Danske Bank has become the first company in Northern Ireland to join a global movement known as ‘The Valuable 500’.
On 24 January 2019 this disability inclusion campaign was launched for businesses at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Summit in Davos. The Valuable 500 seeks to get 500 companies across the world to sign up to a movement that supports disability being part of wider equality, diversity and inclusion business strategies. It is believed around 90% of organisations discuss equality, diversity and inclusion at Board Level, but only 4% discuss disability.
At the Summit, Sarah Newton MP, UK Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work said:
“In 2019 it’s time for businesses across the world to take disability seriously. I’m calling on businesses to join The Valuable 500 and lead the way on disability inclusion to show other employers what they’re missing out on.”
The commitment to The Valuable 500 includes agreeing to put disability on the board agenda for 2019, and has come at a time when the Bank has also launched its own Disability Action Group internally.
In 2018 Danske became the first bank to become JAM card friendly. The Just a Minute (JAM) card is an initiative by the NOW Group that provides people with communication barriers a discreet, non verbal way of asking for a minute of patience when they need it. In a separate programme Danske employees also underwent dementia-friendly training. On the technology side the Bank introduced voice biometrics, a telephone solution that offers greater support for customers, including those with communication challenges.
The Bank has also introduced polymer bank notes, something that was welcomed by the Royal National Institute of Blind People in Northern Ireland – as the notes are more easily identifiable for individuals that are blind or partially sighted.
Stephen Matchett, Chief Financial Officer at Danske Bank, said:
“Our ambition is to be an inclusive business and to do more to help create a more inclusive society when it comes to equality, diversity and inclusion. I believe passionately in the need for companies like ours to show leadership on disability inclusion. It benefits our workplace, our customers and our business and we can be a power for good when it comes to creating greater awareness across Northern Irish society.”