A group of public pension fund executives, money managers, corporate and union executives are calling on companies "to do more to include people with disabilities in the workforce," according to a statement issued by the group Monday.
"Disability inclusion provides businesses with a great opportunity to improve their bottom lines, while boosting diversity and innovation," Thomas DiNapoli, the New York state comptroller and sole trustee of the $210.2 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Albany, said in a Monday news release."We want to know that our investment dollars are being used to maximize a company's potential and its long-term profitability."
Mr. DiNapoli and Tobias Read, the Oregon state treasurer, are the co-leaders of the effort to make corporations more aware of workers with disabilities.
"Companies that embrace disability inclusion in the workplace benefit from increased innovation as well as profitability," Mr. Read said in the news release. "We are asking the companies we invest in to adopt policies to improve the representation of people with disabilities in their workforce and continue to identify opportunities for improvement."
The letter didn't identify any companies and didn't identify any actions — such as shareholder proposals — to support its request. The group recommended a series of best practices for companies that featured:
- Ensuring the corporate diversity and inclusion statements "specifically mentions people with disabilities and post the statement online."
- Establishing "a public, company-wide hiring goal for people with disabilities and measure progress on achieving that goal."
- Releasing "a public statement from a senior executive (within first two layers of CEO), supporting a disability-focused employee resource group."
"We recognize that corporate disability inclusion will not be achieved overnight," said a joint statement by Mr. DiNapoli, Mr. Read and other pension fund executives, including Christopher J. Ailman, CIO of the $233.9 billion, California State Teachers' Retirement System, West Sacramento, and Scott Stringer, New York City's comptroller and fiduciary for the five pension funds in the $197 billion New York City Retirement Systems. Other signatories included Rodney O. Martin, Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial; Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO; and Matthew W. Patsky, CEO of Trillium Asset Management.