, Maria and her teams engage in "fluid dialogue and ensure constant communication with numerous local and national organisations". But the Foundation's work is not exclusively focused outside the group. "We work hand-in-hand with our human resources department on helping to integrate employees with disabilities". For example, 77 hypermarkets in Spain can now be used by people who are hard-of-hearing and who use sign language. The Foundation is not limited by store boundaries and supports the "Coco Signa" learning application.