AIDS Accountability International (AAI) is today launching the AIDS Accountability Workplace Scorecard, a tool that will enable the monitoring and benchmarking of AIDS strategies and activities in the workplace in the countries and sectors most affected by the disease.
An estimated 33.3 million people globally are living with HIV and infection is concentrated among people of working age, meaning that workplaces are a critically important arena in the response to HIV and AIDS. A 2010 study for the NGO report submitted to the UNAIDS board found that between 40 percent and 61 percent of people living with HIV report having been victims of workplace discrimination through exclusion or being forced to disclose their HIV and AIDS status.
“With the launch of this new tool, AAI wishes to contribute to a trend of increased and improved HIV and AIDS workplace programmes in the most affected countries and sectors,” said Gustaaf Wolvaardt, chairman of AAI.
The Scorecard has been developed with technical support from the International Labour Organization and the International Trade Union Confederation.
Dr. Sophia Kisting, Director of the ILO Programme on HIV/AIDS and the world of work said: “The AIDS Accountability Workplace Scorecard will help challenge workplace partners towards yet greater impact of their all-important workplace HIV programmes. This most useful tool is timely and will support companies to more optimally implement the universal principles of the ILO Recommendation on HIV and AIDS in their work.”
“This is a useful new initiative in the global fight against the pandemic. The emphasis on the workplace is especially important, and trade unions representing workers around the world will be ready and willing to make the most effective use of the scorecard, as part of the ongoing determination of the union movement to tackle HIV and AIDS,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the 175-million-member International Trade Union Confederation.
HIV and AIDS Workplace Programmes The 2010 International Labour Organization Recommendation on HIV and AIDS and the World of Work (No.200) sets the international human rights standard for the response to HIV and AIDS in the workplace.
Research has shown that investing in HIV and AIDS interventions in the workplace makes good business sense. Studies conducted in Botswana and South Africa by the Boston University School of Public Health have shown that providing treatment to HIV infected employees produced positive returns on investment for the vast majority of companies.
Benefits of the Scorecard Gavin George, Senior Researcher at HEARD, University of Kwazulu- Natal, developed the first version of the Scorecard. He hopes that the Workplace Scorecard will have a two-fold benefit of acknowledging those that have taken an active role in the response to HIV and AIDS, and enabling better understanding of the overall response to AIDS in a given country.
“The South African Business Coalition on HIV & Aids (SABCOHA) fully supports this initiative and we believe that it will not only make a valuable impact in the programmes that the private sector undertakes, but that it is also a significant step in helping mobilise business to make even greater strides in enforcing workplace programmes,” said Brad Mears, CEO of SABCOHA.
The Workplace Scorecard will present the most important HIV and AIDS workplace indicators across four areas: governance; prevention; the treatment, care and support of workers and their family members living with HIV; and programme extension.
Participating companies and organizations will submit workplace information through a scorecard questionnaire, available on AAI’s website. Reported data will be verified and scored, and participants will receive a ranking analysis and recommendations on how their workplace programme can be improved. Participants will also be encouraged, but not required, to publish their ranking on AAI’s website and be part of a good practice community.
Johanna Löfgren von Bahr, Head of AAI’s Workplace Initiative said that transparency is one of the cornerstones of accountability, as it nurtures stakeholder engagement, sharing of good examples and ultimately action for programme improvement.
The Scorecard was piloted with a group of large multinational companies that have been widely recognized for their work in the prevention and mitigation of HIV and AIDS in the workplace. Among them are Anglo American, Ford, Heineken and Levi Strauss & Co.
“Levi Strauss & Co. has been working to end the spread of HIV and AIDS for nearly 30 years, and the AIDS Accountability Workplace Scorecard offers us the opportunity to continue to improve our workplace HIV and AIDS efforts. In addition, it offers us the chance to share best practices, improve transparency and encourage greater participation of other organizations around the world to establish a new global standard for addressing HIV and AIDS in the workplace,” said Paurvi Bhatt, the senior director of strategic health initiatives at Levi Strauss &Co.
About AIDS Accountability International (AAI)
AIDS Accountability International (AAI) is a non-profit organization, based in Sweden and South Africa, which assesses the performance of public and private stakeholders in the response to AIDS to improve accountability and leadership. The AIDS Accountability Workplace Initiative aims to raise awareness about HIV and AIDS in the workplace and the important role that workplace HIV and AIDS programmes can play in reducing the impact of the epidemic.