a social innovation
CSR and Disability (CSR+D) aims to link CSR policies or action plans with the concerns and interests of people with disabilities. It is an effort to recognize people with disabilities as a legitimate and relevant group of interest for all organizations, particularly, for corporations. It also aims to promote their participation in the dialog processes with our different stakeholders.
It is also important to consider the different ways in which people with disabilities interact with corporation as workers, clients, investors, suppliers or beneficiaries of their social action.
About 3.8 millions of Spaniards have at least one recognized disability. This group constitutes 10% of the entire population. In Europe, this number increases to 16 millions of people, which represent 15% of the entire European population. As the largest minority group, they often experience social and economic disadvantages and limited rights.
The social aspects of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability matter as much as governance, ethics or environmental aspects, and must contribute to social cohesion and justice which are based on the premises of non-discrimination and equal opportunity.
The inclusion of people with disabilities in CSR policies, on one hand, enables companies to exploit their talents and commitment in order to contribute to diversity management. On the other, it opens a whole new market for corporations and provides them with the opportunity to offer accessible products and services that benefit not only customers with disabilities but also the population in general. It is important to keep in mind that as population ages these products and services will be increasingly demanded and valued by society. Also, that older people are becoming more independent and active than ever.
In a nutshell, the inclusion of disability in the management of CSR brings a social innovation focus to companies.
CRS-D management affects the entire company. Because it is part of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, actions must be carried out according to the nature and dimension of corporate activities.
Early efforts should be aimed at recognizing the principles of equal opportunities and non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, and to the compliance with current laws such as Legislative Royal Decree 1/2013, of November 29th, approving the Revised General Law on the rights of persons with disabilities and their social inclusion (in Spanish); and Royal Decree 364/2005, of April 8, governing alternative compliance with the number of jobs reserved for workers with disabilities (in Spanish).
The creation of employment for people with disabilities and the actions carried out by Supported Employment organizations to contribute to the preservation of employment for this group are much valued and necessary commitments. Improving the lives of persons with disabilities is only possible through job opportunities.
The Bequal seal, promoted by ONCE Foundation, the State Committee of Representatives of People with Disabilities (CERMI), Seeliger & Conde Foundation, and the Spanish Business Federation of Associations of Special Employment Centers (FEACEM) consider seven aspect as necessary to achieve a full CRS+D development. These are strategy and leadership, human resources management, accessibility, responsible procurement, customers and social action and communication.
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