Top companies should install disabled directors

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UK's biggest brands are not targeting the "purple pound" 

11th May 2018 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Disability champions should be installed on the boards of Britain’s biggest companies by 2020, says a leading disabled social entrepreneur.  

Mike Adams, disabled chief executive of the social enterprise Purple, co-wrote the report with David Gracie, director of legal services at the accountancy and consultancy giant KPMG, calling on boards of to include disability as a formal agenda item.

Becoming “disability inclusive” as an employer opens up organisations to “a wider talent pool, different ways of doing things and a far broader customer base.”

And greater representation of disabled people would allow companies to get value from the “purple pound” – the collective spending power of disabled people in the UK and their families – is an estimated £249 billion a year.

According to the report, three-quarters of disabled people have walked away from a business because of poor disability awareness – costing businesses £420 million a week – while inaccessible websites and apps cost £11.75bn in lost revenue in the UK in 2016.

As a case in point, Mars UK saw sales of Maltesers increase by 8.1% – double its target of 4% – after a series of adverts featuring disabled cast members in its most successful campaign in 80 years.

Adams said: “Put simply, disability is board business. It affects everyone associated with your company – your customers, your staff, and your stakeholders.

“Having spoken to some of the most forward-thinking businesses of all sizes when it comes to disability, a common thread quickly emerged – the tone is set by those at the top.

“We need more leaders to follow suit and create a new culture in which disabled people aren’t just accommodated but embraced because everyone understands their true potential.”