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Source: International Labour Organization –

GENEVA (ILO News) – Persons with disabilities should be made a priority in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, says a grouping of enterprises, non-profits and disabled people’s organizations, led by the International Labour Organization (ILO).

In a declaration at the end of its virtual annual conference on 30 November, the ILO Global Business and Disability Network stated that targeted and mainstream actions need to be taken to ensure that disability issues are addressed in pandemic recovery plans.

Persons with disabilities should be consulted on COVID-19 response measures, so their insights and experiences are taken into account.

Members of the network also reaffirmed their commitment to retain and hire persons with disabilities and the need for companies to be non-discriminatory in the way they tackle issues arising from the crisis.

“Globally, we are living challenging times with the coronavirus pandemic that is causing an important economic impact in our societies,” said GBDN Chair, Pilar Rojas of Repsol S.A. “While we are all trying to adapt to the new normal, this is more difficult for persons with disabilities. The companies that belong to the ILO Global Business and Disability Network are committed to promote disability-inclusive responses to achieve business results while leaving no one behind.”

Two more companies have joined the network – Nestlé and SUEZ Group – and four other companies – Salesforce, LVMH, Schneider Electric and Sopra Steria Group – are set to join the Network in the near future.

“For SUEZ, signing the Charter and joining the Business and Disability Network is not only a sign of strong belief, it is in our DNA to always do better and more in terms of inclusion. SUEZ will continue its efforts to actively recruit and support disabled people for all our activities around the world. We are convinced that diversity is a strength. Proud of their work and robust in their values, the SUEZ teams are shaping a sustainable environment, now,” said Bertrand Camus, CEO of SUEZ.

“Being part of the ILO Global Business Disability Network and signing the Charter reinforces our commitment to concrete action towards the inclusion of people with disabilities at Nestlé. It is another important step in our journey to foster an even more diverse and inclusive culture,” said Béatrice Guillaume-Grabisch, Executive Vice President and Head of Group Human Resources and Global Business Services at Nestlé.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Network has launched a number of initiatives including two surveys and webinars on disability inclusion.

MIL OSI NGO