Disability Equality Index® Enters 10th Year with Historic International Expansion to Meet Rising Corporate Demand for Benchmarking Tools
Companies can now analyze and progress their disability inclusion efforts in Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States
ALEXANDRIA, VA. (Jan. 30, 2024)—The Disability Equality Index® enters its 10th year in 2024 with the premiere of scored benchmarks in seven countries outside of the United States. The expansion comes in direct response to a growing demand for culturally competent tools to comprehensively measure disability inclusion efforts in multinational corporations.
Disability:IN, which administers the Disability Equality Index®, selected the initial new countries based on outcomes from a two-year global pilot in which 98 companies across 66 countries participated. Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, the Philippines, and the United Kingdom were chosen to meet demand demonstrated during the pilot as well as to ensure adequate global representation across geographic regions and at varying stages of economic and social development. Registration for the 2024 Disability Equality Index is now open with the benchmark accepting submissions until April 12 for all eight countries.
“In analyzing results from the nearly 100 companies that participated in the global pilot, it became clear that there’s a real, demonstrated need for a benchmarking tool that can be adapted for differing cultural contexts,” said Russell Shaffer, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Programs at Disability:IN. “The Disability Equality Index is poised to play a pivotal role in empowering business to drive positive change in the countries in which they operate. Companies can track their progress over time, set priorities and measure their performance to others, facilitating continuous improvement in disability inclusion efforts.”
In the U.S., the Disability Equality Index has seen immense growth in participation from 80 companies in 2015 to 485 participants in 2023. Today, 70% of the U.S. Fortune 100 and nearly half of the Fortune 500 trust the objective, comprehensive and confidential mechanism for examining their corporate disability inclusive practices and policies against their peers. The two-year global pilot revealed rapidly growing interest from stakeholders across multinational companies that witnessed the benefits of leveraging the tool in the U.S.
Increasingly, matters of financial and social materiality are leading corporations to examine and expand their efforts around disability inclusion. An ever-evolving global legislative landscape, emerging regulatory requirements and consistently compelling bottom-line business cases are fueling vigorous interest for tools like the Disability Equality Index.
In “The Disability Inclusion Imperative,” refreshed research from Accenture and Disability:IN published in November 2023, companies leading on disability inclusion over a five-year period realized marked business gains over other participants, achieving 1.6 times more revenue, 2.6 times more net income, and 2 times more economic profit.
“People with disabilities represent a vast source of talent and comprise over one billion consumers worldwide. This reality means that disability inclusion is a powerful tool to create lasting value in companies and across society,” said Jill Houghton, President & CEO of Disability:IN. “Whether they’re looking to hire and retain the best talent, diversify supply chains, improve digital accessibility, innovate products and services, or meet shareholder expectations, companies are turning to the Disability Equality Index to identify tangible actions they can take to gain a competitive edge in the global market.”
Growing Global Portfolio of Programming
To meet accelerated corporate demand for a global focus on disability inclusion, Disability:IN has been building its portfolio of programming to support expected results from the Disability Equality Index expansion. This includes:
- Convening a Global Roundtable and regional councils in APAC, EMEA and LATAM to unite corporate leaders around disability inclusion in their regions.
- Securing international consultants in Brazil, France, Taiwan and the United Kingdom to support the councils.
- In November 2023, Disability:IN hosted a first-of-its-kind business disability inclusion convening in Japan with support from Google and other corporations.
- Piloting efforts to connect global partner companies with disabled talent in their countries, including a virtual recruiting showcase that brought together 22 companies and more than 250 candidates from France, Germany and the United Kingdom.
- Early international expansion has led to Disability-Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs) certifications issued in Canada, Germany, India and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Disability:IN will launch quarterly meetings for corporate inclusive procurement professionals in APAC, EMEA and LATAM in 2024.
- Planning is currently underway for in-person events in Dublin, Ireland and Sao Paulo in 2024 with early concepts for 2025 events in Africa and India in development.