The World Economic Forum (WEF) named The Valuable 500 as a Tier 3 official project partner in Davos earlier this week as it discussed the merits of disability inclusion with leading social activists, global business leaders and journalists.
The Valuable 500 campaign calls on 500 global business leaders to commit to placing disability inclusion on their leadership agendas, making a firm and tangible commitment to eradicating disability exclusion in the workplace.
The conference, chaired by Oliver Cann of the WEF, was founder Caroline Casey’s, opportunity to further debate disability’s place on the global business agenda, a year after The Valuable 500 was launched on the main stage of the annual WEF meeting in January 2019.
On stage with Caroline, this week were Unilever CEO and The Valuable 500 Chairman Paul Polman, Bloomberg Chairman Peter Grauer, Group President P&G North America Carolyn Tastad, and noted Human Rights Activist Eddie Ndopu.
One year on, Caroline Casey today unveiled a new report, The Business Leaders of the Inclusion Revolution, which analyses the progress of the campaign.
Since its launch, more than 2,800 firms around the world have been approached to join The Valuable 500, with only 240 committing since Davos 2019, according to The Business Leaders of the Inclusion Revolution, a new report looking at the progress of the campaign.
The 240 members span 42 sectors and 24 countries, reaching more than 9,863,000 employees – and engaging a global business community generating a combined $3.8 trillion in revenue. Of the members, 80% are based in five countries: the UK, the US, Israel, Japan and India, with few commitments from China, South East Asia & Africa.
The sectors most committed to disability inclusion are Financial Services, Technology, Media and Communications, Insurance, Recruitment and HR. The Fashion industry is notably lagging.
Caroline Casey, Founder, The Valuable 500, said: “It is fantastic to return to Davos this year with 240 companies making tangible commitments to disability inclusion in the workplace. The last year has been very important for disability inclusion, and it has been great to see such a positive response to the campaign.
“However, the fact that we have approached nearly 3000 companies shows that there is still much to be done. Too many business leaders view disability as a financial burden or a matter of compliance rather an opportunity for innovation and creativity, and I believe 2020 will be a key turning point in this narrative.”
Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director New Economy and Society, The World Economic Forum, commented: “The Valuable 500 is one of the most important catalysts for change, helping to build inclusive businesses and, ultimately, inclusive economies and societies.”
Phase 2 of the campaign was also launched this week with the deadline to join The Valuable 500 campaign now 15th September 2020, coinciding with this year’s UN General Assembly.
The campaign hopes to have 500 global business leaders and CEOs signed up to the initiative by this point in line with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to reduce inequality and create inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and communities.
The conference was live-streamed in the afternoon.
Caroline Casey also took to the Davos stage to moderate The World Economic Forum panel,‘Closing the disability inclusion gap’ and was joined byMolly Burke, Motivational Speaker and Youtuber and award-winning activist and United Nations Secretary-General’s Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals Edward Ndopu.
Chris Boardman, Group Managing Director of BAE Systems Air, said: “BAE Systems is very proud to have become a member of the Valuable 500. Inclusion of all of our people to contribute to the best of their ability is vital to us; our focus on people with disability is a key priority as we seek to ensure that BAE Systems is a diverse and inclusive place to work.”
Michael Morley, CEO of Deutsche Bank UK Ltd, said: “Deutsche Bank is proud to join the Valuable 500 campaign. By taking this important step, we are committing to becoming more disability confident, and to continuing to drive and embed inclusion for people of all abilities and with mental health conditions. We will continue to move forward until disability inclusion is impossible to separate from broader business priorities, a natural part of how we conduct business, and where all individuals are respected and can contribute and grow.”
Stephen Fry, Senior Vice President for Human Resources and Diversity, Eli Lilly and Company, said: “Signing on to The Valuable 500 demonstrates our commitment to disability inclusion beyond the medicines we make. It says we recognise that people with the best talents and skills for our important work sometimes also have disabilities that should never limit their contributions.”
Yang Yuanqing, Lenovo Chairman and CEO, said: “As a global business, Lenovo has a critical role and responsibility in the world today that goes beyond our commercial existence and a fundamental belief that in our shared digital future no one should be left behind. Together with the many other global brands and CEOs committed to the Valuable 500 we can play our part in building an inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society and drive a movement where inclusion is an opportunity for innovation – making technology not only smarter but for everyone, everywhere.”
Shelly McNamara, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Senior Vice President – Human Resources, P&G, said: “At P&G, we value diversity both inside and outside of our company and this includes people of all abilities. Inside our company, we pursue creating an inclusive workplace for all P&G people where everyone can contribute to their full potential. And with our brands and services, we aspire to create superior experiences that are accessible to everyone. By joining The Valuable 500, we are publicly sharing our continued commitment to disability inclusion and making our company, brands and services even more inclusive for people with disabilities.”
Emanuel Chirico, Chairman & CEO of PVH Corp., said: “Inclusion and diversity are at the centre of how PVH does business. Joining The Valuable 500 strengthens our commitment to attracting diverse talent, creating an inclusive workplace, and developing innovative products to serve diverse consumers. We look forward to continuing our efforts in championing disability inclusion in the communities where we work and live.”