Four major international companies (BNP Paribas, IBM, Repsol and Sodexo) have just signed the ILO Global Business and Disability Network Charter in an event held at Carrefour headquarters in Paris on Wednesday.
Ségolène Neuville, French Minister of State for Disabled People and the Fight against Exclusion, attended the signing ceremony together with ILO Director-General Guy Ryder, as well as representatives from the European Union, trade unions, NGOs and academics.
The Charter expresses the commitment of those companies 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 company premises and communication to staff progressively accessible to all employees with disabilities.
“For the ILO, promoting decent work for people with disabilities is a key objective, and one which needs the active involvement of the private sector. I would like to welcome the four companies that are signing today the Global Business and Disability Charter, joining the eleven global companies that signed the Charter last October in Geneva. I hope that many of the other companies attending the meeting today will also consider doing so in the near future,” ILO Director-General Guy Ryder told the meeting in Paris.
Mathilde Tabary, Director for Diversity and Social Development at Carrefour and Chair of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network , said:
“The ILO Global Business and Disability Network has brought companies and other organizations working on disability inclusion closer together. Through the sharing of experience and examples of best practice, they work together so that people with disabilities can be more effectively integrated into the workplace. As Chairperson, I'm delighted that this network is being extended today with the addition of four new signatories to the Charter.”
Tabary also said that it was “a great honour for Carrefour to be given the 2016 presidency of the Steering Committee of the Network. This will encourage us to continue with the concrete initiatives we have been implementing to help both our customers and our 11,000 employees with disabilities.”
The four companies are joining eleven other major companies that had signed the Charter when it was launched at the ILO headquarters in Geneva in October 2015.
They have also become 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 interest of the ILO employer constituents and of multinational enterprises.
Statements from the four new members
Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas, said: “The signature of this Charter strengthens the BNP Paribas's overall non-discrimination and diversity policy. It expresses the desire of the Management of the Group to take a new step forward by encouraging a global worldwide innovative approach and by committing to go beyond legal requirements. BNP Paribas wants to contribute to change the way disability is perceived: sharing best practices with the ILO network is a great opportunity to reinforce the willingness of the Group and to reach this ambitious objective.”
Christian Bonnafont, Vice-President Software IBM France, said: “The most important asset of any company is its people. Businesses can only be as successful as the teams that drive them. At IBM we recognize people as central to business success. People with disabilities are just that – people who have training, education and experience to offer. By maximizing the previously untapped potential that people with disabilities bring to the work place, we walk the talk of embracing people of all different abilities. IBM wants to remain a leader in the inclusion of people of all abilities globally, and by joining the ILO Global Business and Disability Network, IBM will contribute, and benefit from the exchange of knowledge among its members to identify good practices; develop products and services that facilitate hiring and retention of disabled people and strengthen technical expertise on disability issues. Together, through this global platform we will make the inclusion of people of all abilities in the world of work a reality.”
Verónica Pastor, Deputy Director of Corporate Culture of Repsol, said: “Repsol is an integrated oil and gas company with presence in more than forty countries, employing over 27,000 people. The company considers diversity to be a key factor in attracting, developing, and retaining talent. Diversity in terms of gender, nationality, culture, physical and intellectual capabilities, age, and professional profile contributes to achieving the company's results and has become a competitive advantage in business management. The programme to integrate people with disabilities was born in 2005 and is now fully integrated into Repsol's global strategy, with more than 600 professionals incorporated. All the company's corporate areas and business units agree that the key to equal opportunities is to make the presence of employees with disabilities a normality at the company. Being part of ILO Global Business and Disability Network makes Repsol stronger to become a world benchmark in promotion of diversity.”
Denis Machuel, Sodexo’s CEO Benefits and Rewards Services and Sponsor of the Sodexo Disability Voice Taskforce, said: “At Sodexo, we believe with everyone on board, committed to eliminating misconceptions and biases that hold people with disabilities back, and focused on changing perspectives and raising awareness, everything is possible, … especially with the help of all of you here in the ILO Global Business and Disability Network. Your charter will help guide the way.”
Presentations from the event (afternoon panel discussion on recruitment and career development of employees with disabilities):
Watch the video of the meeting here.