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500 CEOs pledge to support disability inclusion

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 21 Jun 2021

Five hundred international organisations have committed to putting disability inclusion on their board agendas. The CEO collective, the Valuable 500, is the world’s biggest community for disability business inclusion.

Launching at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting at Davos in 2019, the group has recently met its goal of securing commitments from 500 CEOs and their companies. Comprising of well-known businesses such as Allianz, Apple, BBC, BP, The Coca-Cola Company, Daimler, Deloitte, EY, Google, Microsoft, Nestle, P&G, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., Prada, Shell, Sky, Sony, Twitter, Unilever, Virgin Media, Verizon and Vodafone, the membership includes 36 of the FTSE 100 companies, 46 of the Fortune 500 and 28 of the Nikkei.

The Valuable 500 announcement comes as new research shows that there are no executives or senior managers who have disclosed a disability at any of the FTSE 100 companies. Additionally, the average representation of people with disabilities amongst employees as reported by FTSE 100 companies is 3.2%, compared to the percentage of the wider population with a disability, which totals 18%.

The research found that only 5% of FTSE 100 companies have issued board level statements on disability as part of their leadership agenda, but this appears to be changing. Sixteen out of the 100 companies have set credible targets related to representation of people with disabilities, and more plan to put these targets in place. This includes 37 companies within the FTSE 100 setting up employee resource groups, or equivalents, to specifically support people with disability.

The Valuable 500 has also received the largest ever investment into disability business inclusion, with The Nippon Foundation investing $5m to fund new Valuable 500 initiatives.

Furthermore, 13 ‘iconic leaders’ across The Valuable 500 will co-fund, co-build and co-test programmes and solutions, using their industry experience to enable progress for the entire community. These leaders include Big Four giants, Deloitte and EY. Joining this group, Apple will be the ‘iconic partner’ for inclusive design.

Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500, commented: “Today we have broken the leadership silence on disability inclusion and put this on the business leadership agenda…change is possible because now we have the scale, the perfect time and the multiplier effect of this critical mass – it’s all about intention.” 

ICAEW’s Diversity and Inclusion hub brings together timely resources on regulation and equality, along with our latest insights into diversity in the profession.