The first trade exhibition on Disabilities and Responsible Purchasing (Salon Handicap & Achats Responsables) took place on March 14 at the Palais des Congrés in Paris. This groundbreaking event was organized by the Les Echos media group in partnership with LVMH and Société Générale. The exhibition was designed to bring together businesses and suppliers from sheltered workshops and specialized work centers to heighten awareness of the importance of providing opportunities for inclusion through employment.
The “Salon Handicap & Achats Responsables” is the first trade exhibition centered on responsible purchasing and direct employment of people with disabilities. The groundbreaking event put potential buyers in contact with suppliers from sheltered workshops. The exhibition proved a tremendous success, drawing 1,500 visitors and representatives of 70 sheltered workshops. LVMH Group Managing Director Toni Belloni and Chantal Gaemperle, Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources and Synergies, both attended, along with Marie-Anne Montchamp, former state secretary for disability affairs, Séverin Cabannes, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Société Générale, and Jean-Pierre Letartre, Chairman and CEO of EY France.
The event originated with an internal event organized by LVMH in 2012. “We wanted to go further and involve more partners from the sheltered workshop community, along with specialists in employment for people with disabilities while bringing businesses and potential customers an opportunity to benefit from these contacts,” says Christian Sanchez, LVMH Group Vice President for Social Development “We aim to make a very significant contribution to supporting employment and inclusion for people with disabilities by providing responsible sourcing opportunities for the companies attending.”
Over 70 sheltered workshops and work centers for people with disabilities were present at the exhibition, organized around thirteen specific tracks in a variety of sectors, including food services, communications, IT and industrial services. The event was also a chance to counter preconceived notions and demonstrate the rich array of products and services available from these specialized work centers.
To encourage sharing of best practices and advice, there was a program of over 25 workshops and conferences on three themes: building awareness, responsible purchasing, and direct employment of people with disabilities. The presentations and experiences shared addressed a range of issues, including performance, inclusion, diversity and innovation, confirming that proactive policies to support employment for people with disabilities create value and energize innovation.