Accelerating Disability Inclusion through the Power of Business Leadership
The World Economic Forum Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society aims to close the disability inclusion gap by driving business action, capturing and disseminating learnings, and leveraging leadership for scale. It serves as an accelerator for the Valuable 500, the largest global network of CEOs committed to disability inclusion.
The Challenge: Recognizing the Value and Worth of 1.3 Billion People
1.3 billion people across the world live with some form of disability – representing 17% of the global population, this is the largest minority group worldwide. Yet, only 4% of businesses are focused on making offerings inclusive of disability. As a result, people with disabilities are often disregarded as customers, deprived access to employment and the current global employment rate for disabled people is half that of non-disabled people. In the workplace, people with disabilities often experience unequal hiring and promotion standards, unequal pay for equal work and occupational segregation.
Beyond the moral imperative, there is a strong business case for disability inclusion. The cost of exclusion of people with disabilities represents up to 7% of GDP in some countries. With 28% higher revenue, double net income, 30% higher profit margins, and strong next generation talent acquisition and retention, a disability-inclusive business strategy promises a significant return on investment.
The Objective: Setting a New Global Standard for Workplace Equality
The Valuable 500 initiative was launched at our Annual Meeting in 2019 with the objective of setting a new global standard for workplace equality and disability inclusion.. It aims to engage 500 private sector corporations to be the tipping point for change and to unlock the business, social and economic value of the 1.3 billion people living with disabilities across the world.
Leveraging the collective force of committed businesses, the Valuable 500 work together to:
- Provide peer support to executive business leaders to increase their confidence and competence in disability inclusion
- Operationalize disability inclusion across the value chain by providing tools for companies to advance their disability inclusion efforts
- Share best practices and benchmarks to assist companies in meeting their commitments and responsibilities to disability inclusion
Companies involved commit to putting disability on the business leadership agenda, increasing their organization’s confidence and competence in disability inclusion. More than 400 committed companies are currently members of The Valuable 500, driving impact in 35 countries. This group brings the combined revenue of The Valuable 500’s current members to over $5.4 trillion, with over 14.8 million employees.
A Holistic and Integrated Approach to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice
The initiative originates from the World Economic Forum’s New Economy and Society Platform, which is focused on building prosperous, inclusive and just economies and societies. In addition to its work on economic growth, revival and transformation, work, wages and job creation, and education, skills and learning, the Platform takes an integrated and holistic approach to diversity, equity, inclusion and social justice, and aims to tackle exclusion, bias and discrimination related to race, gender, ability, sexual orientation and all other forms of human diversity. It produces data, standards and insights, such as the Global Gender Gap Report and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 4.0 Toolkit, and drives or supports action initiatives, such as the Community of Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officers, Partnering for Racial Justice in Business, Hardwiring Gender Parity in the Future of Work, Closing the Gender Gap Country Accelerators, the Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality or the Global Future Council on Equity and Social Justice.