United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Organisation for PWD: framing a CSR approach line with the SDG’s, creating numerous regional initiatives towards inclusion and deinstitutionalisation.

APF France handicap - Hauts de France (
Non-governmental organization (NGO)

    This practice is about a regional delegation of APF France handicap which is a non-profit organisation for persons with disabilities (PWD). The organisation offers, throughout France, all types of social health facilities and services to support the inclusion of PWD. One of its regional delegation in northern France is a pilot in framing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) approach of the NGO’s activities. This CSR approach was led from 2013 but was readapted in line with the SDG’s in 2016. It allowed the emergence of over 70 regional initiatives linked to various SDG’s, heading towards a more inclusive and deinstitutionalised society. Background: APF France handicap is an important French non-profit organisation with a recognised public utility. It defends and represents PWD and their families. The organisation brings together 100 000 actors: members, elected officials, employees, volunteers, beneficiaries (users) and thousands of donors. APF France handicap embodies humanist, social, activist values in a global interest project to live in an inclusive and united society. The national project is currently called “power to act, power to choose” and advocates against discriminations, for equal rights, citizenship, social participation and free will about the way PWD and their families live their lives. APF France handicap has 12 regional delegations, 47 sub-regional delegations, and 96 smaller delegations. It gathers 396 facilities for children, teenagers, and adults, 25 adapted companies, 111 holiday camps, 739 training sessions, 21183 members, 25000 volunteers and 14589 workers. For the past few years, the non-profit organisation’s sector has been considerably affected by many crises including the pandemic. In addition, donations and memberships are decreasing as well as public funding although charities have never been so much needed. At the same time, citizens are increasingly convinced of the need to head towards the ‘after world’: more inclusive, united, and respectful of the environment. This is why CSR has to be considered as the opportunity to transform what APF France handicap offers through its services. Because the CSR approach is in the organisation’s DNA from the start, it only needed to be properly developed. In this regard, APF France handicap questioned how and with which theoretical and ethical framework it should develop innovative economic models in line with its values and vision of the society it wishes to live in. The services and missions of the organisation participates in activities attached to models of circular economy, collaborative economy, functionality economy. These are social and solidarity-based economy for the people they support. The organisation at the national level decided from 2016 to elaborate its strategy around CSR according to the SDG’s. Context: This good SDG practice is led by one management of the 12 regions, in APF France handicap northern France. This regional management counts 2500 members, 4000 users, 1800 workers and 900 volunteers. Following the 2016 APF France handicap national decision to undergo a strategy in line with the SDG’s, APF France handicap in northern France responded by undertaking actions to invest further in CSR by questioning the social, economic, and environmental practices of the organisation. It did so by owning the SDG’s in its CSR action plans. Investing in such an approach is a way of thinking on the long term, 15 to 20 years. It is giving the organisation the means to ensure continuity of its facilities and its jobs. It is also adapting the services to a society which is mutating through significant social, digital, and technological transformations. As a matter of fact, the public service of the region called the northern France regional council (Conseil Regional des Hauts de France) also had the will to improve itself in terms of sustainable development. It had a masterplan called the 3rd industrial revolution and APF northern France partnered up with them. The regional council has been and is still a major support for this CSR and SDG’s implementation. APF France handicap’s expertise reinforced the regional council’s inclusive dynamic, and the region has been a great support in APF France handicap’s transformative projects. APF France handicap’s strategy regarding SDG’s relies on 3 pillars: economic, social, and environmental. As of today, over 70 initiatives have emerged following the strategy’s plan for action. These initiatives are the result of the CSR framing and participate greatly in implementing the SDG’s. Beneficiaries: These initiatives are by and for persons with disabilities and their families to move towards an inclusive society. They contribute to change perspectives towards inclusion and deinstitutionalisation under a variety of SDG’s such as health, education, inequalities, accessible cities, partnerships. Beneficiaries are therefore PWD and their families whether they be users, members, or workers taking part in APF France handicap.

