A group of Irish activists have launched a new campaign calling on global businesses to tackle disability exclusion in the workplace.
The group is warning that 50% of businesses across the OECD opt to pay fines rather than meet quotas on employing people with disability - while the international employment rate for people living with a disability is half that of people without
Award-winning activist and social entrepreneur Caroline Casey is spearheading the #valuable campaign, calling on 500 businesses to take a lead role in tackling inequality and disability exclusion around the world.
Ms Casey, who is registered blind, is embarking on a month-long 1,000km horse trek through Columbia to raise awareness.
The campaign is already supported by a number of business leaders including LinkedIn co-founder, Reid Hoffman, Channel Four CMO Dan Brooke and One Young World co-founder Kate Robinson.
Ms Casey also has the support of Irish activists Mark Pollock, Niall Breslin, Sinéad Burke and Adam Harris.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign in Dublin this morning Mr Pollock - an adventurer and athlete who is both blind and paralysed - said the exclusion rate in Ireland is particularly high:
"Eight out of ten people who are blind don't work again and eight out of ten people who are in a wheelchair don't work again," he said.
"So that leaves us with 20% in this country who are working and 80% who are not.
"The question is what is the reason for that? Why is that statistic there?"
He said people living with disabilities want to contribute in a meaningful way to the workforce.
Ms Casey said that business has the power to change behaviour and attitudes on large social issues adding that the #valuable campaign aims to begin a real conversation that will drive systemic change.
"It is time to challenge the status quo, and truly position disability equally on diversity and inclusion agendas," she said.
You can follow her epic journey across Columbia by logging on to valuable.global and by following the hashtag #valuabletribe.