Unilever and ISS join ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network

GENEVA  – Unilever – one of the world’s leading suppliers of personal care and foods – is the latest enterprise to join the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) Global Business and Disability Network  (GBDN).

The move follows that of ISS – the Danish facility management services company – which joined the network in March 2022. Thirty-three multinational enterprises are now part of GBDN, which provides peer-to-peer support and exchanges on good corporate disability inclusion practices, worldwide.

Network members come from a range of industry sectors and include eight international non-business entities with disability expertise, as well as the International Disability Alliance.

By signing the ILO GBDN Charter, companies commit to improve their disability inclusion practices and engage in knowledge sharing. The Charter’s ten principles include equality of treatment and opportunities, accessibility and awareness-raising, the provision of reasonable accommodations at the workplace and collaboration with organizations of persons with disabilities.

Alan Jope, CEO of Unilever

On signing the Charter, Alan Jope, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Unilever, said, “People with disabilities continue to face widespread discrimination, rejection and isolation. It’s something which we have the power to stop. For business, this means finding ways to improve our recruitment, retention, and development of colleagues who have a disability. Doing so will allow us to unlock the potential that is trapped in this often overlooked pool of talent. We have signed the ILO’s Global Business and Disability Network Charter to reaffirm our commitment to promoting equal treatment and opportunities for all and to help build a better, more inclusive society.”

Jacob Aarup-Andersen, CEO of ISS

ISS CEO, Jacob Aarup-Andersen, said, “Companies are finally waking up to the fact that different abilities mean different perspectives, different intuitions, different results, which make our businesses stronger. We at ISS know this to be true. This is why we signed the ILO Global Business and Disability Network Charter. Through this, we’ve committed to promoting equal treatment and equal opportunities for people with disabilities, adapting our company premises for greater accessibility, advocating for the employment of people with disabilities in partner companies, and transparently sharing our progress with the other Charter signatories.”

ILO Director-General, Guy Ryder, welcomed the companies’ move and the expansion of the disability network.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

“The continued growth of the ILO Global Business and Disability Network shows that companies are keen on learning from each other. At the same time, they appreciate the human rights-based guidance by the ILO on the inclusion of workers with disabilities and the linkages to the United Nations-facilitated global sustainable development agenda,” he said.