Why disability inclusion is imperative for business – all year round

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José Antonio Echeverría, CCEP Chief Customer Service & Supply Chain Officer

Today, 16% of the global population live with some form of disability.

Yet globally, this group still face massive hurdles in the job market. In developed countries, the UN predicts that 50 -70% of people with a disability of working age are unemployed. It’s an alarming figure.

The potential of hiring workforces that are a true reflection of the diverse world around us is huge. And, with populations living longer and the demographics of the global workforce shifting, the business community must realise the exciting opportunities and benefits that addressing diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) brings.

Ranging from improving innovation to spotting and reducing business risks, through to increased shareholder returns, companies that are successfully working towards disability inclusion rightly have a competitive advantage.

That’s why milestones like International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) this Sunday, are an important reminder of the action needed to address the discrimination that many people with a disability still face in the workforce.  

At Coca-Cola Europacific Partners (CCEP), improving disability inclusion for our 33,000 colleagues is a vital part of our DEI strategy.

And, as executive sponsor for disability inclusion, it’s my responsibility to ensure that this isn’t just a “nice to have”, but that a culture where everyone is welcome, celebrated and valued is embedded in everything we do.

Today, I’m sharing some of the key elements of our progress, in the hope that we’ll inspire other businesses:



1. Making it measurable

In 2022, we established a commitment to ensure 10% of our workforce is represented by people with disabilities by 2030. Just one year later we have already exceeded this, with over 12.6% of our working population made up of people who have shared their disability status with us.


2. A laser focus on improving accessibility, even in environments when it might seem challenging

Manufacturing might not strike you as the most accessible environment. But, with investment,  our Edmonton manufacturing site in Great Britain has  been announced as  accessible and we’re conducting accessibility audits across several other markets to identify areas for improvement.


3. Tackling the diversity of the candidate pool

If you’re struggling to boost diversity within the candidate pool you need to focus on what you can do as a business to attract diverse talent. In Indonesia, we’ve introduced apprenticeship and work experience programs specifically for individuals with disabilities – aiming to attract more candidates and boost the talent pipeline.


4. Focus on products

Engaging with employees with disabilities provides unique insights into the best way to design products that are accessible for consumers. We were the first beverage company to trial NaviLens on packaging for the visually impaired, and we are continuing to trial innovations to ensure our products are as accessible as possible. I’d encourage other companies to think about how the diversity of their employees can help them think outside the box and innovate for their customers.


We know the job isn’t done yet. But I hope that by sharing some of the things that have worked for us, we can help galvanize the business community into ensuring disability inclusion is on the agenda all year round.

Find out more about Inclusion and Diversity at CCEP here.


José Antonio Echeverría, Chief Customer Service & Supply Chain Officer