Within just one year since the announcement of the Valuable 500 initiative at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2019, more than 241 companies have signed up to the business-led initiative. It is aimed at engaging 500 leading CEOs for catalysing the influence of large private-sector corporations to create a tipping point for disability inclusion. The companies that have committed to the effort represent 9.9 million employees across 24 countries and a collective revenue of more than $3.8 trillion.
Valuable 500 aims to unlock the business, social and economic value of the 1.3 billion people living with a disability, the largest minority group worldwide. To date, only 4% of businesses are focused on making offerings inclusive of disability.
“Realizing the rights of people living with disabilities to full and equal participation in economy and society is not only the right thing to do but benefits everyone in building a common sustainable world. To tap into the full potential of human diversity, business must address this next frontier of inclusion and create accessible and inclusive working cultures for people with disabilities. The Valuable 500 is one of the catalysts for change in this regard, helping to build inclusive businesses and, ultimately, inclusive economies and societies,” said Saadia Zahidi, Managing Director, New Economy and Society, World Economic Forum.
“There is a global disability inequality crisis, which cannot be resolved by governments and charities alone. If you’re disabled, you’re 50% less likely to get a job and you’re 50% more likely to experience poverty. This is unacceptable in 2020 – we need business to come to the table,” said Caroline Casey, Founder of the Valuable 500.
The Valuable 500 is a platform initiative of the Forum’s Platform for the New Economy and Society. By signing up, companies across all sectors commit to closing the disability inclusion gap in their organizations through embedding inclusive leadership, building inclusive cultures and creating inclusive brands.The actions by member companies to date vary widely, from committing to having employees with disabilities represent 5% of their workforce by 2025 to ensuring accessible technology is implemented throughout an organization.