The world is brighter when everyone is welcomed: Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

The world is brighter when everyone is welcomed: Celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities

3 Dec 2023

At Diageo, creating the most inclusive and diverse culture is core to our Performance Ambition and rooted deeply in our purpose.

That’s why to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we’re celebrating some of our work around the world that supports people with disabilities, whether it’s as an employer, as a partner, or through our iconic brands and experiences.

In this video we share three stories of how we’re finding ways to drive a more inclusive culture and business that welcomes, accommodates, partners with, and celebrates, those with disabilities.

  • In Kenya, we announced a partnership in July 2022 with Sightsavers, an international NGO, with an objective to accelerate the inclusion of persons with disabilities into formal employment and across our entire value chain. We signed a MOU with Sightsavers geared towards mainstreaming the inclusion of persons with disabilities into the business. Since launch, it’s seen us work with more than 350 disabled farmers (of which 51% are female) in the production of our Senator Keg beer.
  • In October 2022, we launched a new inclusive design training programme for our marketers across our products, advertising campaigns, physical brand experiences, and the wider design and creative industry. All 2000+ employees across Diageo’s Marketing and Innovation teams will complete the training before it is rolled out to Diageo’s agency teams across the world that was created in partnership with design, brand and semiotics experts. This promotes inclusivity across our products, advertising campaigns and physical brand experiences, working to remove unconscious bias from the design process and celebrate the individual and cultural differences of the consumers we design for. A recent example of inclusive design was making disabled accessibility a key feature at Diageo's brand home, Johnnie Walker Princes Street, ensuring the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion for our guests.
  • On Baileys we know that everyone loves a treat, it’s universal. And we believe that everyone has a seat at the treating table. Everything Baileys does is based on creating content that is so delicious it makes you want to lick the screen. But we came to realise, that our content is not so delicious if you are blind or visually impaired and relying on screen readers to access that content. So Baileys partnered with the Royal National Institute for the Blind and with them ran a series of focus groups with blind and visually impaired consumers to understand more about their user experience with digital content and their wants and needs. The result was Delicious Descriptions. Baileys also partnered with Meta and attended their ‘Accessibility School’ to understand more about how the brand could maximise the accessibility features on their platform.

Diageo believes that its brands have a critical role to play in shaping a more tolerant and inclusive society and this week saw the launch of new campaigns from two other Diageo brands, J&B and Smirnoff, aimed at make socialising more accessible and welcoming for people with disabilities.

Following on from the groundbreaking ‘She’ digital campaign in 2022 that championed trans inclusion, J&B has launched its latest powerful digital campaign in Spain, named 'Mi Gran Noche' (My Big Night), aimed at shedding light on the barriers encountered by people with disabilities when it comes to socialising, as part of the brand’s ongoing commitment to ensuring no-one is excluded.

In Spain, 4.3 million people live with a disability, equating to 20.5% of Spanish households. However, 91% of this community said they encounter physical or mental barriers when attempting to access cultural and leisure activities.

That’s why in addition to the digital campaign, J&B has also launched two incredible partnerships:

Training for the On-trade: In collaboration with La ONCE and ILUNION, J&B has launched an Accessibility Guide and an Online Training Program. These resources will be designed to build capabilities and train bar owners and professional shoppers, enabling them to cater to the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Enhancing information Accessibility: Through a partnership with Google, J&B is also working to enhance the accessibility of information for on-trade venues. J&B will also mobilise a J&B Squad comprised of Local Disabled Guides, a passionate group of nightlife enthusiasts with disabilities. Their mission will be to uncover new accessible venues and share their insights through reviews on Google.

In the UK, Smirnoff has also launched the next phase of its We Do We global brand platform, first launched in June and all about championing the power of the collective.

Building on the belief that ‘we’re better together’, and the world is brighter, richer, and more interesting when everyone is welcome, this week in London Smirnoff announced its plans to lifting social barriers through a new long-term partnership with Sinead Burke’s accessibility and inclusion consultancy, Tilting the Lens, and Stonegate, the UK’s largest pub operator to make socialising more accessible through features that may include: low-counter accessible bars, accessible viewing platforms, drinks menus in braille, noise cancelling headphones for those with sensory requirements that include sound sensitivity and quiet spaces.

The brand’s new long-term partnership with Stonegate and Tilting The Lens will drive positive change for the disabled community over the coming months by reviewing the settings in which people drink, the way Smirnoff products are designed and how they are marketed in order to create a blueprint for change. 

Demonstrating our broader commitment at Diageo to foster an environment that values everyone’s contribution and celebrates what makes them unique, in 2022 we also launched new disability inclusion guidelines, covering topics like physical and digital accessibility and recruitment, as well as guidance on disability-inclusive language to help teams have positive conversations. The guidelines also include examples of how we’re supporting people with disabilities in our teams, with partners and communities we work with and through our brands.

Watch the audio descriptor version of the video >