500 CEOS OF MAJOR ORGANISATIONS CREATE THE WORLD’S BIGGEST COMMUNITY FOR DISABILITY BUSINESS INCLUSION

  •  Global business collective, The Valuable 500, announces it has reached its milestone of securing commitments from 500 global CEOs and their companies worldwide.
  • The Valuable 500 announces 13 iconic global business leaders who will be fundamental in co-creating solutions for the ambitious phase 2 system change programme. These come from the computing, technology, telecommunications, retail and consumer, and professional services industries.
  • Joining the iconic leaders, The Valuable 500 announces Apple as the iconic partner for inclusive design.
  • The Valuable 500 movement will be critical as new research revealed today shows that there are no executives or senior managers who have disclosed a disability at any of the FTSE 100 companies.

London, 18th May, 7:30am: Global business collective, The Valuable 500, announces it has reached its goal of 500 international organisations committing to put disability inclusion on their board agenda, making it the world’s biggest CEO collective for disability inclusion.

Since The Valuable 500 was launched at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos in 2019, some of the most recognisable businesses from across the world have joined the campaign for inclusion, including Allianz, Apple, BBC, BP, The Coca-Cola Company, Daimler, Deloitte, EY, Google, Microsoft, Nestle, P&G, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Prada, Shell, Sky, Sony, Twitter, Unilever, Virgin Media, Verizon and Vodafone. The membership includes 36 of the FTSE 100 companies, 46 of the Fortune 500 and 28 of the Nikkei.

Almost three quarters (70%) of its members, have a turnover of over $1 billion, with half (52%) of those committed to the campaign employing more than 10,000 people. The organisations supporting The Valuable 500 have a combined revenue of over $8 trillion and over 20 million employees across 36 countries, demonstrating the weight of The Valuable 500’s reach and influence. Particularly strong sectors pushing for disability inclusion through the campaign include the finance, food & drink, hospitality, big tech computing & telecoms and legal industries.

This comes as new research from The Valuable 500 and Tortoise Media reveals that there are no executives or senior managers who have disclosed a disability in company reporting by the FTSE 100, while only 12% report on the total number of their employees who are disclosed as disabled. Ahead of Global Accessibility Awareness Day on the 20th May, the research reinforces that while disability inclusion is now on the business agenda, it still has a long way to go before true inclusion is achieved.

The average representation of people with disabilities amongst employees as reported by FTSE 100 companies currently stands at only 3.2%, compared to the percentage of the wider population with a disability, which sits at 18%.

The research found that only 5% of FTSE 100 companies have issued board level statements on disability as part of their leadership agenda. With digital accessibility more important than ever, almost 1 in 3 companies (29%) are failing to meet website accessibility standards, potentially missing out on a $13 trillion market, made up from the disposable income of persons with disabilities and their friends and family.

While the new research shows stark findings on disability inclusion across the FTSE 100, it also indicates that this is set to change, with 16 out of the 100 companies having set credible targets related to representation of people with disabilities, and more set to put these targets in place. This includes 37 companies within the FTSE 100 setting up employee resource groups, or equivalents, to specifically support people with disability.

All members of The Valuable 500 have made a public commitment to advancing disability inclusion within their organisations – whether it be employee, customer or supply chain related, positive change is already in action. Their commitments include the appointment of advisory boards or specialists, as pledged by Sky, Lenovo and Pladis, setting up a global employee network as initiated by Allianz, increased representation, as championed by the BBC, advertising campaigns featuring people with disabilities, as launched by Kurt Geiger and Tesco, adaptive product ranges promoted by Tommy Hilfiger, PVH Corp and UGG, and employment opportunities, as pioneered by companies including Unilever, IHG and AutoTrader. Major technology and communications companies including Verizon, Adobe, GSMA and Microsoft have already taken steps to improve digital accessibility in their products and wider industries.

