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Top global brands see disability inclusion as being important: Study

Side view of disabled businessman working in office

A new study of 120 global brands shows how over 90 percent of businesses are recognising the importance of employees and customers with disabilities. The study is the first to consider how businesses are serving the needs of disabled people at a global and local level and how to share best practice.

The study, called ‘Towards a Disability-Smart World: Developing a global disability inclusion strategy’, was conducted by Business Disability Forum in partnership with energy company Royal Dutch Shell. It draws on evidence and case studies from the experience of organisations, including Shell, Unilever, HSBC, Accenture, and Microsoft.

The report shows that:

  • More than 90 percent of respondents state that ‘disability inclusion is the right thing to do.’
  • More than 80 percent state that it allows them to access a wider pool of talent drives employee motivation has an impact on sales and opportunities and supports business objectives.

Yet, while more than 80 percent of respondents say that their organisation had made one or more commitment to disability inclusion at a central level, only about 20 percent of respondents had a global strategy for disability inclusion in place and resourced.

The study identifies several common barriers to creating a global strategy for disability inclusion. These include:

  • Cultural differences in the way disability is understood.
  • Levels of engagement with disability and accessibility in some countries.
  • Varying legal requirements between countries.
  • Resources and systematic data collection.
  • Gaining the commitment of local champions and managers.

For organisations which have worked to overcome these challenges, the benefits are clear, with over 80 percent reporting improvements for disabled colleagues and customers on a global scale. Over 90 percent reported senior-level buy-in at an early stage to be vital in gaining engagement, traction, and stronger accountability at a local level.

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