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The World Economic Forum’s annual conference begins in the Apline Ski town of Davos, Switzerland from January 22nd until the 25th. It is a gathering of political leaders, chief executives, NGOs, academics and activists to discuss the world’s most pressing problems.

Of particular interest to OOVIRT is that, firstly, disability inclusion is a prominent theme at this year’s conference and, secondly, the impending press conference of #valuable on January 24th at 14:30.

What is #valuable?

#valuable is a campaign launched in 2017 to be a catalyst for an inclusion revolution that exists to position disability equally on the global business leadership agenda. It is also a worldwide call-to-action for business to recognise the value and worth of the one billion disabled people globally.

Campaign founder, Caroline Casey, commented: “Disability inclusion is an issue that has been pushed to the sidelines of business for far too long. Momentum is now building and we have reached a tipping point. We’re delighted that the World Economic Forum have announced that the need to bolster inclusion of those living with a disability will be a main message at Davos in 2019.”

Caroline Casey
Caroline Casey

To drive forward this change, the following global business leaders have committed to be accountable for disability within their businesses and across their full supply chain. They are the first to support the #valuable campaign, helping to put disability inclusion on the international business agenda, and keep it there:

  • Sir Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group
  • Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever
  • Janet Riccio, EVP of Omnicom Group and Dean of Omnicom University

Virgin Media and Omnicom have become strategic partners of #valuable, representing a major milestone for the campaign which continues to be at the forefront of the global conversation around disability inclusion.

#valuable commits to:

  • Encourage 500 businesses around the world to commit to putting the one billion people living with a disability on their boardroom agenda
  • Identify 10 game-changing business leaders to stand for the one billion and champion the issue of disability in business around the world
  • Bring together 10 inspirational young #valuable ambassadors to call on the business they work for and the brands they buy from to put this issue on their board agenda
  • Ignite a global conversation about a world where everyone is valued equally

Why is it needed?

There are over 13 million disabled people in the UK alone, more than one billion globally – 15% of the global population, or 1 in 7 people – but their value is routinely ignored by business, equivalent to disregarding a potential market the size of US, Brazil, Indonesia and Pakistan combined.

According to the World Health Organisation, people with disabilities have poorer health outcomes, lower education achievements, less economic participation and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. In addition, up to half of businesses in OECD countries choose to pay fines rather than meet quotas on disability, the result of which is a widening employment gap between disabled and non-disabled people that sees the latter twice as likely to be in employment than the former.

New research reveals 56% of global C-suite executives in large companies rarely or never discuss disability on their leadership agendas.

Business has to take a lead on promoting inclusion. Business is the most powerful force on the planet, when business includes, society includes. Inclusive business creates inclusive societies.

Inclusion should not be a tick-box exercise, accessibility information should not be hidden at the bottom of a website, no-one should feel reluctant to apply for a job, try our a new experience, travel or love purely becuase they have a disability. Hopefully, the work by #valuable, and many other people, businesses and charities can help create a world inclusive for everybody.

If you would like to help #valuable and join them on their ultimate adventure, check out the campaign at www.valuable.global

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