Seven of the world’s largest financial institutions sign up to disability inclusion campaign The Valuable 500.
The Bank of England, Lloyds Banking Group, HSBC UK, RBS, Monex, Standard Chartered and Bank Hapoalim of Israel have announced their membership of The Valuable 500 – a worldwide call to action launched earlier this year which strives to place disability inclusion at the top of business agendas. These organisations will join others already signed up to the initiative, including Barclays, Danske Bank and Citibanamex of Mexico, placing the banking sector at the front of the fight for inclusion.
The campaign, launched at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos in January, will hold global business leaders accountable for disability inclusion in their businesses by ensuring it is discussed at leadership level and placed on their board agendas.
The banking sector has been increasingly recognised for its efforts to improve inclusion of disabled people in the workplace in recent years: in 2017, for example, The Business Disability Forum awarded RBS its Workplace Adjustments Innovation of the Year’ Award and in 2018 Gold in the Business Disability Forum’s Disability Standard, and Bank Hapoalim of Israel recently announced a social impact programme whereby at least one person with a disability must be included in all of its media campaigns.
Similarly, Lloyds Banking Group has been awarded Gold in the Business Disability Forum’s Disability Standard and is recognised for its work to raise awareness of mental health. Since their partnership with Mental Health UK began in January 2017, over £9 million of vital funds has been raised so far through fundraising initiatives such as Walk-the-Talk. However, this is the first time in history that the world’s financial services sector has taken such a significant step towards ending the exclusion of disabled people.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming such an acclaimed group of world-leading banks to The Valuable 500 today,” said Caroline Casey, founder of The Valuable 500. “It is particularly encouraging to see that the industry society relies on for financial purposes, has recognised the huge market size and spending power of a currently untapped pool of people, and has taken a definitive stand on embracing inclusion and diversity in their boardrooms as a result.
“We commend the banking sector for tackling this issue head on, and encourage other leading UK high street and global banking brands to follow the lead of their peers,” she said. “We would also love to see other industry sectors focus on this massive opportunity and join The Valuable 500 to end disability exclusion in business once and for all.”
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England said: “I am delighted that the Bank of England is now a signatory to The Valuable 500 campaign putting disability on the business leadership agenda. Over the last five years we have made significant progress increasing diversity across all levels of the Bank. This is an important step to demonstrate the Bank’s ongoing commitment to those with disabilities and long term conditions. We all benefit from ensuring reasonable adjustments can be made in a simple and effective way so that those with disabilities and long term conditions are able to contribute to their full potential and we will discuss their inclusion on our Court agendas to ensure we maintain progress.”
RBS is delighted to become a member of The Valuable 500,” said David Wheldon, chief marketing officer & executive sponsor for disability at the bank. “We are deeply committed to ensuring diversity and inclusion are top of our agenda for our customers and colleagues. In recent years we have made good progress to make sure people with disabilities can access the opportunities, products and services that the bank has to offer, but we realise we still have much more to do. If we all make this a priority and play our part we can affect real and lasting change.”
Ian Stuart, CEO of HSBC UK, added: “Breaking down the barriers for disability inclusion is vital for HSBC UK. We are proud to be joining the Valuable 500 as part of our wider commitment diversity, inclusion and human rights across our business. We believe diversity brings huge benefits for our customers, our people, our suppliers, our communities and our investors. A diverse and connected workforce contributes different ideas and perspectives which in turn helps us to innovate and improve the service we deliver to our customers. We want HSBC UK to reflect the community we seek to serve and to embed a culture within our company in which all individuals are valued, respected and supported to fulfil their potential.”