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Caprai, the only Italian winery that has integrated immigrants into the workforce, has received the UN award

The wine company, led by Marco Caprai, received the UNHCR “Welcome. Working for refugee integration” 2022 award for its commitment to promoting an inclusive society

There are stories about integration in Italy’s agriculture and wine world, which speak the “universal language” of hospitality, communicating the need to take each era’s problems into consideration, such as immigration, trying to take the best and put it together in a virtuous, ethical and useful way for everyone. The UNHCR, the UN agency for refugees in Italy, the Holy See and San Marino, recognize the companies that take this initiative by rewarding them with the prestigious “Welcome. Working for refugee integration” award. The award, for the year 2022, goes to Arnaldo Caprai, led by Marco Caprai, architect of the rebirth and of relaunching Sagrantino di Montefalco and its entire territory to International limelight. It was the only Italian winery awarded, recently in Rome, at the Technical Auditorium of Confindustria, among 167 companies that have contributed to promoting a more inclusive society towards those who have been forced to flee wars, violence and persecution, through "the significant commitment demonstrated in the implementation of specific interventions for job placement of refugees in Italy”.
In 2016, Arnaldo Caprai began collaborating with Caritas in Foligno and other local associations involved in social work to integrate immigrants into the workforce. Over the past few years, their collaboration has given more than 200 asylum seekers the possibility of finding a job in the winery. And, in the last three years alone, more than 50 asylum seekers from North Africa have been given the opportunity to work in the vineyard at different times of the year. The project has given very promising results, since more than 60% of the immigrants who worked in the company reconfirmed they would return in the following years, thereby stabilizing their job position.
This activity perfectly expresses Arnaldo Caprai’s vision of social sustainability. Furthermore, it is fully part of the UNHCR’s “Global Pact on Refugees”, which calls on the private sector to play an active role in managing the refugee humanitarian crisis through implementing integration strategies that consider the needs of refugees and the characteristics of the companies involved, to create shared and participated integration paths. This is the reason that, starting in 2017, the UNHCR decided to award Italian companies committed to promoting labor integration processes for beneficiaries of international protection. The recognition the “Welcome. Working for refugee integration” award is given during the ceremony held each year. Thanks to the program, 9.300 refugees found positions in the labor market in 2022, and there was also a significant increase in the percentage of women given jobs; plus, 22.000 professional paths were activated in more than 520 companies over 5 years. Companies in other sectors that received the award, were, together with Caprai, in wine & food, Diesel Farm, Eataly, Lavazza, Nespresso, Mutti, Inalpi, Trapizzino, La Doria, McDonald’s, Burger King Restaurants Italia, as well as the Generali Insurance company. The “accommodation and catering” sector was in first place (23%), ahead of “manufacturing” (22%) and “construction” (7%), in which 93% of the people hired have obtained a fixed-term contract, while permanent contracts have increased, from 3% to 5%.
“We are honored to have received this recognition that has a highly ethical and moral value”, Marco Caprai said, “you cannot prove the sustainability of a company through its environmental and economic activities alone, because a company, especially if it is in agriculture, and even more so if it is in wine, is an integral and active part of the territory, and it is also the main player of its social sustainability. We have grown in size over the last few years, and have therefore needed more manpower, but we are also committed to rely on clear and fair contractual practices, thanks to the advice of Confagricoltura experts. We were, therefore, able to avoid relying on external companies for the necessary manpower, as welfare is an important and serious issue for a company that wants to be truly sustainable”. They came to Italy in the famous boats, and then were redistributed to various centers around the country. The people who have found their future in the Umbrian winery that brought Sagrantino back to life, “are people who are willing to sacrifice. They arrive at 6 in morning, many of them on bicycles, traveling 6-7 kilometers, some on mopeds and, when economic conditions permit, by car. They are a very important resource”, Marco Caprai emphasized, “and more often than not they were the best people coming from the countries they were fleeing. Many of them have studied, and it is wonderful to see that they have found an opportunity here, and a place to put down roots. It is a story that debunks the myth that immigration is only a problem - it is not like that at all”.
Working and training employees have always been at the center of Arnaldo Caprai’s interests. The reason the company implements training programs is to develop the potential of its employees in the medium-long term, and it is also home to the ITS Agri-food Course in Umbria for the wine sector. Over the past 5 years, more than 100 students have attended lessons on the farm and worked directly in the vineyard and winery. A dozen students were then hired at the end of the course.“The ability to attract talent is fundamental and we believe”, Marco Caprai concluded, “that training and social sustainability are the two key elements. It takes talent to attract talent. Our company is made up of people, and it's not just our wine that makes us brand ambassadors, our employees are the best testimonials we have to communicate the values and culture of the our winery, in a clear and transparent way”.

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