Tech companies playing ‘integral part’ of global disability inclusion initiative

, Tech companies playing ‘integral part’ of global disability inclusion initiative

ATOS, Boeing, Citibanamex, EY, Firmenich SA, ManpowerGroup, Merlin Entertainments, Sanofi, West Ham United, Xceed and Zurich have this May joined The Valuable 500 movement by committing to put disability on their leadership agendas.

Since the launch at the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, momentum has continued to build as businesses recognise the strong business case for inclusion of the 1.3 billion people living with a disability. The number of businesses signed up to become accountable has doubled to 25 businesses – totalling over 2 million employees, with conversation ongoing with a further 120 global brands and more announcements set to happen shortly.

Today, over one billion people across the world live with some form of disability – 15% of the global population. The current global employment rate for disabled people is half that of non-disabled people, a gap that has widened since 2010.

The Valuable 500 represents the first truly global campaign of disability inclusion with businesses from UK, US, Spain, Australia, Ireland, Mexico, France and Switzerland signing up. The Valuable 500 recognises that when businesses take the lead and take action, society will follow leading to real change being made.

The Valuable 500 launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos in January. Other global brands that have already signed up include Virgin Media, BraunAbility, Cinepolis, Unilever, Barclays, Accenture, Microsoft, Fujitsu, APM, Omnicom Group, Cerealto Siro, Bloomberg, Sainsburys and Danske Bank.

Along with their friends, families and communities, the 1.3 billion disabled people worldwide also hold a disposable annual income of $8 trillion a year, equating to an opportunity that business cannot afford to ignore. Of those 1.3 billion, 80% of disabilities are acquired in later life, and our ageing global population means the prevalence of disability is on the rise.

Within the last week alone the founder of #valuable and The Valuable 500 Caroline Casey has spoken at an exclusive Omnicom hosted event in New York, the Marketing Society and an event hosted by the Countess of Wessex at St James Palace. Caroline announced the news of the latest companies to sign up at the annual Bloomberg Equality Summit in London.

On pledging its support to The Valuable 500, Dennis Muilenburg, Chairman, President and CEO of Boeing said:

“To achieve our bold goals and aspiration, we must attract, retain and engage an incredibly diverse talent pipeline that includes individuals with disabilities. We benefit from their talents, experiences and perspectives, which make us better. Boeing is committed to disability inclusion as part of our broader diversity and inclusion strategy that helps drive innovation throughout the company.” 

Jonas Prising, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup, said:

“We are committed to championing diversity and inclusion at work.

“Diversity of people brings diversity of thought, leading to better decision making and business performance. That’s why we are proud to join with many of the world’s leading companies to support the Valuable 500 and to commit to concrete actions to support people of all abilities.” 

Gilbert Ghostine, CEO of Firmenich, said:

“We want to make sure Firmenich remains the most inspirational place to work in our industry with a culture and working environment that enables all our colleagues to thrive.

 “We have been walking the talk on diversity and inclusion for over four decades, and count already hundreds of highly talented colleagues with different abilities within our operations globally. Partnering with the Valuable 500 will enable us to exchange best practices with like-minded companies to accelerate this movement.”

Being inclusive of customers with disabilities has economic value. In the UK alone, the spending power of people with disabilities and their families has been estimated at £249 billion. For the UK leisure and hospitality sector, the total inclusive tourism market is worth over £12 billion with families having a member with a disability proven to stay longer and spend more.

 Nick Varney, CEO of Merlin Entertainments, said:

“Our core purpose and driving passion is to provide magical and memorable days out for everyone, including the many guests with disabilities that visit our attractions. At Merlin we continue to make accessibility and inclusion one of our key priorities and are proud of the steps we have taken to date to create welcoming environments for both attraction visitors and our employees with disabilities. 

“By joining The Valuable 500, we want to encourage our business partners and other industry leaders to get involved and discover how different thinking and innovation can drive change to the benefit of their organisations and everyone associated with them.” 

The Valuable 500 is a catalyst for an inclusion revolution that exists to position disability equally on the global business leadership agenda. The Valuable 500 was established in 2018 following EY research which demonstrates that disability is only discussed by about 4% of global businesses, with an aim to unlock the value of people living with disabilities across the world.

Mark Weinberger, CEO of EY, said:

“Diversity & Inclusion are essential elements of culture, which defines any organisation. At EY, this is a core piece of our Vision 2020+ strategy, as we know we can’t be successful unless our workforce is made up of diverse talent and all EY people are fully involved and engaged.  Our differences make us better.  Leveraging our unique strengths and capabilities makes us stronger.” 

Luis Sayeg, Groupo Financirro Citibanamex’s LatAm’s Disability Affinity Leader, said:

We’re going to work with others across the firm to sustain an inclusive culture for individuals with disabilities.  Every colleague at Citibanamex, including those with disabilities, should understand that we want them to participate fully in our community and our business – and if they need support in order to do so, we are committed to providing it.”

Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500 said:

“We are reaching a historic crossroads in which the voice of over one billion people will no longer be ignored. We are proud to see so many businesses signing up to realise the power true inclusivity can have in a business – but there is still a long way to go to create a truly inclusive society. 

As the Gender pay gap and gay pride have shown before us that huge strides to inclusivity can be met when business and society work together. It is time we don’t leave disability out of this momentum. 

“I urge businesses to join The Valuable 500 movement and stop being ‘diversish’. It’s no longer good enough for companies to say ‘disability doesn’t fit with our brand’ or ‘it’s a good idea to explore next year’. Businesses who are not considering becoming accountable to disability inclusion need to ask themselves if they are happy to remain diversish – if they are happy to not be truly diverse.”

Spearheaded by award-winning activist, social entrepreneur and Binc founder Caroline Casey, who is registered blind,  #valuable, the organisation behind the launch of The Valuable 500, is supported by a number of high profile businesses and business leaders, including strategic partners Omnicom and Virgin Media, and leaders including Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group, Paul Polman, former CEO Unilever, Janet Riccio, EVP, Omnicom Group, Peter Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg L.P., and Mark Weinberger, CEO, EY.

In 2017, Caroline launched #valuable at One Young World, the global summit for young leaders, providing a platform to activate a new generation of future leaders who care passionately about disability inclusion and aren’t afraid to be vocal about it.

To apply to be a Valuable 500 business, please visit thevaluable500.com.