    Implementation of the Project/Activity

    In terms of human resources, the regional team had development officers which worked part time on CSR. Each facility has workers, volunteers and the users are also greatly involved in any initiative and project. Financial resources were diverse, but funding reached an overall 4,5 million€. In terms of monitoring mechanisms, APF mandated Bartle to support the performances of the organisation’s regional actions towards the SDG’s. Since September 2020, this cabinet supports the regional delegation in its skill-based sponsorship (mécénat de compétences). One of the objectives was to help APF northern France to structure its approach and frame it more effectively. For the last four years, a lot has been done but it had disparate results with more or less involved facilities. The aim was therefore to set up indicators to follow every action and support facilities managers. Added to the indicators, a tool kit is offered to resolve the identified gaps. Because in the social health-care sector there are already a lot of indicators to fill, the ones evaluating the CSR and SDG’s strategy are voluntarily simplified to 10 indicators. The idea is to start small in 2021 and question the results in 2022 with a perspective of bettering the indicators. After brainstorming, the indicators were no less than 75. They were then sorted through the SMART method. Because the CSR spirit is not about making a competition between facilities, any indicators entailing such a competition were pushed aside. This method allowed the indicators to break down to 25, and the teams voted them down to 10. It was a collective work, with health professionals, 3 persons from the delegation, the regional managers as well as managers of facilities. The aim is to encourage and facilitate involvement towards the indicators from as many facilities as possible since they were able to be part of the choosing process. The indicators were voted in February 2021, there will be two data collection a year, the first one starting in April and May 2021. After a few years of CSR practice at the heart of the organisation in line with the SDG’s, the next step (as Marc Moulaire suggested) was to put these indicators in place to evaluate the development. The 10 indicators are the following: -(Governance) number of referents CSR ambassadors per facilities -(Social) are you proud to work at APF? Or a feeling of belonging? -(Ecological) % of facilities with a waste managing system. Commitment in waste sorting produced by the facilities. -(Governance) number or % of facilities where CSR approach is registered in the facility or services project -(Purchase) % of soft mobility (bike, scooter, hybrid, and electric vehicles) -(Community) % of workers and users involved in the CSR approach in the facility -(Purchase) % or number of suppliers which have signed a CSR Charter for purchase policy -(Governance) number of actions realised in favour of the quality of life at work -(Community) social impact of my facility on its local territory -(Ecological) number of facilities which does not use disposable dishes + an extra indicator is still being reflected upon the technological impact (Green IT).


