March 15, 2022
Source: The Valuable 500
[Press Release: London, 8th March, 9:00 am:]
- On International Women’s Day, the Valuable 500, has launched the world’s first independently expert reviewed global directory of B2B [Business to Business] consultants and service providers specialised in disability inclusion and accessibility – over half of which are female founded or led.
- The Directory convenes business disability intelligence and experts from across the globe spanning 6 continents and 19 countries to assist the Valuable 500 collective in advancing disability inclusion within their businesses.
- These consultants and experts boast a strong diversity of expertise within digital, physical and cognitive accessibility as well as tools for inclusive recruitment and branding practices.
- With social entrepreneurship and impact investment on the rise, expanding corporate supplier diversity programs to include disability industry is a critical step towards future growth for disabled owned companies.
Today, on International Women’s Day, the Valuable 500 – the largest network of global CEOs [Chief Executive Officers)] committed to disability inclusion, announces the launch of the Valuable Directory, convening business disability intelligence and experts from across the globe. It is made up of 77 consultants, suppliers and solutions providers all of which have demonstrated that they have extensive experience in their fields and have been highly recommended by thought leaders in the disability space. 52% of the consultants, suppliers, solution partners listed are female founded or led.
Hosted within the Valuable 500’s Digital Hub, the Directory connects members with disability experts around the world to assist them to progress commitments into action. This first iteration showcases 77 businesses that have been vetted by 21 revered thought leaders across the global disability space. This is the first directory of its kind as it has been created by disabled people for disabled people.
The Directory will enable each member of the collective to tap into expertise and introductions facilitated by the Valuable 500. The work on putting the Directory together has already led to some great collaborations including inclusive design specialists, Studio Exception, which has been hired by several Valuable 500 members including Sky, Spotify and Jaguar Land Rover to take on inclusive innovation on their far reaching customer products – making them more inclusive for those with disabilities and better for all customers. They also conduct internal audits, interviewing employees, customers and disability advocates on how they connect with and react to the brands and their offerings.
“For years, our community of persons with disabilities have rallied together to engage senior executives in the disability inclusion and accessibility conversations. However, progress has been slow. Corporations need guidance with their disability inclusion efforts. I believe this is the way forward, supporting global brand leaders that are striving to include persons with disabilities in their workforces, driving innovation, providing accessible services, communications, products and technology to all customers.”
“The Directory is a powerful step for our community, has been vetted by global peers and serves as an effective way of meeting our credo ‘Nothing About Us Without Us.’ We are incredibly proud to be part of the Valuable 500 efforts.”
DEBRA RUH, CEO, RUH GLOBAL IMPACT
Last year, the Valuable 500 created a global [Request for Proposal (RFP)] specifying that successful applicants would need to have a proven track record of adding value to the disability space as well as a referral. Each applicant was asked to submit letters of intent, evidence of their previous deliverables and a supporting statement. Out of 140 initial applicants, 77 were chosen to be featured within the first iteration of the Directory and further members will be added on an annual basis with new applicants undergoing the same vetting process. The Directory includes, but is not limited to, expertise within the realms of:
- Inclusive marketing
- Organisational culture
- Accessible physical environments
- Digital accessibility
- Inclusive recruitment
- Mental Health & Safety training
- Consumer research
“It is truly exciting to have closely collaborated with our colleagues in the disability community to create this unique community of disability inclusion experts. By creating this global directory, we will be able to further support the Valuable 500 companies in advancing their disability inclusion and accessibility work. The Valuable Directory is a brilliant tool that will continue to evolve to meet their changing needs and reflect the complexity of designing and implementing successful disability inclusion strategies.”
STEPHANE LEBLOIS, DIRECTOR OF PARTNERSHIPS, THE VALUABLE 500
The Valuable 500 has embarked on its transformation programme of embedding disability inclusion within leadership agendas and radically transforming the business system across the whole supply chain for the benefit of all. Its membership includes 36 of the FTSE 100 companies, 48 of the Fortune 500 and 28 of Nikkei. With 70% of its members enjoying a turnover over $1 billion and 52% of those employing over 10,000 people, the Valuable Directory will be available to the collective to utilise and make informed decisions based on expert guidance. As a collective, the organisations committed to taking action towards disability inclusion, have a combined revenue of well over $8 trillion and over 22 million employees operating around the world.
