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Major employers signing up to promote inclusion in business

Major employers signing up to promote inclusion in business
21st June 2021 Ian Streets

Some of the world’s biggest firms have signed up to a campaign which aims to tackle prejudice towards disabled people in the business world.
Companies with combined sales of more than $8 trillion and 20 million staff, including Apple, BP and Coca-Cola have joined the Valuable 500 initiative.
But founder Caroline Casey told the BBC the campaign was not just about employing more people with disabilities and was also highlighting the total of $13trn lost by businesses as a result of ignoring disabled customers.
She said: “As we move out of this pandemic and we need to recover, why would any business look at leaving $13trn on the table?”
Valuable 500 was launched at the 2019 World Economic Forum Meeting in Davos, with a goal of getting 500 international companies to commit to putting disability inclusion on their board agenda.
At the time, it published research which said 56 per cent of global company boards had never had a conversation about disability and this was “leading to leaving disabilities on the sidelines of business”.
The organisation reported recently that there are no executives or senior managers at FTSE 100 companies who have disclosed a disability, and only 12 per cent of firms report the number of their employees who are disclosed as disabled.
The figures also show the average representation of people with disabilities among staff reported by FTSE 100 firms is just 3.2 per cent.
Caroline told the BBC that in the UK one third of FTSE companies did not have a website that was “acceptable to people with disabilities and their families.”
She said all the members of Valuable 500 have made a public commitment to advancing disability inclusion within their organisations, either among staff, customers or their supply chains.
She said: “We have an inequality crisis facing the disability community which is just huge and it can’t be resolved without business meeting meaningfully at the table.
“We’re looking at driving systematic change in the business system [in terms of] customers and suppliers and talent.
“If you want to be able to have access to that market you need to have that talent in your business and I think when we speak about disability business inclusions we always speak about employment and we forget the huge, huge value of this market globally.”

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