April 20, 2014

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Quality of Life: Defining Diversity with 428,000 Employees at Sodexo

In recognition of UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities we recognize that everyone's unique ability to contribute to their fullest potential allows us to be our best as well.

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By Rohini Anand, Global Chief Diversity Officer

Part II of a two-part series in conjunction with the release of Sodexo's first Integrated Report.

One out of every six people in the world has some form of disability. And yet, preconceived notions, societal prejudices and peoples’ discomfort with others who may look or act different all combine to make it harder for people with disabilities to find gainful employment. In the European Union people with disabilities are two to three times as likely to be unemployed. In South America, 80 percent of people with disabilities are out of work. In China the figure is 84 percent.

Diversity and Inclusion Make Us Stronger and More Innovative

At Sodexo, we are convinced that the men and women in the company must be the real beneficiaries of our success. This is the best way of ensuring the company's sustainability. We have found that practicing diversity of thought and inclusion of people help make us stronger and more innovative, and we have seen this played out at all levels in our company and in those of our clients.

Fostering diversity and inclusion is not just a question of making the right choice; it is also a business imperative: in providing services to 75 million consumers in 80 countries, we must ensure that the composition of our teams reflects the diversity of the population we serve. In our profession, where human interactions and the spirit of service prevail, diversity is even more of an asset and guarantee of our clients’ satisfaction. We are proud of our 428,000 employees and believe that each person contributes to the success of our business; including those with disabilities, but also those who have welcomed them onto their teams and into their lives.

SodexoCR-disability-workforce-key-figures

Making the Difference: 8 Stories of Disability at Work

That is why we have chosen December 3rd, the UN’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities to showcase the unique experiences of our employees who live with a disability and we invite you to discover their stories here: www.sodexo.com/en/corporate-responsibility/diversity-inclusion/disabilities/make-the-difference.aspx. After all, only by giving everyone the access to the same opportunities can they – and we – all achieve our full potential.

While we are encouraged that our actions for diversity and inclusion have been recognized by organizations like DiversityInc and the “Trophée de la Diversité” in France, we also remain humble – knowing that this journey is never really ‘complete’ and we must always strive to do more.

Editor’s Notes:

With 428,000 employees in 80 countries, Sodexo is the 18th largest employer in SodexoCRthe world.

Sodexo employs a population roughly the same as the city of Atlanta, Georgia or Chaoyang, Liaoning Province, China.

We hope you’ll enjoy this look Inside Sodexo and join us for our first-ever Twitter chat on December 10th at 1:00pm EST at #SodexoCR to share our story and help us grow sustainably through your ideas, feedback and comments.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by CSRwire contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of CSRwire.

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