To raise awareness about the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3rd, this week PRiMEtime is focused on the topic of inclusiveness. This post series of resources available on disability and sustainable development that explore the issues more broadly as well as specifically for the business sector. Note that all of these reports are available in multiple languages.
State of Affairs
At a Global level, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities adopted in 2006, is the international human rights treaty of the United Nations (UN) intended to protect the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. The UN Flagship Report on Disability and Development, launched this week for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, looks at the impact of the SDGs on disability. The World Report on Disability produced jointly by the World Health Organization and the World Bank provides global guidance on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities and gives and extensive picture of the situation of people with disabilities, their needs and unmet needs, and the barriers they face to participating fully in their societies. This includes information on data, health, rehabilitation, assistance and supporting, creating enabling environments, education and employment. The UN has a range of programmes focused on disability generally as well as specific disabilities including mainstreaming disability in development and monitoring and evaluating in particular in relation to the SDGs. There are many other global initiatives working with disabled and vulnerable people to help meet their basic needs, improve their living conditions and promote respect for their dignity and fundamental rights including Handicap International and Disabled Peoples International and the International Disability and Development Consortium.
The Business Case
The International Labour Organisation (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network is a unique employer-led initiative that works to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in workplaces around the world. They promote 10 principles including respect and promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities, developing policies and practices that promote people with disabilities against discrimination, promoting equal treatment and equal opportunity, increasing accessibility, job retention, confidentiality of personal information and consideration the needs of all types of disabilities. The Network has a range of resources for companies and students including webinars and work they have done in collaboration with other partners, for example with Accenture on The Disability Inclusion Advantage that shows that companies that embrace best practices for employing and supporting more persons with disabilities in their workforce have outperformed their peers. They also have a resource exploring the business case of inclusion of youth with disabilities.
In 2015, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) which many companies, including Universities, use as a framework for sustainability reporting developed guidance in association with the European Network for CSR and Disability on how to include persons with disabilities into the GRI framework (available in English and Spanish) Its aim is to enhance organizational understanding of the value of transparency on disability, in terms of creating inclusive workplaces, as well as taking advantage of the business case of disability for the development of new products, services and physical environments. The ILO has also published a guidance on “The Disability and Corporate Social Responsibilities that compares reporting practices of 40 multinational enterprises.
The United Nations Global Compact developed a Guide for Business on The Rights of Persons with Disabilities to help improve business’ understanding of the rights of people with disabilities, including how to respect, support and give them an opportunity to improve their competitiveness and sustainability in alignment with relevant UN conventions and frameworks. They have also produced a document which highlights company practices and operations in the areas of hiring, retention, products, services and corporate social responsibility in terms of persons with disabilities as well as a webinar discussing the inclusion of workers with disabilities.
The ILO offers a practical guide on promoting diversity and inclusion through workplace adjustments including step-by-step guidance and how and when these should be provided. The Ethical Trading Initiative has developed guidance in line with the work being done by the Global Compact and the ILO on disability in the global supply chain. There are many NGOs providing guidance as well. For example, Handicap International developed a white paper focused on promoting partnerships to employ people with disabilities with a six step guide for companies to ensure they’re ready to welcome more colleagues with disability.