Since reaching the goal of 500 organisations in May 2021, The Valuable 500 has launched phase 2 of the campaign, which will see the 500 major organisations work together to make change happen for disability inclusion in business. The Valuable 500 has also received the largest ever investment into disability business inclusion, with The Nippon Foundation investing $5 million to catalyse new Valuable 500 initiatives.

As part of phase 2, 13 Iconic Leaders across The Valuable 500 will co-fund, co-build and co-test the programmes and solutions, using their industry experience to help catalyse progress for the entire community. These leaders are Allianz, BBC, Deloitte, EY, Google, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., LSEG, Omnicom, P&G, Salesforce, Sony, Sky and Verizon. The CEOs of all of these companies are committed to working together to lead by example and transform the business system for disability inclusion.

Joining these 13 iconic leaders and the community today as the 500th company, Apple has become the Iconic partner for Inclusive Design. This will help ensure that The Valuable 500 can drive the highest levels of inclusive design and share that knowledge within the community of members, and beyond.

Leveraging their Self-ID work, Google and Deloitte will be working together to carry out an internal census playbook that will enable our signatories to understand disability within their workforce and any barriers that currently exist to inclusion within the organisation. Salesforce and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. will facilitate a jobs portal made by people with disabilities to ensure greater access to opportunities and more diverse workforces. P&G and Omnicom will conduct a brand audit, to help our signatories gain insight from disabled consumers, driving innovation opportunities. EY and Sky will be supporting the build out of a global research panel of 5,000 people with disabilities to give direct insight on the workings of the 500 companies. Allianz and The London Stock Exchange Group will contribute to The Inclusive Index Programme, to influence the indices to incorporate disability measures into their criteria. Sony will be supporting the increased representation for disabled people both on and off camera. Verizon will largely be focused on inclusive technology and equipping a pipeline of next-gen talent with accessibility skills, whilst the BBC is supporting Valuable Virtual – to enable the community to share their ideas virtually.

Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500, commented: “Today we have broken the leadership silence on disability inclusion and put this on the business leadership agenda. We have now built this unique community and are launching phase 2. For me, the collective activation and innovation of this community for systemic business change has been a lifetime ambition. With the scale of the Valuable 500, change is possible because now we have the scale, the perfect time and the multiplier effect of this critical mass – it’s all about intention.”

Paul Polman, Chairman of The Valuable 500 and former CEO of Unilever, commented: “I am delighted to be part of The Valuable 500 as we hit this important goal. Since the launch of #Valuable at One Young World in Bogota in 2017 and the inception of The Valuable 500 at Davos in 2019, the campaign’s ambitious goal to fundamentally transform the global business system and fight for an equal and inclusive society has made incredible progress. I am proud to have been part of the journey from the beginning and continue to play a role as the campaign enters phase 2.

“With Tortoise’s research today showing that only a small minority of the FTSE 100 are actively tackling and addressing disability inclusion at a leadership level, there is plenty more business leaders globally can and must do to better serve the 1.3 billion people worldwide with disabilities. The commitments made by the 500 global companies over the course of the last two years have already made a tangible difference, and I greatly look forward to playing a role in activating this network and accelerating disability inclusion worldwide.”

Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director of the International Disability Alliance, commented: “The Valuable 500 collective reaching its goal marks an important moment for the disability inclusion community globally.

“Although the disabled community still encounters many barriers, the important work of Caroline and the 500 business leaders who have joined her in committing to the campaign has already made a difference for millions of employees and consumers across the world, and will continue to do so as the campaign progresses.

“I am thrilled to have been involved in The Valuable 500’s achievements as it hits this historic goal, and look forward to being involved in the progress the campaign will undoubtedly continue to make through phase 2.”

Mr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation, commented: “I am very happy to share this significant moment in time as Global Impact Partner of The Valuable 500. The Nippon Foundation has been dedicated to supporting persons with disabilities by providing opportunities to access higher education with the hope of making them leaders in their own countries for more than 50 years.

