EcoVadis believes in a work environment that removes obstacles restricting opportunities and choices for people directly or indirectly experiencing impairments and long-term health conditions.
For this reason, EcoCare’s network was created. It is an employee-led resource group that supports employees with impairments and long-term health conditions, in line with our vision of disability as a social construct. For us, people are disabled not by their impairment or difference but by the barriers caused by society that impede them from doing certain things. By changing our perspective on disability, we have the tools to acknowledge and address prejudice against disabled people.
To commemorate (European) Disability Employment Week, EcoVadis engaged in different activities internally and externally.
We closely collaborated with Hazar Chaouni to design activities throughout the week. Hazar is a member of Feminists Against Ableism and mental health advocate in the Netherlands. She also participated in the EU project “All means all” and gave a pitch about sustainability in the context of disability before the United Nations commission.
EcoVadians started the week with an exercise where they reflected on different barriers or benefits they faced. Using a game-board-like template, employees moved forward or backward, following the instructions given (e.g., if you went to college/university, take one step ahead; if you have to deal with stereotypes about your ethnicity, gender, or otherwise, take one step back). Then, they created a visual representation where those who faced fewer obstacles were further than those who faced more barriers. Giving an intersectional perspective to Disability Employment Week was vital, which is why it started with this exercise.
We designed different activities where our employees could engage individually or with their teams. We suggested actions that will enable them to put themselves in situations where they have to face barriers that usually are not there for them. For example: join meetings with a noisy background video playing to understand better how neurodivergent people (e.g., people with ADHD or autism) feel as they react to all the stimuli around them.
Hazar Chaouni joined us for a great conversation about challenging ableism to break down barriers. Starting from the higher level of what disability is, the different models that society uses to approach it, to what ableism is and how it impacts disabled people, enhancing intersectionality and explaining why it matters, to finally pinpoint ableism and intersectionality in the context of sustainability and the workplace.
EcoVadis HR teammates from Spain shared a summary of an event they participated in, a job fair organized in Barcelona focused on empowering people with disabilities, Fira Sí, i millor. The recurring event is a fantastic opportunity to meet candidates. It also creates a space for companies to share experiences and strategies for building inclusive and diverse teams.
To wrap up the week, some reflection questions were shared with the team. Example of questions we asked our teammates: What new perspectives do you have now after the workshop and challenges? What barriers were you unaware of? What will you start / continue / stop doing regarding people with disabilities?
We will keep carrying out diverse activities – from awareness campaigns to webinars with external experts. Stay tuned!
Find out more about life at EcoVadis and how the company supports employees from diverse backgrounds - visit www.ecovadis.com/careers and www.linkedin.com/showcase/life-at-ecovadis.
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