What if, rather than approaching disability inclusion from a philanthropy perspective, we approached it from a bottom line perspective?
That’s just what Rich Donovan, founder of Fifth Quadrant Analytics, believes will drive companies to truly make an impact on the pressing disability issues we face. Donovan helped develop the Return on Disability® Index, an equity index for U.S. and Canadian companies that are outperforming in the disability market. The methodology the index is based on is driven by the organization’s founding principle: treat people with disabilities as one would any other valuable emerging market. Why? Because people with disabilities & their friends and family are a huge market with the collective spending power of $9 trillion worldwide.
Globally, people with disabilities are an economic force 1.1 billion strong. Whether we like it or not, says Donovan, our society and economy are driven by profitability—and companies are going to adjust the way they do business in ways that increase value for their shareholders. It turns out that the Return on Disability Index and Ratings Reports ties disability inclusion to the bottom line and helps companies do just that.
“We want companies to look at disability through the lens of economic value, rather than social value,” says Donovan. “There’s a real disconnect between opportunity and actual capitalization in this market.”
Just like DePaul Industries’ efforts to employ people with disabilities in the commercial sector, Fifth Quadrant Analytics strives to link disability with profitability. In other words, we’re aware of the business benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and aim to ensure that companies are approaching disability inclusion from that perspective—the most efficient way to tap into a market the size of China, and to simultaneously close the employment gap.
Check out a fantastic feature on the disability market by Rich Donovan, or review Fifth Quadrant’s Global Economics of Disability paper.