Today is International Day of People with Disabilities – a day which seeks to promote a broad understanding of the topic of disability, whilst mobilising support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of those with personal experience of disabilities.
At P&G, we continue to advance our journey to create a more equal world for people with disabilities – both within our organisation, and in wider society. This area of work forms part of our overarching equality and inclusion (E&I) strategy, which we bring to life with our employees, through our brands, alongside our partners and in local communities.
As we reflect on the last 12 months, we remain hugely proud of all we have achieved to continue to advance this journey. Within our organisation, we have cultivated a culture of disability confidence, enabled by the employees across the UK, Ireland and the Nordics who have bravely stepped forward to share their personal stories and experiences. Doing so not only helps others to ‘walk in the shoes’ of someone with a disability, but has also been found to help employees with similar experiences connect with one another and build relationships.
Our People with Disabilities (PwD) Network – which is open to employees with personal experience of a disability, disabled dependent and allies keen to show their support – provides a safe space for employees to share their knowledge and ask questions in a safe and open environment. It’s a hugely important support network for many of our employees, and we were delighted that the Network was shortlisted in the Outstanding Employee Network category at the European Diversity Awards earlier this year. At the most senior levels of our business, we continue to drive accountability and ownership from the top down through the establishment of our Lead Team Sponsor, who continues to drive forward our efforts across Northern Europe.
We recognise the responsibility we have as a business to leverage our much-loved brands to drive meaningful, long-lasting change. Earlier this year, Oral B and Gillette featured in a special advertising break in partnership with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and Channel 4, shown during the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. As part of the takeover, graphically treated TV copies (TVCs) which distorted the visual experience were shown, helping to demonstrate how it might look to someone with a visual impairment and highlight the importance of audio description in advertising.
We’re innovating when it comes to audio description, too – in June, we ran our first adaptive audio description trial in the UK. This enabled us to apply audio description to TVCs that do not have enough natural gaps in the dialogue to provide a description, making audio description possible for all TVCs that require it, and thereby opening it up to even more people.
More recently, we announced the inclusion of NaviLens on Pantene. The small, colourful QR code is activated via an app which, when pointed towards the product on shelf, reads out key product information. This includes product benefits, key ingredients and how far away the product is on shelf, helping those with low or no vision to browse independently and with confidence in store.
Underpinning all of this work are our relationships with a number of trusted partners, with whom we are proud to stand alongside in order to drive meaningful, long-lasting change. In October, our Company Accessibility Leader, Sam Latif, spoke at D&I in Grocery LIVE – a flagship event which brought together over 1,000 people from across the FMCG industry. At the event, she presented on NaviLens – inspiring those from across the industry to bake accessibility into their product design from the outset.
Looking back on the last 12 months, there is much to be proud of. But we recognise the importance of continuing our journey and creating an equal and inclusive world for people with disabilities. Doing so is not only the right thing to do, but stands to open up our business and our brands to even more people; enabling us to be both a force for good, and a force for growth.
To find out more about our work to create a more equal and inclusive world for people with disabilities, check out our 2021 Northern Europe Citizenship Report.