Brookfield Properties in association with CII-India Business Disability Network (IBDN) and EnAble India hosted ‘India Inc.-The Valuable 500’. The aim was to raise awareness about disability inclusion and to encourage business leaders to commit to making disability inclusion a boardroom agenda. The response was good: 20 conscious and responsible business leaders took the pledge for this important cause.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices have always been a high priority for Brookfield Properties as a brand globally. As a result, the organisation continues to ensure the well-being and safety of employees; be good stewards in the communities in which it operates; mitigate the impact of its operations on the environment; and conduct business according to the highest ethical and legal/regulatory standards.
Making Disability Inclusion A Boardroom Agenda
As part of its ongoing commitment to responsible ESG practices, Brookfield Properties in association with CII-India Business Disability Network (IBDN) and EnAble India organised ‘India Inc.-The Valuable 500’ around the World Disability Day. Considering that more than 1 billion people across the world are living with some disability in some form or the other, the need of the hour is to acknowledge them and include them in the mainstream functioning. ‘The Valuable 500’ therefore strives to ensure that businesses recognise the importance of people living with disabilities. Started by Caroline Casey, this global campaign aims to get global business leaders to commit to taking appropriate action in favour of disability inclusion, by first adding the topic of disability inclusion to their boardroom agendas.
Mr Alok Aggarwal, Managing Director & CEO – India Office Business, Brookfield Properties, says, “We have successfully launched key disability inclusion initiatives and infrastructure upgrades across our campuses. And now we are delighted to join The Valuable 500. Indeed, Brookfield Properties is privileged to take the lead in putting together this thought-provoking programme along with CII-IBDN Network, The Valuable 500 and EnAble India on disability inclusion. As one of the founding members of IBDN, we know we are taking on greater responsibility for this wonderful initiative, and we are happy to do so. Moreover, we are proud to be standing with each and every responsible and caring company which has come forward to take a pledge for this very important cause.”
Mr Ankur Gupta, MD, Brookfield Asset Management, says, “We have 100 offices in 30 countries but our principles and values span geographies. The environmental, social and governance aspect of our business are core to Brookfield’s philosophy—it includes promoting social inclusion and doing it with highest standards of corporate governance. We are working towards making all our assets with universal access i.e. barrier-free movement. True commitment to inclusivity should be a part of definitive action, and we are proud to lead the inclusivity initiative in India.”
Ms Caroline Casey, Founder, The Valuable 500, says, “The Valuable 500 movement is not just for the specially-abled people in the world; it is for all of us. We need to drive value though disability inclusion. This market [disability inclusion] is worth $1 trillion; it is all about growth and innovation. The Valuable 500 is not about employment, but linking the value in all of us. We have challenged the world’s most influential leaders and 500 of the world’s biggest brands and their CEOs, to commit to doing one thing: put disability on their leadership agenda and make a commitment to action. Because leaders make choices and choices create culture.”
Some inclusivity leaders also spoke about the advantages of social inclusion through video messages. One of them was Ms Arundhati Bhattacharya, ex-SBI Chairman. She says, “When you take on the People With disabilities (PWD) into your workforce, it is not necessary that you lose out on productivity; there are many jobs that these people can do and actually do better. It is more about organisations locating them, enabling them, giving them the right training, and also sensitising the groups.” Ms Shanti Raghavan, Founder, EnAble India, supported Bhattacharya’s views by saying, “Stopping at accepting is a problem. Action, solution and alternate ways of thinking are powerful. Moving forward is powerful.” She further says that if inclusion does not come naturally to an organisation, it can always be learnt and adapted en route the journey.
Another video speaker was Mr Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group. He says, “Mahindra Group feels privileged to be a part of the Valuable 500. The commitment pledge talks about putting disability in the boardroom agenda, and it is the right and proper way to do so. We do need to change the way we, in the corporate world, look at disability. People who do not have the same faculties as the rest of us can do more and not less. For an employer, that is a valuable asset. What we need to work harder at as corporates and individuals is empathy. I believe that the Valuable 500 movement will add value to the corporate workplace.”
Around 20 conscious and responsible business leaders from India took the pledge towards sensitising this social movement under the campaign #valuableYOU. In the global context, more than 400 companies have signed for the Valuable 500 and pledged to take affirmative action for disability inclusion. Social inclusivity is a real commitment, and Candor TechSpace, managed by Brookfield Properties, will continue to drive a positive change towards disability inclusion at the workplace.