The Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal

Promoting body diversity, it’s happening in business too!

For several years now, particularly in Québec, certain businesses in the fields of fashion, the media, and advertising have changed their practices in order to showcase different shapes that are representative of the variety of body types in the general population. This trend is most encouraging; it helps everyone identify with these various standards of beauty, which could progressively help reduce body image dissatisfaction across society as a whole. These companies are contributing to the population’s well-being, and it is specifically to congratulate and encourage businesses making these efforts that the Prix IMAGE/in was established.

Since 2011, this award has been presented to Québec companies in the fields of fashion, media, and advertising that have made concrete efforts to promote healthy and diverse representations of the body. Each year at an awards event in May, a winner is chosen by popular vote from among five finalists. Established and orchestrated by the ÉquiLibre organization, the Prix IMAGE/in invites young people and the adults they know to open a constructive dialogue with the image-based industry, to ensure that social standards of slimness evolve and pave the way towards greater body diversity.

Corporate social responsibility

It goes without saying that companies that use images of the body or that convey body-related messages have a social responsibility towards body diversity. This is why the Prix IMAGE/in recognizes good practices by these businesses. But what about other companies—those whose services, promotion, and advertising have nothing to do with the body? Is social responsibility with regard to body diversity everybody’s business?

Workplaces are practically living environments, given the number of hours we spend in them and the influence they have on our values, attitudes, and behaviour. As a living environment, a company must be committed to creating work conditions that are conducive to its employees’ fulfillment, well-being, and health.

Efforts all companies can make

1-Non-discriminatory internal procedures

Several studies show that, in the workplace, people who are overweight face unfair practices as far as recruitment, salary, promotions, and dismissals are concerned. And yet, a person’s weight has nothing to do with efficiency, qualifications, or skills. Employers must be made aware of the detrimental effects of weight-based discrimination in the workplace. What if this could allow them to recruit and retain the best talents for their companies?

2-Employees’ openness to body diversity

ÉquiLibre has several awareness campaigns that can be carried out in the workplace in order to reduce the number of comments about weight (“Le poids? Sans commentaire!” Week), denounce the ineffectiveness of weight loss diets, and highlight the dangers related to an obsession with thinness (International No Diet Day). By incorporating these activities into annual programming, employers can develop a corporate culture in which employees are more likely to have a healthy relationship with their bodies, which helps ensure their physical and mental well-being and health.

3-Tangible commitment to societal change

By encouraging employees to vote for the Prix IMAGE/in (until April 23, 2017), companies contribute to furthering the efforts the image-based industry is making to promote body diversity and help amplify the voices of thousands of Quebecers to change our society’s values.  Go to www.votepourleprix.ca to cast your vote!

Do these efforts and the values they demonstrate mean something to you? Do you want your company to promote body diversity?

Click here to learn how you can contact ÉquiLibre and support the organization’s efforts.

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