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Uniting forces for an inclusive future: Empowering sustainable development through disability inclusion in corporate strategies
14 Mar 2023

• DOW and Disability Hub Europe highlight the critical role of disability inclusion in corporate strategies for sustainable and inclusive development in their webinar with Fundación Once, European Disability Forum, L’Óreal Group Accenture and KPMG

On March 9, 2023, a webinar titled "Empowering Sustainable Development: The Critical Role of Disability Inclusion in Corporate Strategies" was held, organized jointly by DOW and Disability Hub Europe, with contributions from ONCE Social Group, L'Óreal Group, European Disability Forum, Accenture, and KPMG. The event aimed to highlight the importance of disability inclusion in corporate strategies to achieve a sustainable and inclusive economy.
During the webinar, it was highlighted that organizations are making significant progress in inclusion and that business leaders are leading the way towards a sustainable and inclusive economy through the inclusion of disability in their corporate strategies. The discussions emphasized that sustainable goals cannot be achieved without inclusion and that the Agenda 2030 recognizes this by referring to people with disabilities.
The event was initiated by Fernando Riaño, Sustainability Director of the ONCE Social Group, who emphasized that to build a truly inclusive economy, it is necessary to continue deepening the achievement of the Agenda 2030 goals and invest greater efforts in sustainable development goals in companies, which is the guiding thread towards a sustainable economy.
Marco ten Bruggengate, Commercial Vice President of Packaging and Specialty Plastics EMEA and Executive Sponsor of Dow's Disability Employee Network, also highlighted the need for a clear strategy and commitments towards equality and a culture of change, with particular emphasis on driving circularity and working together with other corporate allies to find solutions that respect the dignity of the one billion people with disabilities worldwide.
Mariano de Jove, Global Key Account Manager of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics, presented the team's vision for a sustainable future, emphasizing the need to empower different stakeholders to address global challenges, reduce carbon footprint, and set realistic goals. At Dow, inclusion and sustainability are a priority to create a barrier-free world, building a workplace that values diversity and representation.
Alex Lane, Global Inclusion & Diversity: Disability Inclusion at Accenture, spoke about the Access Talent program, which provides adaptations and support for people with disabilities, with the aim of making the onboarding process for all employees as fair as possible. The program offers a variety of services, including technological assistants, noise-canceling headphones, physical adaptations, disability prevention, and local case management. At Accenture, they are committed to creating a more inclusive world from the outset.
Anahi Lafon, Global Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Impact Director at L’Oréal Group, highlighted the work of experts to build a framework around hiring, training, and growth opportunities for people with disabilities. L’Oréal is an example of corporate inclusion, with the development of internal programs for employees and inclusive applications for their consumers.
Jihane Ball, Lead EH&S and Sustainability Director at DOW, maps the gaps to ensure job accessibility and adaptation through its accommodation programs. Her program is flexible and optimizes resources for categories such as mental health, with assistance programs for their employees.
Carla Bonino, Sustainability Chief of the ONCE Social Group, referred to the opportunity that lies in strengthening Corporate Reporting Standards in organizations, especially with the latest non-financial updates to the standards, where inclusion and disability have acquired a more prominent role. She noted that to achieve a sustainable economy, it is necessary to work with greater ambition on transparency challenges.
Álvaro Couceiro, Policy Officer of the European Disability Forum, highlighted that digital transformation remains a challenge for most organizations and a greater barrier for people with disabilities. Therefore, it is necessary to deepen the skills, strengths, and abilities of employees to overcome the digital employment gap.
The webinar was closed by Sean Murphy, Senior Analytical Leader of DOW, who highlighted the strengths of having an interdisciplinary team with diverse profiles. This event is an example of the advances that large corporations are making in the field of inclusion and how professionals from different areas are implementing robust inclusion programs in their teams. Ultimately, the commitment to inclusion and diversity must be a priority for all organizations that wish to build a more just and equal world for everyone.