Washington D.C., Jan. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- COPY OF LETTER PROVIDED BELOW:

January 2, 2019

We are writing to you – from a CEO to CEO perspective – to:

1. Request your consideration to participate in the Disability Equality Index (DEI), the leading corporate benchmarking tool for disability equality, which is administered by the non-profit organizations, American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Disability:IN;

2. Share important information on disability inclusion that details its impact on business performance; and

3. Ensure that you’re aware of increasing investor interest in understanding how companies are inclusive of people with disabilities.

We have experienced first-hand, through our companies, the potential for innovation, sustainability, and profit of disability inclusion. It is important to us to drive companies aligned with corporate values and meaningful purpose. Despite a near-historic low unemployment rate, only 33% of workingage people with disabilities are participating in the labor force – as compared to the 63% workforce participation rate for people without disabilities. We are failing to build sustainable futures that empower all.

Corporate America has made progress with underrepresented groups such as women, people of color, veterans, and the LGBTQ community. However, disability remains the great unknown, largely due to lack of understanding and measurement. We kindly request that your company registers for the DEI (www.DisabilityEqualityIndex.org), a corporate benchmarking tool created by non-profit organizations AAPD and Disability:IN. Your company may already be leveraging the Corporate Equality Index, a similar benchmarking tool from Human Rights Campaign.

Our respective companies leverage the DEI to help build better products, stronger workforces, and innovative supply chains. At a larger scale, we stand to boost the American GDP by up to $25 billion if we hire just 1% of the untapped talent with disabilities.

As many as 1-in-4 Americans have a disability – and it is a strength. We at Accenture, CVS Health, Intel, Microsoft, Voya, and Walmart are leveraging this – by hiring inclusively, contracting with disability-owned business enterprises, and creating accessible tools and technology for all. We do this because it’s the right thing to do and it makes good business sense. Research reveals that leading disability-inclusive companies stand to gain as much as 28% higher revenue, double the net income and 30% higher economic profit margins than their peers.

This is a growing topic for investors in driving sustainable performance. An investor coalition, representing more than $2.1 trillion in combined assets, called on companies they invest in to become more disability inclusive. The coalition is led by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli and Oregon State Treasurer Tobias Read, and includes large institutional investors such as California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and Bank of America. BlackRock recently hosted a roundtable discussion on this topic, and DiNapoli has specifically called on 68 CEOs.

We understand, firsthand, that many requests come across the CEO’s desk, which is why we’re reaching out directly to you on this topic. The business case for disability inclusion in the workplace is compelling. Investor interest – along with regulator and legislator interest – on the topic of workplace disability inclusion is increasing at an accelerated pace. And the DEI provides an unbiased and confidential way to benchmark disability inclusion in the workplace.

Accompanying this letter is an overview on the DEI. Becky Kekula, at Becky@DisabilityIN.org, is also available to answer any questions that you/your team may have.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Rodney O. Martin, Jr.
Chairman & CEO
Voya Financial

Doug McMillon
President & CEO
Walmart Inc.

Larry Merlo
President & CEO
CVS Health

Satya Nadella
Chief Executive Officer
Microsoft

Bob Swan
Chief Executive Officer
Intel Corporation

Julie Sweet
Chief Executive Officer
Accenture

Elaine Kubik
Disability:IN
Elaine@DisabilityIN.org