    Thanks to the CSR approach that was supported through various meetings and a strategy, a lot of projects and initiatives have seen the light and are in line with various SDG’s, therefore contributing to their implementation. The strategy relied on three pillars: Economical: how we can make sure tomorrow’s resources are mixed, meaning how the CSR model can contribute to having a reflexion on social entrepreneurship instead of relying solely on public funding. Environmental: good practices within the facilities which are respectful and virtuous. For example, the first large project was about food with new contracts for short circuit, waste management, low carbon footprint with hybrid cars. Social: how to move from social to societal utility, how facilities welcome people losing their autonomy. Following the CSR strategy, 72 initiatives have emerged in the region: 32 environment, 22 social, 19 economical. They are available on a map, but a new objective for 2021 is to work on a barometer. Some results from the societal pillar: The aims of this pillar are to allow access to inclusive housing, encourage access to education, training, and employment, ease access to digital, develop empowerment, create, and get involved in plural spaces. -Résidence RIVES – Résidence Intergénérationnel de Vie Eco citoyenne et Solidaire/Intergenerational residency for eco citizenship and united life. It is an inclusive housing, with 74 social housing including 19 for elderlies or PWD promoting peaceful coexistence. It allows access to a chosen adapted home and eases participating in civic life. It results from a multi-stake partnership with Lille city council, CCAS, Génération&Culture, APF, ASRL, SIA Habitat. It contributes to SDG 1, 9, 10, 11, 17. -Le Dispositif Emploi Accompagné Nord (DEA) – Northern Support Employement Scheme It is a scheme that eases access to employment, access to rights and care, supports smoothness in one’s life path, and builds inclusive employment. It brings together a large consortium of partners. It gives the right for PWD to be supported in their carrier. It contributes to SDG’s 1, 4, 8, 10, 17. -TechLab d’APF France handicap Is a center of Disability and New technologies expertise, to ease access to digital for PWD in order to support them in their daily lives. It promotes access to rights and health care. This centre evaluates the potential of new technologies and products which have abilities to compensate a disability or sensorial deficit. It aims at making as many people as possible aware of those technologies by informing and training helpers and beneficiaries. It supports the emergence of an inclusive society by collaborating with researchers and industrials to make sure the needs of PWD are included from the design stage. It aims to be the preferred contact from any person or entity looking for innovative accessibility solutions or looking to deepen their knowledge of digital use for PWD. This initiative contributes to SDG 3, 9, 10, 17. Some results from the environmental pillar: The aim of this pillar is to lower the organisation’s carbon footprint by questioning its catering system, mobilities, infrastructures and investing largely in digital. -Fight against food waste in Les Salines residency: the catering team along with the users put actions to reduce waste, favour short circuits in environmental concern. Contributes to SDG 2 and 12. -Adult pole of Valenciennes: training and raising awareness for the use of compost in the facility’s garden. Contributes to SDG 12. -Shared garden in Noeux-les-Mines residency: fight against isolation, exchange of knowledge and allow supported beneficiaries to participate in the neighbourhood’s life. Contributes to SDG 3 and 12. -Build a wind turbine in the Espace residency: to be autonomous in clean energy by building almost entirely the wind turbine by the residents themselves. Crowdfunding. Contributes to SDG 7, 9, 11, and 12. Results for the economic pillar: The aim is to successfully mix incoming resources by investing widely in social and solidarity economy or functionality economy. Promote circular and local economy, develop new vacancies in some facilities. -« Au paradis des fringues », a second-hand shop by the Oise delegation. Promote an economy model aiming at producing sustainable goods and services by limiting consumption and resource waste. This second-hand shop sells clothes for adults and children at low cost once a week thanks to donations and volunteers. The sells are made by both PWD and valid, contributing to SDG 8, 12. -Insect farm in Calais ESAT, to change eating habits in line with food norms. A new work aera for PWD. A partnership with an urban farm aiming at integrating insect proteins sustainably into our food diet. Contributes to SDG 2, 3, 8, 12, 17. Other initiatives are for instance the production of cosmetics, community houses and areas, shared gardens with food waste systems, some second-hand shops, a health app for remote consultancies. All of which are conducted by and for PWD along with non-disabled persons. These initiatives overall only had positive outcomes and few spillovers. The only negative impact would be that the regional institution responsible for health has difficulties recognising the seriousness of the approach. It has a hard time understanding that what is good for PWD is good for an aging society. In their quality evaluations, they do not look at CSR indicators but are centered on a solely medical perspective. However, in order to move towards an inclusive society, there is a need to translate the impacts of any approach.

    Enabling factors and constraints

    Having a sustainable development approach was not a total reformation since APF France handicap was already in this social and solidarity dynamic. It greatly helped for fast success and results. However, the CSR action plan is in conformity with the SDG’s since 2016. As for the finances, they also immensely allowed for such various initiatives to emerge with up to 4,5 million euros of funding. Overall, a lot of investments went into sustainable vehicles, food, and technologies. About human resources, the quality of life at work also allowed the workers and volunteers to fully engage with the CSR spirit.

    Sustainability and replicability

    On this scale, this CSR practice based on SDG’s can be easily replicated. Nevertheless, having support from a territorial institution such as a regional council greatly helps. The will and support from different territorial actors which are not only composed of the civil society are necessary to achieve such results.

    Other sources of information

    They are in french

    COVID-19 Impact

    COVID-19 was a curb in CSR and SDG’s implementation since priorities were recentred during 2020. PWD were greatly affected and left behind. But at the end of 2020, there was a remobilisation to learn what were the lessons from this crisis, what was the impact on sustainable development by working remotely online, and how to imagine it otherwise, in a more inclusive perspective. It raised many questions about the digitalisation of services and remote interventions.

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    This initiative does not yet fulfil the SMART criteria.
    01 January 2016 (start date)
    31 December 2030 (date of completion)
    APF France handicap région des Hauts de France
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    Other beneficiaries

    Beneficiaries are facility users, workers, volunteers. Beneficiaries are first and foremost PWD. The aim of the organisation’s involvement in CSR and SDG’s is to make a paradigm change, making PWD contribute to tomorrow’s region by including their problematics (health, accessibility, training, isolation). This will allow sometime around 2030 for quality life to influence public policies. A key partner was the regional council. It had from 2013 a master plan with a vision to 2030. Therefore, APF France handicap northern France entertained an exclusive partnership with the regional council. The main actors of the practice are the professionals composing the facilities as well as elected officials although it is the most complicated part as it can be difficult for them to foresee 10 years in the future.

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