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Closing the disability inclusion gap with business leadership

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We’re closing the disability inclusion gap through the power of business leadership

We’re closing the disability inclusion gap through the power of business leadership

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  • Over 1.3 billion people live with some form of disability, representing 17% of the global population.
  • With 500 members, The Valuable 500 is the largest global network of chief executives committed to disability inclusion.
  • Google, Microsoft and CitiGroup have each released annual diversity reports, providing transparency on the current situation within their firms.

The impact.

Over 1.3 billion people live with some form of disability, representing 17% of the global population. This is the largest minority group worldwide.

The Valuable 500 initiative helps companies become a tipping point for change, unlocking the business, social and economic value of the 1.3 billion people worldwide who have a disability.

Have you read?

All 500 companies involved are publicly committed to putting disability on the business leadership agenda, increasing their organization’s confidence and competence in disability inclusion. Collectively, the group represents over 22 million employees across 41 countries and brings a combined revenue of over USD 8 trillion.

“There is a global disability inequality crisis. And it can’t be fixed by governments and charities alone. It needs the most powerful force on the planet: business.”

Caroline Casey, Founder Valuable500

Japan’s biggest private foundation, The Nippon Foundation, has invested $5 million to enable The Valuable 500 to launch Phase 2 of its global campaign designed to activate the community of 500 CEOs and brands for global change. This figure represents the largest ever single investment into disability business inclusion, and comes as the International Disability Alliance joined the Forum as a high impact partner in the initiative.

The Valuable 500 is now the largest global network of CEOs committed to disability inclusion.

The challenge in closing the disability inclusion gap.

People with disabilities often lack access to employment. The current global employment rate for disabled people is just half that of non-disabled people. People with disabilities who are employed often experience unequal hiring and promotion standards, unequal pay for equal work and occupational segregation. Although 90% of companies claim to prioritize diversity, only 4% of businesses are focused on making offerings inclusive of disability.

There is a strong business case for strengthening inclusion of people with disabilities. The cost of excluding people with disabilities represents up to 7% of GDP in some countries. With 28% higher revenue, double net income, 30% higher profit margins, and strong next generation talent acquisition and retention, a disability-inclusive business strategy promises a significant return on investment.

Our approach.

The Valuable 500 and global impact partner the Nippon Foundation are working closely with the World Economic Forum and International Disability Alliance – bringing together a leading philanthropic organization with the most prestigious global business network and the voice of the global disability community.

Since its launch at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in January 2019, the Valuable 500 has achieved its initial goal of convincing 500 multinational organizations to make a public commitment to disability inclusion.

Its members include 15 global chief executives and companies spearheading transformation programmes. These leaders are Apple, Allianz, BBC, Deloitte, EY, Google, Mahindra & Mahindra, Microsoft, LSEG, Omnicom, P&G, Salesforce, Sony, Sky and Verizon.

Members are already making significant progress through initiatives, including the increased adoption of digital accessibility best practices and the inclusion of disability in diversity, equity and inclusion strategies. For example, Google, Microsoft and Citi Group have each released annual diversity reports, providing transparency on the current situation within their firms – both where progress has been made and where there is more work to do.

Microsoft, has just become the 15th Iconic leader company working with the Valuable 500 to make business changes focused on improving access for people with disabilities.

In May 2022, The Valuable 500 published new research revealing intensified business efforts to improve disability inclusion. The 2022 Valuable Truth Report, conducted with businesses from the Valuable 500, acknowledges a stronger focus on accessibility in business:

  • 58% of companies surveyed have started or invested in exploring inclusive innovation opportunities
  • 33% have not developed or begun to implement a digital focus on accessibility
  • 29% of companies have a targeted network of disabled consumers or stakeholders.

At the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2022, The Valuable 500 launched the Generation Valuable programme to accelerate opportunities for the next generation of corporate leaders.

This initiative will seek nominations of rising disabled employees at each of its 500 members and provide them with the knowledge, access and tools they need to grow as professionals. In addition, participating C-suite executives will learn about the experience of their organizations’ disabled employees and consumers.

How can you get involved?

The initiative originates from the World Economic Forum’s Centre for the New Economy and Society, which focuses on building prosperous, inclusive and just economies and societies.

In addition to its work on economic growth, revival and transformation, employment, wages and job creation, and education, skills and learning, the platform takes an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice. It also aims to tackle exclusion, bias and discrimination related to race, gender, ability, sexual orientation and all other forms of human diversity.

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