Business campaign launched to tackle disability exclusion

Campaigners Niall Breslin, Sinead Burke, Mark Pollock and Caroline Casey at The Convention Centre Dublin.

Ellie Donnelly

Four prominent Irish campaigners have launched a campaign calling on businesses across the world to recognise the value of the one billion people living with a disability.

Led by Caroline Casey, blind campaigner and activist, #valuable will engage the business community to tackle disability exclusion around the world.

Ms Casey was joined in launching the campaign by Niall Breslin (Bressie) - founder of A Lust for Life, Mark Pollock, explorer and collaboration catalyst at Mark Pollock Trust, and academic, writer and advocate Sinead Burke.

The campaign has a number of aims including encouraging businesses to commit to putting the one billion people living with a disability on their boardroom agenda, identifying business leaders that will stand for and champion the issue of disability in business around the world, and ignite a global conversation on the issue.

"The ambition of #valuable is to begin a real conversation on business and disability that will drive systemic change. It is time to challenge the status quo, and truly position disability equally on diversity and inclusion agendas," Ms Casey said.

The current employment rate for people with disabilities is half that of people without disabilities, a gap that has widened since 2010.

According to the World Health Organisation, up to half of businesses in OECD countries may choose to pay fines rather than meet quotas on disability.

Already the #valuable campaign has been supported by a number of business leaders, including Reid Hoffman, co-founder, LinkedIn, Dan Brooke, chief marketing officer, Channel 4, and Kate Robertson, co-founder One Young World.

"Caroline is one in a billion and Channel 4 is proud to back her mission to change the world by opening the minds of employers everywhere to disabled people and how they can make companies more innovative, more successful and more connected to the humanity of their customers," Mr Brooke said.