EDF - Companies in the EU to be held more accountable for disability inclusion

The European Parliament approved the final text of the new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) on the 10 November.

This new Directive spells out how businesses must report their non-financial activities. During the negotiations, we strongly advocated that companies must report on how they include persons with disabilities and ensure disability issues are considered in their activities.

While the Directive does not directly make companies change the way they approach inclusion, their need to report regularly on actions regarding this domain will force them to reflect and have the power to expose those that are not doing enough.

The adoption of this Directive is just a first step. Now that it exists, a list of reporting standards and questions will be drawn up. This will be done with the support of the European Financial Reporting Advisory Group (EFRAG).

What does the Directive say on disability?

There are clarifications in the Directive about how the reporting standards on disability, inclusion and accessibility should be formed. For example, the Directive states early on that “[t]he reporting standards should also specify the information that undertakings should disclose with regard to the human rights, fundamental freedoms, democratic principles and standards established in the International Bill of Human Rights and other core UN human rights conventions, including the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities […]”

The Directive is also more rigid and specific on how exactly reporting on inclusion should be done. With regards to accessibility for persons with disabilities, for example, it explains that “reporting standards that address employment and inclusion of people with disabilities should specify, amongst other things, information to be reported about accessibility measures taken by the undertaking.”

The reporting standards must also require companies to disclose evidence of “equal treatment and opportunities for all, including gender equality and equal pay for work of equal value, training and skills development, the employment and inclusion of people with disabilities, measures against violence and harassment in the workplace, and diversity”.

This is complemented by requirements for companies to provide “‘a description of the diversity policy applied in relation to the undertaking’s administrative, management and supervisory bodies with regard to gender and other aspects such as, age, educational and professional backgrounds or disabilities”.

These reporting requirements should give a better indication of which employers in the open labour market are serious about the inclusion of persons with disabilities in their undertakings. They also have the potential to put the spotlight on companies not doing enough and to push them to improve their approach.

Contact; Haydn Hammersley, Social Policy Coordinator