LARGEST SINGLE INVESTMENT INTO DISABILITY BUSINESS INCLUSION AS THE NIPPON FOUNDATION INVESTS $5 MILLION INTO THE VALUABLE 500

  • The Nippon Foundation is announced as the Global Impact Partner of The Valuable 500, the largest global network of CEOs committed to disability inclusion – the largest ever single investment into disability business inclusion
  • Today a further 54 corporations announce membership of The Valuable 500, bringing the total to date to 415 companies from 35 countries that have pledged action on disability inclusion, including Bupa Global, Burberry, The Coca-Cola Company, Credit Suisse, Nestlé, Prada Group and Siemens AG
  • The International Disability Alliance (IDA) joins the World Economic Forum as a high impact partner

29.01.21: Today, The Valuable 500 announces that Japan’s biggest private foundation, The Nippon Foundation, is joining as a Global Impact Partner and investing $5 million into the largest network of global CEOs committed to disability inclusion in business. This is the largest ever single investment into disability business inclusion.

This announcement comes as the International Disability Alliance join the World Economic Forum as The Valuable 500’s new high impact partner. Bringing together a leading philanthropic organisation with the most prestigious global business network and the voice of the global disability community.

Following the announcement Mr Yohei Sasakawa, Chairman of The Nippon Foundation said: “It is truly a special day as we officially announce our partnership with The Valuable 500. The Nippon Foundation has been in constant pursuit of supporting persons with disabilities around the world since our establishment in 1962,  and we have invested more than $1.3 billion in education and social welfare since then.  

“Having spent a major part of my life supporting marginalized people left behind the mainstream of society, I am fully convinced that supporting minority disability groups just by reaching out to public institutions such as governments and the United Nations will not bring about effective social change. Unless the majority of society changes, the world will never change. The Valuable 500 initiative brings disability business inclusion commitment into the global CEO community for the first time not simply based on the concept of social welfare.

“Social participation for persons with disabilities means to be able to work and to become taxpayers. Work promotes talents leading the way to self-confidence, pride and happiness. A new work environment is created when diverse groups of people, with or without disabilities interact freely and take action. The initiative of The Valuable 500 coincides with my conviction. I am very happy that we, The Nippon Foundation can cooperate with The Valuable 500 as its Global Impact Partner. I sincerely hope that we will be able to be a “game-changer“ in order to realize a better world, an inclusive society, together by using this new initiative of The Valuable 500 to its full capacity.”

Vladimir Cuk, Executive Director, International Disability Alliance, also comments: “It is a great pleasure and honor to serve as a strategic partner to The Valuable 500, together with The Nippon Foundation and the World Economic Forum. For the International Disability Alliance inclusion of persons with disabilities in business is one of the key priorities of our work. The world has advanced significantly in promoting the rights of persons with disabilities over the last several years, especially since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, but discrimination in employment and business remains one of the areas where there is still a lot to be done. That is why the innovative partnership with The Valuable 500 and 415 companies is so important and we are excited to shape the future of the business world together.”

The funding allows The Valuable 500 to launch Phase 2 of its global campaign shortly. This is designed to activate the community of 500 CEOs and brands for global change. Phase 2 will focus on 6 pillars, three internally in organisations namely Leadership, Culture and Brand, and three externally, Research, Reporting and Representation. These programmes and services will be developed and delivered in partnership with a number of Iconic CEO partners and companies from among those already signed up. These represent some of the largest brands in the world which will invest in, help create and road test products and services which will then be rolled out across the 500 business community so together we can drive system change to materially improve disability inclusion within business.

The announcement of the investment and partnerships come as a further 54 corporations announce membership, bringing the total to 415 companies that have  joined The Valuable 500 to pledge their accountability for improving disability inclusion in their businesses.