It is estimated that 15% of the global population are people with disabilities and this number significantly increases to 53% when families of those living with disabled people with disability are taken into account with a spending power of $13 trillion per annum. The Valuable Directory is the latest tool provided by the Valuable 500 to assist its members to successfully address this market and benefit from the significant pool of talent, and diversity of thought of people with disabilities as employees and customers.
1 in 4 adults globally are disabled and are twice as likely to be self-employed as their non-disabled counterparts. While total global revenue numbers are unknown, over [one billion U.S. dollars] is reported annually from disability owned business. According to the World Trade Organization, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent over 90 per cent of the business population, 60-70% of employment and 55% of GDP [(gross domestic product)] in developed economies. Additionally, Morningstar reports that sustainable investing reached [20.5 billion dollars] in the fourth quarter of 2020, a rise of $7 billion over the previous year. All statistics point to the rise of disabled entrepreneurism and the need for socially responsible corporations to expand their supplier programs.
“This year’s International Women’s Day theme sends an important message and frankly, I can’t believe that we are in 2022 and we are still fighting for it. If we are ever going to achieve true equality across every societal, cultural and business area, then we need to break all of the biases which have become standard practice.”
“For me, breaking the bias extends beyond a singular gender barrier to the multi-faceted reality which is often overlooked – such as disability. We cannot have a hierarchy of inclusion or a siloed approach. Inclusion has to be for all or not at all. Inclusion cannot be pick ‘n’ mix. As we celebrate the Winter Paralympics, we are proud to be a member of the WeThe15 campaign – and the launch of our Valuable Directory is hopefully a small part of the solution. I’m delighted that over half of the businesses featured are led by women.”
CAROLINE CASEY, FOUNDER, THE VALUABLE 500
Now delivering its transformation programme, the Valuable 500 is set to launch several tools to assist its members to make demonstrable progress and to ensure this is the decade of disruption when it comes [to] disability inclusion.
“During the selection process, I was struck by the incredible richness of resources available globally that are relevant for businesses at different points of the journey towards disability inclusion. I genuinely believe that this platform for connecting companies and B2B [Business to Business] disability inclusion consultants worldwide will support each company’s commitment to act as the Valuable 500 moves forward as a collective of businesses leading by action.”
EMI AIZAWA, GLOBAL PARTNERSHIPS LEAD, MIRAIRO
“It was an honour to be invited to participate in the review panel for the Directory. The whole process was an incredible opportunity to learn from other experts in the field and have the chance to analyse and evaluate a variety of organisations with the unified mission of improving the lives of people with disabilities globally. Ahead of the Directory being launched, we had the opportunity to explore joint projects with fellow panellists.”
“This is the power of collaboration – working better together towards inclusion. People with disabilities need concrete solutions to be implemented as soon as possible. Resources such as the Directory pave the way towards overcoming barriers and enables companies to improve their programs faster with the right partners in place.”
GABRIEL MARCOLONGO, CEO, INCLUYEME
“When we talk about D&I [diversity and inclusion] we are often missing important characteristics. These characteristics – sometimes because they are stigmatised or because they may be hidden or invisible, are often left out of organisations inclusion strategies. It’s not just the right thing to do – it’s a lost opportunity because people with disabilities have so much to contribute to talent, innovation and organisational results. Disability and accessibility inclusion work done badly isn’t just embarrassing, it’s detrimental to business and can have real, long-lasting impacts. Knowing what criteria to evaluate a partner on, or where to find them, can take organisations significant resources and energy.”
“By creating this directory, we hope members have an immediate access to a series of organisations who can empower them with the people, support and knowledge they need to advance and accelerate their disability inclusion strategies.”
AIDAN HEALY, CEO, LEXXIC
For more information please visit: www.thevaluable500.com