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Over a Third of Companies Pledge to Accelerate Disability Inclusion in the Wake of COVID-19

LONDON - The Valuable 500 – the global movement working to get 500 of the world's largest businesses to commit to placing disability inclusion on their business leadership agendas – recognises the 30th anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Day on Sunday by releasing new research exploring how companies are working to improve their diversity and inclusion policies.

The findings highlight the impact of COVID-19 on diversity and inclusion, concluding that 35% of companies are now more aware than ever of the needs of people with disabilities and are accelerating their actions and commitments to disability inclusion and accessibility. Changing perceptions around remote and flexible working, and a growing realization of the importance of an inclusive and diverse corporate culture, have been identified as contributing factors for this trend.

Whilst this is positive news in the midst of a global crisis, other key learnings from the report drive home that there is still a long way to go until equality is truly achieved.

15% of organisations surveyed have had to shelve efforts around disability inclusion due to immediate challenges in the wake of a global health pandemic. Despite 88% of corporations claiming disability inclusion is important to their business strategy – only 8% regularly include people with disabilities in marketing and communications.

Launched on the main stage at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting in January 2019, The Valuable 500 is announcing today that its community has reached 296 companies.

The latest global companies to join the movement are Barilla, Black & Veatch, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Calvin Klein, Dentsu, Greene King, InMoment, MesoAmerica, Nuance Communications, Roche Pharma UK, Seibu Group, Software AG, Tara Chand Logistic (India) Tommy Hilfiger, Voya Financial, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Zain Electrocomponents PLC.

Today, The Valuable 500 also calls on businesses globally to join the movement and pledge to put disability on their board agendas. As it stands, there are 56 Valuable 500 members within the USA – 18% of current membership. Given the US remains the largest world economy, with 54 of the top global 100 companies (PWC Global Top 100), the membership percentage should be higher.

The Valuable 500's goal is critical as 15% of people worldwide live with a disability. When you include the families of those living with a disability, this number rises to 53%. Under US regulation, businesses can apply for permits to pay disabled employees well below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Businesses cannot afford to exclude this huge market comprising of talented employees and valuable customers with a spending power of $8 trillion per annum.