Brands say disability is important, but dont include disabled people in ads: report

Caroline Casey is the founder of The Valuable 500

Just eight per cent of businesses regularly include people with disabilities in their marketing and communications, despite 88 per cent claiming that disability inclusion is important to their business strategy, according to research from The Valuable 500, a global movement created to promote disability inclusion.

The research, released to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Day on Sunday 26 July, found that 35 per cent of companies are now more aware than ever of the needs of people with disabilities – but 15 per cent have had to put a halt to their efforts around disability inclusion due to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s important we simultaneously celebrate the progress made over the past 30 years on the anniversary of the ADA, while ensuring the call to action in this space remains loud and clear. As economies globally look to recover and adapt to a new normal, it is vital we do not return to business as usual but learn from the lessons of Covid-19. Now is a critical time to reset business leaders’ attitudes to disability inclusion,” said Caroline Casey, Founder of The Valuable 500.

“We are confident that The Valuable 500 community is listening intently to society – from their employees to customers – as to what they want for a more inclusive, accessible world. This includes both the online world, and physical world, in an increasingly digital age. It is also not just enough to listen – now is the time for action which shows business has taken on board new learnings, and truly appreciates the value a diverse and inclusive culture will bring to all.”

The Valuable 500 was launched on the main stage at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in January 2019 and has since convinced 296 companies to put disability on the business leadership agenda. The latest additions to the movement include Barilla, Boston Consulting Group (BCG), MesoAmerica, Calvin Klein, Black & Veatch, Nuance Communications, Tommy Hilfiger, Voya Financial, and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.