At Meijer stores, blind and low-vision consumers can use the Aira app to help with shopping.
Walmart, CVS Health, Amazon and Walgreens Boots Alliance were among other notable retailers recognized for crafting a culture of inclusion for people with disabilities, according to new research.
The recognition comes from the 2020 Disability Equality Index (DEI), a joint initiative of Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). The listings reflect such metrics as employment, accessibility, community engagement and support services.
Walmart, CVS Health, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Best Buy, Lowes and CVS Health were among the companies that scored 100% on the list. Other retailers — Meijer, Amazon and The Kroger Co. — scored 90%. Target scored 80%.
The 100% score doesn't indicate perfection, according to the index, but simply signals that a company “adheres to many of the numerous leading disability inclusion practices” recommended by the index operators. Any company that scores 80% or more is considered a DEI Best Place to Work.
Also represented on the list were notable consumer goods companies, including 3M, Land O' Lakes, Bayer, Colgate Palmolive, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo.
To be eligible for inclusion on on the list requires companies submit to a self-nomination process and it was not readily apparent what metrics are relied upon to determine inclusion. A total of 205 companies were awarded the distinction of 2020 Best Places to Work.
One of the benefits of entering the program is the ability to tout the distinction if selected. For example, Meijer issued a press release noting its selection and highlighted how it serves disabled consumers. The chain uses the Aira app to support blind and low-vision customers. Aira connects users to trained remote agents through smartphone cameras. At the touch of a button, Aira can connect Meijer customers needing visual assistance with anything from reading in-store signage to product labels. The service used to be available for a per-minute fee at Meijer, but with the new partnership, it's now complimentary.
"We appreciate the continued recognition of our journey toward creating environments that make all people feel welcomed, supported and meaningfully engaged," said Timothy Williams, Meijer’s VP of diversity and inclusion. "Our Meijer Disability Awareness & Advocacy Group (mDAAG) team members deserve much of the credit for our continuous innovation in this space. They inspire all of us to constantly push ourselves to do more."