“However, through these experiences, I am fully convinced that supporting minority disability groups and reaching out to public institutions or governments will not bring about effective social change. Unless the majority of the society changes, the world will never change.

“The challenge of the Valuable 500, which involves major global corporations, will mark a new phase in disability support from a business perspective. I am hoping this community will be utilised to the fullest extent and help to promote disability inclusion in the business environment, so that the whole of society will get one step closer to a truly inclusive one that everyone can participate in, either with or without disabilities.”

—- Ends —–

Media contacts

For interviews and further information, please contact:

Jemima Young

Seven Hills

Telephone: +44 7825 952263

Email: jemima.young@wearesevenhills.com

 

Richard Poston

Director of Communications, The Valuable 500

Email: Richard@thevaluable500.com

Notes to Editors  

About The Valuable 500

Valuable was launched by social entrepreneur and activist Caroline Casey at One Young World 2017 in Bogota, Colombia and the inception of The Valuable 500 was announced at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2019. Today The Valuable 500 is the largest community of Global CEOs committed to disability inclusion in business.

Since its creation, The Valuable 500 has achieved its initial goal of persuading 500 multinational organisations to make a public commitment to disability inclusion in their organisation, igniting a historic global movement for a new age of diversity in business. The Valuable 500 and their global impact partner The Nippon Foundation, will be working closely with the World Economic Forum and International Disability Alliance – bringing together a leading philanthropic organisation with the most prestigious global business network and the voice of the global disability community.

By engaging with the world’s most influential business leaders and brands, the network now has a combined revenue of over $8 trillion and employs a staggering 20 million people worldwide. Its members include 13 global CEOs and companies who will be spearheading the programmes and services to be offered under Phase 2 of the campaign, which will be activated through global disability surveys, disability trend reports and an executive disability resource hub.

After reaching this important milestone, the Valuable 500 is determined to create a community that supports and empowers its 500 members to systematically transform their businesses so they include the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities worldwide, thereby unlocking their business, social and economic potential.

We believe that if business takes a lead, society and government will follow, truly inclusive businesses can build truly inclusive societies.

THE VALUABLE 500 INITIATIVES – PHASE 2

Our Valuable Model for System Change focuses on 6 impact areas.

  • 3 internal drivers that CEOs can influence within their own organisations:
    C-Suite, Culture and Customer.
  • 3 external drivers that CEOs can collectively influence beyond their organisation: Reporting, Research and Representation.

We are working with The Iconic Leaders on signature projects within each of these impact areas:

C-SUITE

  1. C-suite Stories – ALL

The power of storytelling and visible role models across our C-suite. This initiative is all about encouraging leaders to share their stories of disability which we will capture through interviews, short films and as written pieces to share with the community.

  1. Valuable Minds and 500 meet 500 – ALL

A global tribe of 500 young people with disabilities – one from each of our 500 organisations  – who have insight into the business they work in and first-hand experience of how disability inclusion could innovate in that space. These are the movers and shakers of tomorrow and we want to bring these powerful voices and influencers together. Once this tribe has been built, we will launch 500 meet 500 – our reverse-mentoring programme for CEOs.

CULTURE

  1. The Valuable Census – Deloitte and Google

A simple internal census that will enable our signatories to understand what percentage of their workforce has a disability and any barriers to recruitment/employment/optimum contribution. This will be sent out to each of our 500 companies to send on to their employees. When multiplied by 500 organisations and cascaded down to 20 million+ employees globally, this information is hugely valuable and much needed. The plan is for all 500 of our organisations to conduct the questionnaire over the same time frame to give us a global data point from which to grow as a community.

  1. Valuable Talent – Salesforce and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

A jobs portal made by people with disabilities for people with disabilities. Allowing our 500 organisations to advertise roles and build a diverse workforce, while combatting the global unemployment rate for PWD.

CUSTOMER

  1. The Valuable Brand Audit – P&G and Omnicom

The Valuable Brand Experience Audit will help our signatories identify where the barriers are for disabled customers across their brand experience – both digitally and physically – providing insight from disabled consumers to drive innovation opportunities.