The new companies include, AESC, Akbank, Alstom, Axel Springer, Baker Mckenzie, Bayer AG, Bristol Myers Squibb, BUPA Global, Burberry, Canada Post, Close Brothers Group, The Coca-Cola Company, Credit Suisse, DMM.com, DTE Energy, Euromoney Institutional Investor Plc, Expo 2020 Dubai, Fast Retailing, owner of casual apparel brand UNIQLO, Hempel A/S, Intertek, KBZ Bank, Kidzania, Lidl Ireland, Logitech, Maxon Group, Mazars, Mazda Motor Corporation, Michelin, Mintel Group, Micron Technology, Monex Group, Nestlé, News UK, Norsk Rikskringkasting, Old National Bank, OMRON, Onest Mexico, Partner Communications, Prada Group, Raiffeisen Bank International AG, Santen, Seiko Holdings Corporation, Serco Group, Shimizu Corporation, Siemens AG, Sompo Group, Sony Life Insurance, Springer Nature, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMBC Group), Suntory Holdings Limited, United States Steel Corporation and Vontier.

These latest global companies to join the movement are drawn from across the world, including Australia, USA, Canada, Mexico, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Turkey, Germany, United Arab Emirates and UK.

Launched at Davos in January 2019 by Caroline Casey and Paul Polman with the World Economic Forum, The Valuable 500 remains the only global CEO community dedicated to radically transforming the business system across the whole supply chain for the benefit of all those with a disability. In two years, over 400 CEOs have joined this community.

Since the launch, the World Economic Forum serves as an accelerator for The Valuable 500. As a high impact partner, the World Economic Forum supports The Valuable 500 to drive business action, capture and disseminate learnings and leverage leadership for scale.

To join The Valuable 500 a company needs the CEO to table disability inclusion at their board agenda, and make one commitment to change the inclusion agenda. The new sign ups revealed today bring the combined revenue of The Valuable 500’s current members to over $5.4 trillion, encompassing 64 sectors, with over 14.8 million employees and reaching across 35 countries. With the many ongoing conversations, it is anticipated that the membership of The Valuable 500 will be completed by this Spring.

Inclusion of persons with disabilities – referenced in five of the SDGs – and therefore The Valuable 500’s mission – will be integral to meeting the UN’s 2030 agenda in time over the next decade. Currently, 15% of the global population are persons with disabilities. This number increases to 53% when you include the families of persons with disabilities. Businesses cannot afford to exclude such a significant pool of talent, diversity of thought and customers with a spending power of $8 trillion per annum.

“In the two years since the Valuable 500 launched at Davos, over 400 major corporations have committed to improving disability inclusion in the workplace. This remarkable progress highlights that through thoughtful collective action we can drive meaningful change not just in our workplaces but in our economies and societies”, says Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum.

Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500, commented: “As we approach the second-year anniversary of the creation of The Valuable 500, I am honoured to see so many organisations and global voices step up and take a stand for disability inclusion – however we are not there yet. Millions of people globally are still being forgotten and left out due to a difference. We are thrilled The Nippon Foundation have joined as a key investor, and can ensure our work for global disability inclusion can continue going forwards. We are also delighted to have the World Economic Forum and IDA join as strategic partners, and continue to deliver the message of disability inclusion for all.”

Karen Greenbaum, President and CEO of AESC, comments:

“Dedicated to strengthening leadership worldwide, the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants (AESC) champions diversity and inclusion as a core tenet of our Code of Professional Practice. We believe that diverse organizations are better organizations. Working as trusted advisors to Boards and C-suites across industries and geographies, our members are committed to delivering diverse slates of candidates for senior roles—including candidates with disabilities—and identifying, attracting and developing leaders who can foster inclusive cultures so all talent has opportunity and access to thrive. As a member of the Valuable 500, we take action to bring disability inclusion into dialogue with the clients we serve.” 

Hakan Binbasgil, CEO of Akbank, comments:

“At Akbank it is our ambition to build a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. We believe that this is essential not only to create an environment that values every one of our colleagues, but also if we want to encourage creative, innovative and ambitious thinking that recognizes the skills and abilities of all. We are committed to our role in building a more inclusive environment for individuals with disabilities.”

