Closing the Disability Inclusion Gap

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, a global initiative putting disability on the business leadership agenda. 

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. 80% of disabilities are acquired between the ages of 18 to 64 – i.e. during working age. People with disabilities are often deprived access to employment and the current global employment rate for disabled people is half that of non-disabled people. People with disabilities who are in employment often experience unequal hiring and promotion standards, unequal pay for equal work and occupational segregation. Only 4% of businesses are focused on making offerings inclusive of disability.

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 aims to engage 500 national and multinational 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 Diversity & Inclusion efforts

  • Share best practices and benchmarks to assist companies in meeting their commitments and responsibilities to disability inclusion

The initiative was launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos in 2019 and has more than 200 companies committed to date.