  1. Accessible Technology – Verizon

Teach Access is a collaboration among education, industry, and disability advocacy organisations to enhance students’ understanding of digital accessibility as they learn to develop and build new technology with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. The Valuable 500 will work with Verizon to scale this programme by connecting the innovators of tomorrow with the businesses of today to ensure technology is born accessible and designed for people with disabilities.

REPORTING

  1. The Inclusive Index Programme – The London Stock Exchange Group and Allianz

Working with Refinitiv (a London Stock Exchange Group company) and using their Measure Up initiative with the Fortune 500 to replicate the methodology and drive public disclosure of disability inclusion metrics across our 500 companies. We want to influence the indices to incorporate disability measures into their criteria.

  1. RESEARCH

The Valuable Listening Tool – Sky and EY

We are supporting the build out of a listening tool to connect the global disability community with our 500 organisations. This will create a feedback loop allowing customers to feed back in real time on mainstream products and services while providing direct insight for The Valuable 500 organisations. We will issue insight reports to our 500 companies which will allow them to innovate and optimise the customer experience.

REPRESENTATION

  1. The Valuable Media Hub – Sony

Supporting Getty Images and Zebedee Management, or similar, to create a different approach to representation of disabled people both in front of and behind the camera. We will build an image library for corporates to use both internally and in their marketing communications, as well as showcasing creative talent across all marketing elements for our companies to use – illustrators, animators, artists, video footage etc.

FURTHER QUOTES – ICONIC CEOs

Oliver Bäte – Global CEO, Allianz

  • “As members of The Valuable 500 we can learn from each other in order to improve the experience and employment of people with disabilities. As a business leader, I would like to make this personal commitment because I really believe in diversity as an opportunity. It is not an obstacle to overcome, it is actually a huge opportunity because diverse companies are performing better than non-diverse companies. So it’s not just a social obligation, it’s a huge opportunity for our company.”
  • “I hope that the future of disability inclusion highlights one important point – that we don’t talk about what people cannot do, but we talk about what we can do, and that’s the important mindset. We should be positive around addressing obstacles to success, not just whether they come from disability but also gender, race, age and other differences and make them an asset: an opportunity, not an obstacle.”

Tim Davie CBE – Director-General, BBC

  • “Diversity isn’t simply about assembling the right ratio of people with different characteristics and identities. It’s about understanding why those differences are valuable and making sure everyone can thrive and succeed. We need to focus on how we can better reach, retain and support the development of disabled talent. I want us to do everything we can to test our processes, tackle barriers and build an accessible culture and environment for everyone.”
  • “I want the BBC to become an Iconic Company because our goal is to set the standard as one of the world’s most inclusive media organisations. It is part of the BBC’s public service responsibility to reflect and represent the whole of the society it serves, in our workforce and in what we produce on air and on screen. It is also the best way for us to succeed. If we can’t embrace the widest possible range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences, then we immediately limit our creative capacity. That creativity is the very lifeblood of the BBC – for us, disability inclusion is mission critical.”

 Sharon Thorne – Global Chair, Deloitte 

  • “Deloitte’s purpose is to make an impact that matters, for our people, our clients and the communities that we work in. We are able to facilitate engagement and collaboration and can bring insight tools and technology that will support the journey, as well as a willingness to share, collaborate and learn along the way. We are all on the journey together.”
  • “We are really looking forward to working with The Valuable 500 to solve the cultural blockers to disability inclusion in business, and to help create a society where everyone feels they belong and is respected for their unique talents. We will bring our capabilities, experience and passion to enable and deliver change. This won’t happen overnight, but we have signed up to create change and make a difference.”

