Eleven major international companies have become the first signatories of the “ILO Global Business & Disability Network Charter” in a ceremony held at ILO headquarters in Geneva. The Charter expresses their commitment to promoting and including persons with disabilities throughout their operations worldwide.
It covers a wide range of areas, from protecting staff with disabilities from any kind of discrimination to making the company premises and communication to staff progressively accessible to all employees with disabilities.
The signing companies are: Accenture, AccorHotels, Adecco Group, AXA Group, Carrefour Group, Dow Chemical, Groupe Casino, L’Oréal, Orange, the Standard Bank Group and Michelin.
“The lack of equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities often means lives of poverty and social exclusion,” said ILO Director General Guy Ryder. “By honoring the commitments of this Charter, the private sector will be showing real leadership in making it possible for people with disabilities to have productive work and to live in dignity.”
Ryder continued: “The first signatories to sign the Charter will help us spread a simple but essential message: employing persons with disability is not just a good moral cause, it is also good for business. This new Charter can also make a substantial contribution to realizing many goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development .”
Speaking on behalf of the signatories, the Network steering committee chairperson, Wendy Orr, said: “We are proud to be among the first companies to sign the Business Charter on Disability. This is one step further in demonstrating our commitment for the inclusion of people with disabilities in the labour market. We believe and have experienced how an inclusive and diverse workforce provides opportunities for employers, employees and society overall.”
Ronnie Goldberg, USCIB’s senior counsel, also sits on the Network steering committee.
All signatories are members of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network , which brings businesses together to promote disability inclusion by highlighting the business advantages of employing people with disabilities. It also facilitates the exchange of knowledge and good practices between companies, company networks and the ILO.
Created in 2010, the Network acts as a facilitator and responds to requests from members to develop tools, share knowledge, and facilitate business-to-business meetings and dialogues around disability issues. It combines the interests of the ILO employer constituents and of multinational enterprises.
Its steering committee is composed of representatives from eight multinational enterprises, a global organization representing people with disabilities and two employers’ organizations.
The Network has produced a self-assessment tool which allows companies to assess how well they are doing in a number of areas regarding disabilities.
The Charter will be provided to national employers’ federations and national business and disability networks as a way of promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities among their member companies, including small and medium size enterprises (SMEs).
The Network also benefits from the invaluable insight of people with disabilities themselves, thanks to a partnership with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) , a network of global and regional organizations representing people with disabilities.