Automotive sector rallies behind disability inclusion movement

Three of the world’s leading automotive brands have signed up to support disability inclusion initiative The Valuable 500.

Jaguar Land Rover, Jardine Motors, Aston Martin Lagonda are the latest global businesses to sign up to groundbreaking disability inclusion campaign The Valuable 500, which is seeking 500 global businesses to address approaches to disability in business.

The news comes as Jaguar Land Rover announce it will expand its work with disabled people, which currently involves the Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick ex-services personnel, to help future cars better meet their needs. This includes testing a prototype ‘mobility door’ that opens automatically as the driver approaches – technology that could help disabled people for whom a car is the primary mode of transport.   

Similarly, Jardine Motors has committed to furthering its work to be inclusive of all disabled people. This will include work to help shape the wheelchair of the future through its partnership with corporate charity Whizz-Kidz. Jardine Motors also provided work placement opportunities for young wheelchair users, which helps them gain important employability skills and broaden their awareness of the types of roles and careers available in a commercial business.

Aston Martin Lagonda will build on its long history of working with local community and charity groups to boost diversity in the workplace.

The Valuable 500

Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500 commented: “Transportation can be one of the greatest daily challenges for a disabled person, so to have three leading automotive companies come on board and pledge to make their business more accessible and inclusive of disabled people, is a fantastic moment, and truly a huge step forward.” 

Caroline continued: “Not only should we value each person for their uniqueness, but we must look at this through our business eyes, and recognise there is a huge economic case for including the 1.3billion disabled people around the world at every stage of a business process too. Only then will we finally tap into a pool of talent that has been ignored for so long.

“Jaguar Land Rover has been leading the way on inclusion of disabled people in the automotive industry for years, so it is brilliant to have such an avid supporter now on board, with others from the automotive industry already following.

“We are delighted to welcome Jaguar Land Rover, Jardine Motors and Aston Martin Lagonda to our growing community of businesses fighting for inclusion and urge other businesses in the automotive industry, who have a true ability to transform the lives of disabled people, to come together and put an end to disability exclusion.”

Prof Sir Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said:“We are proud to join The Valuable 500 because Jaguar Land Rover understands the importance of making our business and our products more inclusive. We are committed to creating experiences people love, for life – and that absolutely includes benefit disabled people.

“It’s why we have been the presenting partner of the Invictus Games for wounded, injured and sick servicemen and women since it began in 2014. Everyone at Jaguar Land Rover is hugely passionate about that and now we pledge to do even more through The Valuable 500.” 

Jardine Motors Group CEO, Neil Williamson, comments: “For the last four years, we’ve been on a mission to change perceptions of the automotive industry and banish some of the out-dated views we know those outside our industry have, so that we can continue to attract fresh new talent and be a retailer of choice for customers.

“For us at Jardine Motors, we particularly want to be seen as a beacon for those who just want to be the best, regardless of background, gender or ability. That’s why I’m proud to be supporting The Valuable 500 as an employer that’s committed to creating equal opportunities and an inclusive company accessible to all.” 

Williamson continued: “When we started on our journey to change perceptions, we committed to increasing the percentage of women in management roles to 30%, and I’m delighted that just four years in, we’ve achieved it. Now, by supporting The Valuable 500, we’re broadening our diversification and inclusion agenda even further and have made several actionable pledges that will help drive change in the way we attract new talent as well as deliver customer experiences.”

Dr Andy Palmer CMG, President & Group CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda said: “We strive to continue to build a high-performing culture, characterised by a diverse and inclusive workforce able to meet the challenges of the future. Our performance depends on the mutual respect, diversity and the professional fulfilment of the people in our Company. I am delighted to sign up to The Valuable 500 initiative to ensure we as a company are able to do even more to promote disability inclusion in our business.”

The Valuable 500 campaign has a mission is to unlock the value of people living with disabilities across the world.

Along with their friends, families and communities, the one 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.

The campaign aims to end ‘diversish’ attitudes towards disability in business where 90% of companies say they’re inclusive but only 4% include disability in this definition. Research by EY and #valuable has found that 56% of global senior executives admitted to rarely or never discussing disability on their leadership agendas – proving disability to be woefully absent from the current business agenda.

The three new members will join the effort along with other sectors to tackle the poor global employment rate for disabled people, which currently stands at half that of non-disabled people, a gap which has been on the rise since 2010.

Casey, who has ocular albinism and is thus registered blind, celebrated the leaders in the automotive industry coming on board by driving a Range Rover Velar at Land Rover Experience Centre.

To apply to be a Valuable 500 business, please visit
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