Carmine di Sibio – Global Chairman and CEO, EY

  • “Being an iconic organization is so important to EY. We were involved with The Valuable 500 from the very beginning, and it’s important that we continue to drive inclusiveness around disabilities around the world. We will be working with The Valuable 500 team on many different areas where we can help; in particular we’ll be supporting a listening tool. Listening is so important to learn and to make sure that we’re doing better as we go forward.” 
  • “If everything worked well, there wouldn’t be a need for The Valuable 500.  We would make sure that everyone has access, and that people with disabilities are included in all organizations around the world. But of course we have a long way to go to get there, which is what makes The Valuable 500 so important.”

David Schwimmer – CEO, LSEG 

  • “We’ll be working with The Valuable 500 to create a more inclusive working environment for our people – both within LSEG and across the global business community. LSEG will bring the opportunity to gather data from the members of The Valuable 500 and use this data to spotlight issues and drive change, so that we can all create a more inclusive environment for those with disabilities.”
  • “I want to make this commitment to The Valuable 500 because it’s the right thing to do. It’s a basic issue of decency and fairness, both to our people and to people at large. Beyond this, creating an inclusive working environment is also better for business, as it means we can attract as many talented people as possible. The business community can take the lead in driving this change.” 

Dr Anish Shah – Managing Director and CEO, Mahindra Group

  • “A strong workplace is the one that welcomes diversity of talent, ideas and opinions, and celebrates the uniqueness of every individual, enabling them to Rise. It is our privilege to be a part of the Valuable 500 as it focuses on putting disability on the boardroom agenda, it will help gather the momentum to unlock the hidden potential of a largely untapped community. Mahindra Group is committed to disability inclusion and my hope for the future is to imbibe ‘ability and disability diversity’, building and nurturing capabilities without any bias and becoming truly inclusive.”

John Wren – Chairman and CEO, Omnicom

  • “Addressing and improving disability inclusion is a long-term and necessary commitment for any business that hopes to have a truly diverse workforce. At Omnicom, creating a safe and open environment for all employees is a constant priority, and we’re excited to continue to support The Valuable 500 in its efforts to improve business behaviours, break down barriers and create more job opportunities for persons with disabilities.”

David S. Taylor – Chairman, President and CEO, P&G

  • “The Valuable 500 is important because building an accessible and inclusive environment for all is not something any one company can achieve alone. To advance equality and inclusion, we know we have to partner with like-minded organisations to share learnings and identify areas where we can work together to develop programmes that can change lives for the better.”
  • “We want to reflect the world around us because we know that the more diverse we are, the better we are able to meet the needs of consumers and customers. We serve about 5 billion people – we need our products to be able to deliver experiences that accommodate all people who want to use them.”

Kenichiro Yoshida – Chairman, President and CEO, Sony Group Corporation

  • “We are proud to be part of The Valuable 500, bringing together business leaders from across the world to work towards a society where everyone has an equal opportunity to demonstrate their unique skills and abilities as a person. 
  • “We want the world to be an inclusive one and as an Iconic company, we want to maximise the power of technology and creativity, to make products and services more accessible for everyone.”

Dana Strong – CEO, Sky Group

  • “As a person and as a leader, I wanted to make this commitment to help drive real change for people with disabilities. I want to help raise awareness and build advocacy to such an extent that disability inclusion becomes an essential part of every business. I believe we can create a level playing field for people with disabilities through inclusive products and services. And using our voice at Sky to drive positive change in society. It is that sense of responsibility and opportunity that we want to share with the other iconic companies and Valuable 500.”

 Hans Vestberg – Chairman and CEO, Verizon Group

  • “I believe that The Valuable 500 is important because by joining forces with other like-minded organisations, we’ll have a greater impact on driving and advancing disability inclusion. Equality and disability inclusion go hand in hand – we can’t claim to move the world forward, when anyone is left behind.”
  • “I want Verizon to become an Iconic company because I believe technology is key to unlocking a more inclusive and equitable future for people with disabilities. The right technology can offer a greater quality of life, access and independence, which is why it is so important to amplify the voices of the disability community and bring their perspectives to the forefront, as a guiding principle around what we create and build.”

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