Henri Poupart-Lafarge, CEO of Alstom, comments:

“Alstom has long been committed to improving the level of universal accessibility in the mobility sector, paying special attention to the needs of people with disabilities. Together, we are committing to boosting the accessibility even further and ensuring the participation of people with particular needs in our R&D projects. As for our workforce, it must reflect the diversity of the world’s passengers, that is why Alstom commits to continually increasing the number of employees with disabilities.”

Giovanni Caforio, Board Chair and CEO, Bristol Myers Squibb, comments:

“At Bristol Myers Squibb, we recognize and value the different abilities, perspectives and experiences of each member of our workforce. We are proud to be part of The Valuable 500 and commit to fostering a workplace where everyone is included. Disability inclusion is among the many facets of diversity that shape our company culture and support our mission of helping patients.”

Erica Bourne, Chief People Officer, Burberry, comments

 “We are proud to join the Valuable 500. Disability inclusion has to be a priority for business and we are accelerating our own progress by implementing a global disability audit framework to highlight where we can have the most impact. This work is part of our broader commitment to foster a truly open and inclusive environment, and we look forward to partnering with other signatories to drive meaningful change across the agenda.”

 James Quincey, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, comments:

“The Coca-Cola Company seeks to foster an inclusive culture that reflects the diversity of the markets that we serve. I am proud to stand alongside other business leaders in The Valuable 500, which seeks to put disability inclusion on the business leadership agenda inside our company and globally. ”

Thomas Gottstein, Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse Group, comments:

We are committed to advancing our culture of inclusion, partnership and a deep sense of belonging for all our colleagues. We are delighted to join the efforts of The Valuable 500, reinforcing our commitment to maintaining a respectful and inclusive environment where people with disabilities can thrive and grow.

Keishi Kameyama, President and CEO of DMM.com comments:

“A future everyone wants to see.” Under this slogan, we’re building an environment where all kinds of people can take advantage of their skills, whether they have disabilities or not. As a member of the Valuable 500, I’m excited to help create an inclusive society, and a work culture where employees with disabilities can contribute and flourish.”

Jerry Norcia, President and CEO of DTE Energy, comments:

“At DTE, we understand that all people thrive and succeed when they feel included, welcome and safe.

“We’re proud and excited to join with others to form The Valuable 500 as we continue to drive inclusion and empower people living with disabilities with support and opportunities in our company and our communities.”

Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Experience Officer of Expo 2020 comments:

“Between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring people, communities and nations together, for a truly global celebration of human innovation, imagination and ingenuity. Reflecting the welcoming and inclusive spirit of the UAE, we are committed to delivering an Expo for Everyone, with People of Determination recognized as vital stakeholders in our workforce, volunteer community, participants and global visitor base. At Expo 2020 we understand that accessibility and inclusion transcend standards and codes; they are achieved first by a fundamental mindset and commitment to social inclusion for all and we are proud to stand alongside other likeminded organisations as part of The Valuable 500.” 

Lars Petersson, CEO of Hempel A/S, comments:

“I am very proud that Hempel has joined the Valuable 500. For Hempel, Diversity and Inclusion is an integral part of the way we do business and the company we aspire to be in the future. 

“We strive to be a trusted partner for our employees and commit to empowering every employee to be their authentic self. Including disabilities in our efforts, whether physical or mental, is a necessary step in ensuring inclusion of the entire global Hempel family.”

Mike DeNoma, CEO of KBZ Bank, comments:

“We look forward to working with the Valuable 500 in our journey toward disability inclusion.”

 Xavier Lopez Ancona, CEO of KidZania, comments:

“KidZania’s essence is rooted in empowering children to become great global citizens that can contribute to the creation of the world as it should be, and we strive to do the same with our team. By joining The Valuable 500 movement, we reinforce our commitment  towards disabilities and growing together without exclusion nor discrimination  in order to promote a more united and empathetic community in all the territories where we operate.” 

Phil Verity, Senior Partner, Mazars, comments:

“We are delighted to be part of The Valuable 500. We will play our part as a firm to drive the importance of disability awareness as a key initiative on our leadership agenda. As a firm, we have a dedicated network (Speakeasy) that works within Mazars that will take an active role in educating and raising awareness of disability to ensure our workplace provides fair opportunities to all. Our motto is ‘seeing the ability within disability’. We look forward to working with the Valuable 500 to embed that message further.”

