The world’s leading marketing services company, WPP, has today joined fellow marketing services and branding powerhouses Edelman, RAPP and Interbrand, to sign up to The Valuable 500 – the global initiative striving to place disability inclusion on the business agenda. These companies are joining strategic partners including Omnicom, Porter Novelli, Virgin Media and OMD.
They are joined by broadcasters the BBC, Channel 4 and BuzzFeed, as well as British retailer M&S, British mobile company O2 (Telefónica UK) and French insurance firm AXA, in stepping forward to commit to board-led action that will improve inclusion in business for disabled people.
The Valuable 500, launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos earlier this year, is seeking 500 global business leaders to place disability on their board agendas, and will hold each accountable for disability inclusion in their businesses by ensuring it is discussed at leadership level and action is taken.
As the UK celebrates national inclusion week the campaign is celebrating that it now counts over 100 leading companies and brands as members, with a further 200 in the pipeline to join - touching well over 3 million employees globally.
Since the launch of The Valuable 500, businesses within several majorindustries have joined forces to sign up to the campaign. These include the financial sector, which now counts Barclays, HSBC, Bank of England, RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, Monex, Danske Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank Hapoalim as members.
The big four accountancy firms, PWC UK, Deloitte UK, KPMG UK and EY last week joined automotive behemoths Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin and Jardine Motors to commit to the campaign.
Since its launch in January the Valuable 500 has reached out to over 400 global businesses and brands offering the opportunity to sign up to the initiative, with over a quarter of businesses answering the call for disability inclusion and signing up. The first members come from all over the world, from India to Australia, Mexico to Spain and The UK and US.
A further 50% (200) of the companies initially approached are currently in the process of joining The Valuable 500, highlighting the tipping point in disability inclusion this movement is creating.
The Valuable 500 is now calling on a further 200 business to stand up, and realise the need for disability inclusion ahead of their annual report which will be presented on stage at Davos 2020.
Founder Caroline Casey has announced this news on the main stage at Advertising Week New York alongside panelists Charles Trevail, CEO of Interbrand on seeing the value of the Industry blind spot; Amit Mashiah, CEO of McCann Israel creators of Cannes Palme D’Or award winning film on behalf of Ikea.
Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500, commented: “Today marks 245 days since we set out on a bold mission to ask 500 global businesses to put disability inclusion on their board agendas. Since then we have had 100 brave and ambitious businesses willing to be the first to take a step in solving the inequality crisis and I cannot thank them enough for the support they have given me.
“Yet, of the 400 business we have reached out to over 80 (20%) are yet to be convinced of the value of inclusion - and some of those global brands that lead in inclusion are yet to see the value of standing up with the Valuable 500. We cannot we cannot continue to live in a world where people are not being included simply for being different. Business needs to lead society and realise the importance of providing inclusion for all, irrelevant of gender, race and disability.”
Tony Hall, director general of BBC said: “I am delighted that the BBC is part of the Valuable 500 - making the BBC a great place to work for all our staff and working with the best talent is key to our success. It is vital that we keep improving our offer to all of our disabled staff and support them in their careers with us and across the media industry.”
Mark Evans, CEO of O2 said: “At O2 we recognise the importance of having a diverse, balanced and inclusive workforce, and have a bold ambition to be a leading inclusive employer. So I’m delighted to announce today that we are joining The Valuable 500, ensuring that our people with visible and hidden disabilities are represented and championed across our organisation.
“As a customer-led business, it’s vital that our workforce reflects and understands the needs of all of our customers. It not only makes good business sense, it also creates happier and more productive teams where everyone is given the opportunity to excel and succeed.”
Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “At WPP our purpose is to build better futures for our people, clients and communities. Creating inclusive workplaces that give everyone the same opportunities to develop and succeed is core to that purpose, and we are proud to commit our support to The Valuable 500”
Alex Mahon, CEO of Channel 4 said: “Since its inception Channel 4 has stood up for those who are not always given the platform they deserve, particularly disabled people. There is a huge talent pool of 1.3 billion disabled people worldwide which is being overlooked and that simply cannot continue. Employers have a fantastic opportunity to put disability inclusion at the heart of their businesses, create inclusive workplaces and help build more inclusive societies and I am extremely proud that Channel 4 has joined the Valuable 500.”