On January 25th, 2021, Disability Hub Europe (DHub) held in virtual format its 3rd and last partners’ Steering Committee of the first phase of the initiative.
Led by Fundación ONCE as leading partner, this meeting represented an opportunity for DHub partners, including L’Oréal, DOW, the ILO Global Business and Disability Network (ILO GBDN), CSR Europe, Global Reporting Initiative and the European Disability Forum (EDF), to recap the main milestones and activities developed in the last two years, to share the impact and lessons learned and also the interests and proposals for the second phase of the project that will take place until 2023.
The representatives of each organization that participated in the session were:
- Carla Bonino, CSR and Sustainability Head of Unit at Fundación ONCE and Disability Hub Europe Coordinator.
- Stefan Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist at the ILO GBDN.
- Leticia Novak, International Diversity and Inclusion Project Manager at L´Oréal.
- Haydn Hammersley, Social Policy Officer at the European Disability Forum.
- María Trigo, Implementation Leader for DEN (Disability Employee Network), at DOW.
- Mariano de Jove, representative for DEN (Disability Employee Network), at DOW.
Christine Koblun, Head of Content Development and Program Delivery at Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and Stefan Crets, Executive Director at CSR Europe could not participate in the meeting. However, they shared their insights before the meeting and those were presented by Teresa Royo, leader of DHub Technical Secretariat.
Fundación ONCE, opened the session and presented the main milestones of the first phase of DHub initiative. Some indicators shared of the work done in the past two years under DHub framework are: 8 publications developed, 9 webinars or events organized, participation on 17 third party events and 8 policy contributions.
The representative of ILO GBDN, highlighted the combination of new knowledge generated as well as the intensive dedication to present these findings in events as one of the main strengths of DHub. As the main priorities for 2021, Stefan mentioned online recruitment for people with disabilities, climate change and just transition, and sustainable finance.
Leticia from L´Oréal explained that the L´Oréal Disability Awards will be relaunched in 2021, with disability as one of the main priorities and that it will also be interesting to continue working, during the second phase of the project, in line with the “Diversity and Inclusion Best Practices Guidelines: L´Oréal as a leading example” developed in 2021 in DHub framework. Leticia highlighted L´Oréal commitment to support DHub on getting more visibility in order to achieve as many people as possible.
Maria from Dow highlighted DHub capacity of maintaining a trustful partnership during the COVID-19 crisis and how it helps the company to keep the spirit, motivation and engagement of employees. She considers that mental health is a very relevant topic, specially after COVID-19, to focus during 2021 and that digitalization and innovation should also be a priority considering the digital gap for people with disabilities.
From GRI perspective, one of DHub strengths is also to have kept everyone together, especially during the health and economic crisis of COVID-19. Considering the present revision of GRI Universal Standards, Christine believes there is a huge opportunity due to the direct link of disability to human rights. She proposes to work on updating the guide “Disability and Sustainability Reporting” in a more interactive way.
CSR Europe would like to work on the level of management attention on driving the inclusion agenda within organizations. They are currently working on this topic, they will share the results with DHub partnership and would like to develop new activities following this line.
Haydn from the EDF, believes that having the insight on how different businesses are including people with disabilities is a huge valuable resource to have. He thinks that it would be interesting for the second phase to enlarge the scope of context and reach out other actors in the labour market. As priority topics Haydn brings out mental health and green jobs. Finally, he states that to contribute on helping the partners to have a general overview of what the situation in Europe is will be the EDF key contribution for the second phase.
All participants agreed that future initiatives under DHub framework should be focused on digitalization, mental health, climate change and green jobs since there is where opportunities are.