Washington, D.C., August 11 – The logistics company Tortoise and the Valuable 500 Disability Business Initiative recently partnered up to present the first-ever Disability 100 Report. This report looked at Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 (FTSE 100) companies and their willingness to report inclusion measures regarding disability issues. The report covered accommodations, disability disclosures and public statements from company boards concerning disability inclusion. This is a concern because disability issues impact people across all other populations, and methods of inclusion are not typically shared publicly. To ensure more inclusion, there first must be transparency.
The report’s findings showed how much further corporations have to go to achieve disability inclusion. When it comes to managerial positions at FTSE 100 companies, according to this report, none of the executives or senior leaders have disclosed a disability. Only 20 of the 100 companies gave all employees the opportunity to disclose, and 8 of those 20 do not make that information public. One could argue that by not making this information public, FTSE companies are adding to stigmatization of workplace disclosure of disabilities.
Only 71 of the 100 companies meet Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, ensuring that their websites are accessible for people with various disabilities. The other 29 companies are arguably breaking the law by leaving out people with disabilities. Only 37 of the 100 companies have established disability resource groups. And as of 2020, only five FTSE company boards have released inclusive statements as part of their leadership agenda.
Some FTSE companies are doing better than others, particularly those in the finance sector. For example, Barclays has the highest disclosure response rate at 14% as of 2020. Eight of the FTSE 100 companies have reported on employee disclosure totals for more than a year, increasing disability visibility in the workplace. And while some companies choose not to make disclosure statistics public, the financial sector does have the highest level of disclosure responses. In fact, 36 of the 100 companies responded with additional information when reporting on disclosure statistics. Additionally, 16 of the 100 companies set goals specifically relating to disability inclusion and representation.
These findings show that there is a long way to go for companies to truly be inclusive of people with disabilities. Disability disclosure reports should be made public in every industry to decrease stigmatization. Companies should publish disability-inclusive diversity statements. As the report noted, there is a significant correlation between comprehensive disability reporting and Valuable 500 membership. Including people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do but is also good for business.