Launch of Global Business Disability Framework

23 July 2018

London, UK: Business Disability Forum is seeking to help global organisations better meet the needs of employees and customers with disabilities today, through the launch of its Global Business Disability Framework.

The first of its kind, the framework enables multi-national organisations to assess how they are currently meeting the needs of colleagues and customers at a local level, and to develop and implement strategies to improve workplace accessibility and customer service globally.

The tool is being launched ahead of the UK’s Department for International Development’s Global Disability Summit, at an event on the role of business in promoting disability inclusion globally, this afternoon, in London.

Diane Lightfoot, Chief Executive Officer of Business Disability Forum, said:

“Approximately 15 per cent of the world’s population have a disability, yet surprisingly, very little work has been done at a global level to assess and share good practice, in terms of customer and employee experience.

“Business Disability Forum is trying to change this. A third of our Partner and Member organisations operate internationally and many have asked for support to meet the needs of employees and customers the world over. We have drawn on expertise within our membership to develop a framework, which is easy to use and which will benefit business and disabled people alike.

“Whilst the global spending power of disabled people is huge. The Global Business Disability Framework is about far more than this. It’s about doing business in a way which benefits both businesses and people with disabilities. This is particularly important given that many of our Partners and Members operate in developing countries, where people with disabilities are among some of the most disadvantaged in the world.”

The Global Business Disability Framework has been developed in collaboration with several leading multinational organisations, including Shell, Atos, Barclays and EY. These organisations have shared their own experiences of developing policies and practice to meet the needs of disabled colleagues and customers throughout the world, as part of Business Disability Forum’s Global Taskforce.

Neil Milliken, Head of Accessibility & Digital Inclusion at Atos, and member of theTaskforce, said:

“As increasing numbers of organisations work across international borders, with different legal frameworks and requirements, there is great utility in having a single standardised approach based on best practice and business rewards.”

The Global Business Disability Framework particularly seeks to address issues such as:

  • Developing an approach to disability on a global scale which can be adapted to reflect local cultures and laws.
  • Meeting the needs of disabled colleagues working overseas.
  • Ensuring that products and services are accessible to customers with a disability, wherever they are in the world.
  • Guaranteeing that global functions, tools or standards – ranging from e-learning to office design guidelines – consider the needs of users with disabilities.

Business Disability Forum is calling on multinational companies to adopt the framework and help develop it further. To find out more, go to




Notes to editors:

  1. Business Disability Forum is a not-for-profit member organisation that makes it easier and more rewarding to do business with and employ disabled people. By providing pragmatic support, sharing expertise, giving advice, providing training and facilitating networking opportunities, we help organisations to become fully accessible to disabled customers and employees. Ultimately, our aim is transform the life chances – and experience – of disabled people as employees and consumers. We have more than twenty years’ experience of working with public and private sector organisations, formerly as the Employers’ Forum on Disability, where we were instrumental in lobbying for and creating the first meaningful disability legislation in the UK in the shape of the Disability Discrimination Act. Our 300 members now employ around 15% of the UK workforce and range from FTSE 100 companies and central Government departments to transport providers, construction companies, retailers, higher education providers and public services. We also work closely with Government to shape disability policy and to feedback what works – what doesn’t – from our Members and Partners.
  2. To find out more about the Global Disability Business Tool, please visit
  3. For further information on the Global Business Disability Framework, to set up an interview and/or to request case studies, please contact Sam Buckley, Press Officer, at or 020-7089-471.