On 17th June, 2020, Disability Hub Europe (DHUB) held, in virtual format, its 2nd partners’ Steering Committee. CSR Europe was represented by Stefan Crets, Executive Director, who shared what had been the impact of COVID-19 on the organization’s activity. Also, he highlighted some of the efforts done by CSR Europe corporate members to ensure a disability-inclusive response to the crisis.
CSR Europe presented the measures taken during the confinement period in order to take care of their employees while keeping the pace of their activity. Some of them included teleworking, allowing employees to come back to their countries if possible and moving all the activities to online meetings. Regarding the changes in the content, CSR Europe asserted, “it happened almost naturally within the teams and within the speakers we had”.
CSR Europe noticed a lot of activity and dynamic regarding their member companies´ response to COVID-19. Stefan noted that the priority for most companies was to take care of their employees with additional assurance policies, like Enel did, or with work arrangements. Also, he stated that a lot of members engaged in solutions for the crisis by, for example, getting into the business of masks, alcohol or gels. He pointed out that Johnson & Johnson was very prominent at doing so. Further, he mentioned that companies also supported communities in general.
Disability was not overlooked. CSR Europe presented some examples of companies that were doing specific activities towards people with disabilities in dealing with the current situation. He claimed that the crisis had a higher impact on people with disabilities who found greater difficulties during the confinement period and that paying attention to this and trying to find solutions was very helpful and key to mitigate this bigger impact on them.
Regarding CSR Europe’s activity, Stefan noted that a direct impact of the crisis was the higher engagement of corporate members and national partners in events. Further, CSR Europe organized a webinar in July on the future of work, a topic that according to Stefan, became much more important. “We are working a lot with companies on how to make the future of work and the just transition work”, he stated. Stefan pointed out that it is important to understand what this means from an employability point view, from a lifestyle and consumption point of view, from a finance and an investment point of view but also from an inclusion point of view.
Finally, regarding CSR Europe’s activities in DHub framework, he explained that CSR Europe was currently organizing the European SDG Summit 2020 and that in order to guarantee disability, a topic that is present in the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, was not forgotten, DHub Technical Secretariat would moderate a roundtable on the binomial disability and sustainability.