 Eugen Elmiger, CEO of Maxon Group, comments:

‘I’m proud that maxon joins ‘The Valuable 500’ and supports disability inclusion. For us, this is not just a phrase but business relevant.’

 Sanjay Mehrotra, President and CEO at Micron, comments:

“A diversity of viewpoints is essential to technology innovation. We’re committed to fostering an environment where all team members can share their ideas and contribute regardless of race, background or disability. We’re proud to join The Valuable 500’s global movement to create true inclusion in the workplace.”

Peter Haigh, Mintel CEO, comments:

“As experts in what consumers want and why, unbiased analysis and understanding of the behaviours of diverse consumer groups is critical to our research and the recommendations we make to our clients. At Mintel, we’re passionate about our commitment to The Valuable 500 and to ensuring that disability inclusion is central to how we foster and inspire diversity within our company culture, as well as with our partners and clients – helping both people and businesses grow.”

Oki Matsumoto, Monex Group, Inc. Representative Executive Officer and CEO, comments:

“Monex Group believes diversity, equity, and inclusion to be sources of creativity, which enables us to think beyond traditional frameworks and create evolutions. We are proud to be part of The Valuable 500 and commit to promote disability inclusion, which we believe help foster our creative culture.”

Rebekah Brooks, News UK, CEO comments, 

I am delighted to be signing News UK and Ireland up to the Valuable 500 and supporting the disabled community. We launched a diversity and inclusion strategy last year which aims to improve our diversity as an organisation and the representation of our audiences. If every organisation can pledge to make some small changes to improve the experience of disabled people, we can together make a huge difference.

Jim Ryan, Old National Chairman & CEO, comments:

“Old National Bank is honored and excited to join leaders from around the globe dedicated to advancing disability inclusion in the workplace. This extensive network will be highly instrumental in guiding companies on best practices in eliminating obstacles and employing more diverse and talented individuals.”

Lorenzo Bertelli, Prada Group Head of CSR, comments:

“The Valuable 500 community, which embraces a wide range of industries worldwide, is becoming stronger every day. I actively support the decision to join the coalition as I believe strongly in the value of diversity.” He added: “The different backgrounds of the companies adhering to the alliance is a crucial starting point to build a comprehensive global action plan, which will enrich all of us.”

Johann Strobl, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International, comments:

 “At Raiffeisen Bank International we consider diversity and inclusion as a key to success, which enables us to overcome boundaries. Therefore, we use the potential of our employees to generate added value for our workforce, our customers and society. For this reason we are proud to be part of The Valuable 500 movement and commit to pushing our efforts to be an inclusive employer as well as to support creating an inclusive society.”

Shigeo Taniuchi, President and CEO of Santen, comments:

“Santen is honored to join The Valuable 500 where many companies from various countries have joined in order to jointly bring about a global-scale impact on promoting inclusion for people with disabilities. As a company specialized in ophthalmology with our world vision Happiness with Vision, Santen is dedicated to delivering happiness to people through the best vision experience.  With a singular focus on eye health, Santen is committed to building an inclusive society regardless of visual impairment.” 

Rupert Soames OBE, Serco Group Chief Executive, commented:

“As a provider of Government services Serco thrives because of our talented, capable and diverse workforce, so we are proud to be part of the Valuable 500.  

“We believe that diverse teams, reflecting the communities we serve, provide meaningful and better service and greater value to our customers. 

“Today we actively encourage people with disability, conditions and limitations to join Serco, and we are constantly striving to provide inclusive workplaces for everyone to belong, have opportunities to thrive and where difference is valued.”

 Joe Kaeser, President and CEO of Siemens AG, comments:

“In times of populism, nationalism and deep societal divides, inclusion is more important than ever. Too often we neglect that society benefits from the diversity of human experience and ethnical origin. I believe corporations have a special responsibility to be a role model of diversity and inclusion. That’s why Siemens is proud to join the Valuable 500 Initiative.”

