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Energy industry leaders unite to tackle disability exclusion

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Oil and gas industry giant Royal Dutch Shell has joined forces with Enel and Centrica to support efforts to eliminate the exclusion of disabled people across the world, by joining the disability inclusion campaign The Valuable 500.

The campaign encourages business leaders to recognise the value of 1.3 billion disabled people globally. In addition to Shell, Centrica and Enel, Marui Group and Mitsui Chemicals are among 15 new companies to commit to the campaign, bringing the total to 165.

Launched at this year’s World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit, The Valuable 500 aims to find 500 businesses that will place disability inclusion on their board agenda, as the first step to full inclusion for disabled people in business.

“We are delighted to welcome Shell, Centrica and Enel as members of the Valuable 500,” said Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500. “This is a significant moment for the energy sector, and it is fantastic to see such a strong response in this area to our call to action. We welcome their commitment to disability inclusion in business and encourage other companies in this sector who have a platform to speak to the business community to follow their lead.

“We are also thrilled to welcome two Japanese companies, Marui Group and Mitsui Chemicals, who have become the first companies in Japan to sign up to our campaign. This is hugely significant and we welcome their commitment to put disability on the board agenda and show leadership on this important issue on the global stage.

“However, more must be done. We need to take note of the $8 trillion market opportunity of the world’s 1.3 billion disabled people and commit to disability inclusion in business. We urge business leaders around the world to put this on their board agendas and take much needed action.”

New to The Valuable 500

Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said: “Disability inclusion is central to Shell’s approach to finding the best people and getting the most from our employees. We are proud to have prioritised this issue and to join The Valuable 500, which will help us continue to play an important part in truly diversifying the energy sector. We are proud to have prioritised this issue and to help lead the way in truly diversifying the energy sector. However, we know there is still much to be done, and as we work towards this ourselves we also strongly encourage other companies to make this issue a priority.”

Maria Patrizia Grieco, chairman of Enel, added: “The integration of disability in board agendas, alongside business actions, is a fundamental prerequisite for companies that want to be truly inclusive. This is one of the key principles of ‘Valuable 500’ and it is perfectly in line with Enel’s global policy on diversity and inclusion. Based on non-discrimination, equal opportunities and equal dignity of diversity of all kinds, as well as work-life balance, Enel’s global diversity and inclusion policy was launched in 2015 and since then has been implemented through specific actions, including those on disability, aimed at valuing diversity throughout the organisation. Looking ahead, we commit to further strengthen the integration of disability and overall diversity issues in the work of our board of directors, with the aim to maximise the social and economic value that can be generated by this enhanced attention.”

Iain Conn, CEO of Centrica, said: "We're proud to support The Valuable 500 initiative and champion disability inclusion throughout Centrica. It's important that we can welcome and support colleagues who reflect the full diversity of the societies in which we work and the customers we serve. Employing a diverse range of talent also helps us to think differently and support our customers’ changing needs. Our employee networks, including our Disability and Wellness Network already provide a vital source of support and advice to our colleagues as well as promoting a broader culture of inclusiveness and innovation, but we also know that we can improve and there is still more work to be done.”

First companies to join from Japan

Hiroshi Aoi, president, CEO and representative director of Marui Group, commented: “Marui Group envisions a world in which we have transcended all dichotomies to build a flourishing and inclusive society that offers happiness to all. A society cannot be said to be happy if happiness is only provided to certain groups. Only when happiness is available to all can society truly flourish. Since its founding in 1931, Marui Group has continued to evolve its unique business model merging retailing and finance to reflect the changes in the times and in customers, all the while being guided by the co-creation philosophy that ‘creditability should be built together with customers’. Today, the concept of inclusion – integrating and including individuals that had previously been excluded – infuses our quest to help shape the future. We believe that expanding the intersection between the interests of all people through inclusion is a shortcut to the realisation of a flourishing and inclusive society that offers happiness to all. Inclusion is both a philosophy and a strategy, a key principle for transcending dichotomies to resolve social issues while increasing corporate value.”

Tsutomu Tannowa, president and CEO of Mitsui Chemicals, added: “We at Mitsui Chemicals have positioned three values, ‘Diversity,’ ‘Challenge’ and ‘One Team’ as our core values. We believe that our participation in The Valuable 500 will help us accelerate our endeavour to ‘make the most of diversity and create a workplace where each employee has a positive attitude towards the work,’ a goal which is included in our core values.”

Other global companies to have signed up to The Valuable 500 include Sainsbury’s, Unilever, Microsoft, KPMG, EY and Virgin Media. These businesses are taking key steps to support disability inclusion and equality, reflecting a ‘groundswell of corporate appetite’ to encourage disability inclusion in business.