crpdThe Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is good for business, testified tech giant IBM at the second hearing on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The hearing was held on Nov. 21 in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“As use of accessible technology increases, we have a unique opportunity to transform not only the way we do business, but our society as a whole,” said  Frances West, IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center director. According to West, failure to ratify the CRPD could choke marketplace opportunities and impact our ability to influence global accessible technologies, since technologies like smart phones and Google Glass could have 2.5 billion users by 2017.

Secretary of State John Kerry also touted the CRPD’s economic benefits. “As other countries rise to meet our standards … they will look to our businesses for accessible products and technologies,” he said. Kerry cautioned these benefits would take time. “When we passed the ADA, sidewalks with curb cuts and accessible bathrooms didn’t appear the next day; nor did all of the businesses that make accessible products.”