The Valuable 500 gains momentum in the run-up to historic return to Davos

New The Valuable 500 members announced as Tortoise releases #Responsibility100 index of FTSE 100 disability confident employers.

A year on from its launch at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting, The Valuable 500 has announced that over 60 further global companies have joined disability inclusion movement.

Those committing to putting disability at the heart of their corporate agendas now include Sony, Citi, GSK, Orange, Sodexo, Coca-Cola European Partners and Santander.

The Valuable 500 was unveiled at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting in January 2019, the first time disability was discussed on the main stage of the Meeting with the support of global business leaders.

The campaign calls on 500 global businesses to commit to placing disability inclusion on their business leadership agendas, thus making a firm commitment to eradicating the exclusion of disabled people in the workplace.

Over 200 companies have now pledged to the cause, also including Virgin Media, Microsoft and Sainsburys.

Caroline Casey, The Valuable 500’s founder, will return to Davos next week to announce the results of the campaign, and alongside business leaders including Chairman of The Valuable 500 Paul Polman, and Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer, debate the progress businesses have made on disability inclusion.

Caroline said: “It is extremely promising to see global companies from all four corners of the globe and across a vast array of sectors, continuing to pledge to join our disability inclusion movement nearly twelve months on from its launch. 

As The Valuable 500’s historic return to Davos fast approaches, it throws into sharp relief our progress in tackling ‘diversish’ attitudes in the workplace over the past year. We gladly welcome these new members –  I am certain they will be instrumental in ensuring disability inclusion becomes the norm in working life globally.”

#Responsibility100 Index

This announcement follows the launch this week by British media outlet Tortoise of the first-ever sustainability ranking of FTSE 100 companies, measured by their commitment to key social, environmental and ethical objectives, to include disability.

The #Responsibility100 Index showed that only 39 FTSE 100 employers (or notable subsidiaries) are Disability Confident, and of those 39, only seven measured disability representation.

Just 10 of the FTSE 100 reported the proportion of their employees who disclosed as disabled; none referred to representation at a senior management level; and no companies had calculated a disability pay gap.

Caroline added: “The results from Tortoise’s #Responsibility100 Index are hugely disappointing – the fact that only seven FTSE 100 companies measure disability representation is frankly shocking and implies that few FTSE businesses are actively working to ensure full inclusion for disabled people. These insights clearly outline the huge task that still lies ahead to ensure our biggest businesses are inclusive for disabled people. It is my hope that, through The Valuable 500, we can ensure such figures soon become a thing of the past.”

CEO endorsement

Mike Corbat, CEO of Citi, said: “All of our colleagues at Citi, without fail, should feel welcome and empowered to succeed in the workplace and their communities. Our commitment to disability inclusion is central to this aim and why we see the Valuable 500’s mission as vital to strengthening corporate inclusivity across the world.”

Damian Gammell, CEO at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “At Coca-Cola European Partners, we are committed to fostering an inclusive culture that reflects the diversity of the communities we serve and celebrates the unique characteristics that make each of us who we are.

“I am proud to stand alongside other business leaders in The Valuable 500 and say that we must offer inclusion to all, and must do more to support equality for disabled people within our business. This will build a greater diversity of ideas, thinking and experience. We know more inclusive teams perform better, leading to greater innovation and ultimately better business results.”

Chris Caldwell, President of Concentrix, said: “At Concentrix, diversity and inclusion are the foundation of our organisation.  It’s inherent and essential in our culture, operating philosophy and core values. This makes for better business and contributes to our objective of being the greatest customer engagement services company.”

Steve Demetriou, Chair and CEO of Jacobs, said: “As a member of The Valuable 500, Jacobs is committed to the journey of becoming a more accessible and inclusive company, leveraging our Inclusion & Diversity platform to encompass disability in the workplace on a global scale, while empowering employees to bring their full, authentic selves to work.

“Through our ACE (Access. Connect. Empower.) Employee Network and our Mental Health Matters program, we actively support the adaptive challenges and mental health of our people and communities and continually encourage employees to find strength in our differences.”

Duncan Everett, CEO of Kerry Foods, said: “As a business, we are committed to making a difference in the community. Our relationship with Special Olympics has led us to start a programme of employing people with intellectual disabilities. While we’re in the early stages of the programme, it is working, and we see a real opportunity to do much more within Kerry Foods. This is great for the communities we work in, and by improving our diversity, I truly believe this is driving better business performance.”

Alberto Martin, CEO of London Luton Airport, said: “We are proud to be part of The Valuable 500 alongside hundreds of other businesses across the world. The work they are doing to raise awareness around disability is an inspiration for our own improvements as we strive to be a great place to work for everyone and to provide accessible air travel for our passengers.”

Andrei Sharonov, President of Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, said: “As a Business School, we are uniquely positioned to inspire leaders with powerful ideas, equip them with effective frameworks and tools for making real impact, as well as provide an independent platform for an open dialogue on the burning issues for the business and society. We aim to integrate sustainability-related topics into our product offering and operations as well as develop our internal expertise.”

Paul Feeney, CEO of Quilter, said: “This is a vital initiative to ensure businesses are committed to opening up opportunities for those with disabilities. Too often in the workplace we view disability through the lens of deficit rather than strength. As a result, people with disabilities in the UK are almost twice as likely to be unemployed than those without a disability. 

“Everyone should be given a chance to reach their potential. Businesses fostering an inclusive culture will benefit from the distinct insights and perspectives of disabled people, which are often born of resilience and a typically strong work ethic. I’ve already seen this evidenced through the work we’ve done with those who struggle with their mental health.

“Our differences are what make us unique and valuable – at Quilter we believe we can only be our best if we learn to leverage everybody’s contribution.”

Harsh Goenka, Chairman of RPG Enterprises said: “About two years ago we made a commitment to recruit differently-abled people and we now have over 200+ such people. We are proud to have them as part of the larger RPG family and we are a happier place because of the diversity they bring to the group. We are fully committed to Valuable 500 to make RPG an increasingly inclusive conglomerate.”

Denis Machuel, Chief Executive Officer of Sodexo, said: “We are convinced that by mobilizing our employees towards a more inclusive growth, we can eliminate misconceptions and biases that hold people with mental or physical disabilities back to make sure everyone can reach their full potential. We hope many other companies will join the Valuable 500 initiative to make our collective efforts part of the usual way of doing business going forward.”

The Valuable 500 at Davos

At Davos, Caroline will discuss The Valuable 500’s journey over the past twelve months, and its vision for 2020. Details of key events below:

The Valuable 500 Press Conference, 21st January, 15:00-15:30, Media Village, Press Conference Room

  • Moderator: Oliver Cann, World Economic Forum
  • Speakers: Caroline Casey, Founder, The Valuable 500; Paul Polman, Chairman, The Valuable 500; Peter Grauer, Chairman, Bloomberg; and Eddie Ndopu, Human Rights Activist

The Valuable 500 panel, ‘Closing the disability inclusion gap’, 23rd January, 13:00-13:45, Salon, Congress Centre

  • Moderator: Caroline Casey
  • Speakers: Molly Burke, Motivational Speaker and Youtuber; award-winning activist and United Nations Secretary-General’s Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals Edward Ndopu; and Mike Fries, CEO and Vice Chairman of Liberty Global

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