 Kengo Sakurada, Group CEO, Director, President and Representative Executive Officer, Sompo Holdings, Inc. comments:

“We at the Sompo Group are pleased to be a member of The Valuable 500. Our mission is to embody the Theme Park for Security, Health, and Wellbeing, where talents with different nationalities and values – regardless of gender or ability – work together, proving their strengths to the maximum extent possible. Joining The Valuable 500 will further drive us toward innovation. 

“Everyone has a unique perspective. We will be accomplishing our goal of Diversity & Inclusion by understanding and respecting our individual views and differences.” 

Frank Vrancken Peeters, Chief Executive Officer of Springer Nature Group, comments:

“The inclusive culture at Springer Nature drives our ambition to increase and improve accessibility across the business and in all that we publish. By joining the Valuable 500 we are committing publicly to do more to make a positive difference to disability inclusion.” 

Jun Ohta, President and Group CEO of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, comments:

“We are committed to creating a working environment  where every employee can fulfil their potential irrespective oftheir background, and where diversified talent bear even more synergy to generate new value, for our customers, our communities and our society. We will continue maximizing our support to employees with disabilities and strive to realize a society where people with disabilities can enrich their living with peace of mind.”

-ENDS-

Media contacts:

For interviews and further information, please contact:

Harriet Potter

Seven Hills

Telephone: +44 0794 807 4454

Email: harriet.potter@wearesevenhills.com

 

Richard Poston

Director of Communications, The Valuable 500

Email:  Richard@thevaluable500.com

Notes to editors

About The Valuable 500

Launched by social entrepreneur and activist Caroline Casey at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2019, The Valuable 500 aims to put disability on the global business leadership agenda.

The Valuable 500 was created by Binc, the organisation founded by Caroline Casey in 2015, with a mission to ignite a historic global movement for a new age of business inclusion – capitalising on Caroline Casey’s 18-year track record of success engaging over 450 organisations. The campaign has won three awards: a Cannes Lion, D&AD, and a BIMA.

Our goal is to persuade 500 multinational companies that have at least 1,000 employees to make a public commitment to advance disability inclusion in their organisation. By engaging the most influential business leaders and brands, we want to create a tipping point within business that unlocks the business, social and economic value of the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities around the world, and the millions of us who will become disabled over time

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

About the Nippon Foundation

 The Nippon Foundation, established in 1962, has been involved in activities to support persons with disabilities in Japan and around the world for more than 50 years. In the course of working together with persons with disabilities, they have learned that removing the obstacles that prevent their equal participation paves the way for everyone – with or without a disability – to demonstrate their full potential. Persons with disabilities have often been stereotyped as people who “need to be protected by society,” but that image needs to be swept aside through a paradigm shift toward viewing them as “contributors to society.” For them It is important that they continue to lend a helping hand to people facing severe difficulties and also to carry on the support activities that aim to provide equal opportunities. But, at the same time, The Nippon Foundation wants to contribute to that paradigm shift by offering innovative support that seeks to allow highly talented persons with disabilities to better display their abilities and thereby lead the way in encouraging and inspiring others in society.

About International Disability Alliance

International Disability Alliance (IDA) is an Alliance of eight global and six regional organisations of persons with disabilities, bringing together over 1,100 organisations of persons with disabilities and their families from over 180 countries.  IDA’s vision is a society which values diversity, respects equality and realises the full potential of persons with disabilities in order to build a better world for all.  Its mission is to advance the human rights of persons with disabilities as a united voice of organisations of persons with disabilities utilising the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and other human rights instruments.

About the World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum’s New Economy and Society Platform is focused on building prosperous, inclusive and just economies and societies. The platform takes an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, and aims to tackle exclusion, bias and discrimination related to race, gender, ability, sexual orientation and all other forms of human diversity. It produces data, standards and insights, and drives action initiatives, such as the Community of Chief Diversity and

Inclusion Officers, Partnering for Racial Justice in Business, Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work, Closing the Gender Gap Country Accelerators or the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality.

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