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We chat to Jon Gibbins about making sustainability more accessible to Disabled people

Ahead of our hybrid meetup with As It Should Be, we spoke to Managing Director Jon Gibbins about how to make climate action inclusive to disabled people and sustainability more accessible.

As It Should Be help digital teams design and build accessible and sustainable products and services that don’t exclude Disabled people or cost the planet. They do this by showing how to practice accessibility and sustainability in the work you do – guiding the approach, embedding knowledge, and establishing strategies so that it simply becomes part of how you work.

With 20 years’ experience in digital accessibility, they are seasoned coders, testers and trainers. They’ve worked on websites, mobile apps, video and audio content, PDF documents and more for brands around the world and in a variety of sectors.

To join us in person or to watch live or later on Weds 21st September, please RSVP here:

Can you tell us more about As It Should Be and the journey so far?

Having worked as an independent digital accessibility consultant for nearly 20 years, several things over the last few years have brought me to starting As It Should Be, an agency helping digital teams design and build more accessible and sustainable digital products and services.

The COVID-19 pandemic provided that space to take stock and reassess, helping me to identify some problems in my work life and start to align my work with my values. I’ve had good and bad experiences as a freelancer, so I wanted to take a bit more control over projects and the impact they have. This resulted in positive outcomes for me, my business and its clients, so before long I want to amplify this impact and provide work opportunities that have meaning with positive social and environmental impact. So, I began building the sort of business I would want to work for—a responsible business using sustainable and ethical core values.

As it should be.

For me, it encapsulates how I feel digital should be—inclusive and sustainable—and the way business should be—collaborative, ethical, and a force for good. With that in mind, one of my proudest achievements is starting this next work chapter as a Certified B Corporation.

What are the most common ways in which disabled people are being excluded regarding climate change?

There’s very little research on this, but there are many parallels we can draw from other areas. Disabled people experience more negative outcomes – poorer health, education and employment; lower income; higher rates of poverty; higher cost of living. It’s important that Disabled people have their voices heard, can access information, and take part in climate action without being subject to “eco-ableism”.

What can we expect from your talk?

I like to try to encourage people to think differently about disability, but also how they communicate on complex, interconnected issues, such as justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. We’ll use disability and accessibility as a lens for exploring connections with the digital world and sustainability, hopefully providing some groundwork for taking new ways of thinking into your own work.

Are organisations beginning to understand the issue more and are they beginning to act?

I believe we’re starting to see exponential growth in more socially and environmentally conscious organisations. We can see this in the traction being gained by the B Corp movement, but also in more traditional businesses vying for our attention by proclaiming their green products and sustainability credentials, and creating more inclusive marketing campaigns. My hope is that this is signalling a new era of more empathic organisations that use more intersectional thinking, where each of our best interests are not siloed, but brought together into holistic policies and practices.

How can we find out more about this topic?

Disability inclusion isn’t a tick-box exercise. It’s vital to achieving the SDGs.

How disability inclusion is an integral part of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Climate change: Why are disabled people so affected by the climate crisis?

BBC article exploring how climate change affects Disabled people.

Intersectional Environmentalist

A website focussed on intersectional environmentalism, particularly the impact of climate change on and role of communities of colour.

Thanks Jon for the chat!