ILO Global Business and Disability Network opens its China Chapter

Through the sharing of experiences and best practices, the Network gathers knowledge and expertise that is disseminated among its members.

Press release | Beijing, China | 31 July 2018
Today, the Global Business and Disability Network (GBDN), an initiative of the International Labour Organization, launches its China Chapter in Beijing. Five Chinese enterprises and nine foreign companies operating in China have decided to join forces to facilitate the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace. These are, Chongqing Farsight Printing, Hunan Anbang Pharmaceutical, Shandong USTZE, UCOMMUNE, Accor Hotels, Carrefour, Flex, IBM, JP Morgan, L’Oreal, Sodexo, Standard Chartered GBS China, and Taicang Inclusion Factory.

“We are excited to work with our new members in China. Progress in China will make a great impact in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal of leaving no one behind. China’s 85 million persons with disabilities account for about 10% of persons with disabilities around the world. Impressive results in China would enrich the GBDN members’ learning and partnerships around the world,” states Stefan Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist of the ILO.

Since 2010 the International Labour Organization, a specialised agency of the UN, has established the Global Business and Disability Network through which companies, national employers’ organizations, business networks and disabled people’s organizations collaborate to promote disability-inclusive employment strategies. To date, the ILO GBDN has 27 company members and 8 supporting non-business organizations at the global level. It is, in addition, connected with 28 national networks, including China as of today.

Enterprises in China strive to fulfil the legal requirement of having persons with disabilities representing at least 1.5% of their workforce. Yet many companies encounter challenges in attracting, recruiting, and retaining talents with disabilities. According to a 2013 survey conducted by the ILO and the China Enterprise Confederation (CEC), among the companies that are willing to employ persons with disabilities, about 60% believe that they do not have the capacity to do so.

“L’Oreal Group has been a partner of ILO since 2005. Our objective now is to scale up some of our programs, and we have to admit there are a few challenges that we need to face: training and qualification is one of the key aspects, as well as simplified processes and stable partners for our suppliers to recruit qualified workers to match their jobs openings. We are sure that with the launch of the GBDN-China today, we are moving forward to a better integrated solution to include Chinese workers with disabilities in our workforce.” says Laure Lemarquis, L’Oreal China Sustainability Director.

The 14 founding members of the GBDN-China have agreed on strategies to reach out to interested stakeholders and to tackle the challenges that companies face when hiring and retaining persons with disabilities. Through the sharing of experiences and best practices, the Network gathers knowledge and expertise that is disseminated among its members. Thanks to the Network, companies have come to realize that hiring persons with disabilities gives them access to a pool of productive talents, offering new and diverse perspectives to business innovation.

China gives high importance to improving the social and economic welfare of persons with disabilities in its pursuit of sustainable development. Through employment services, rehabilitation, skills training and other services, the China Disabled Persons’ Federation aided over 900,000 people with disabilities out of poverty and helped 105,000 find employment in 2017. As a key player, the Federation takes part in today’s launch. “We hope to leverage the ILO GBDN-China, so more companies, especially foreign ones can successfully recruit qualified Chinese workers with disabilities through our platform for employment and entrepreneurship services,” expresses Xie Hongde, Deputy Director of Education and Employment Department of China Disabled Persons’ Federation.

The GBDN-China activities will be further pursued in the contexts of the United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD) Project in Promoting the Entitlements and Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in China. The project is currently implemented by UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA. It supports the Chinese Government’s efforts in advancing disability equality and inclusion, and contributes to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in a way that “leaves no one behind.” Other project activities include, for example, UNESCO’s promotion of information accessibility, inclusive education and positive media portrayal of persons with disabilities through disability equality training, research and advocacy campaign. The project is also featured in dialogues among key stakeholders in the disability field in China of the UN Subgroup on Disability, chaired by UNESCO.

For more information about the ILO Global Business and Disability Network, please contact:

Ms Gloria Zheng, ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia,, Tel. +86 10 6532 5091 ext. 111

Mr Zhou Haibin, ILO GBDN China Coordinator,, Tel. +86 135-4535-9705

Coordinator, ILO Global Business and Disability Network,