Last year, the murder of George Floyd sparked a national reckoning with systemic racism and an outpouring of support for communities of color as companies made commitments to Black Lives Matter. 95% of Black Americans agree that companies should promote racial equity in the workplace, but 83% said companies have more work to do. Corporate leaders need to be transparent at every step of their diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) journey, and recent analysis provides a clear picture of DEI disclosure across corporate America today and direction for companies looking to not just talk the talk but walk the walk.
Earlier this year, JUST Capital released its Corporate Racial Equity Tracker, a comprehensive resource detailing disclosures from America’s 100 largest employers on their commitments and actions around cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) within their workplaces and communities. The first iteration tracks disclosure of 22 data points across six specific dimensions of racial equity: (1) Pay Equity, (2) Racial/Ethnic Diversity Data, (3) Education and Training Programs, (4) Response to Mass Incarceration, (5) Community Investments, and (6) Anti-Discrimination Policies.
Employers must do more to move beyond baseline commitments and take bold action
In this unprecedented moment, workers, customers, communities, and investors are calling on corporate America to drive change, but it continues to be challenging to assess how companies are taking concrete action to advance racial equity in America today. When analyzing the data in the Tracker baseline DEI policies and commitments – such as equal employment opportunity and anti-harassment policies – are adopted by nearly 100% of the largest employers. But when it comes to active measures that show accountability toward progress – such as conducting a pay equity analysis by race/ethnicity, setting diversity targets, and creating re-entry programs – only 10-30% of these companies disclose implementing such measures.
Companies need to move from the incremental to the transformational
We’re now in an age of accountability, where corporate leaders need to deliver on their racial equity commitments and ensure equitable outcomes in all of their business activities. In addition to the Corporate Racial Equity Tracker, JUST Capital worked closely with PolicyLink and FSG to create the 2021 CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity — a robust guide designed to help corporate leaders navigate the challenges of racial equity work and tackle systemic racism in all three domains of corporate influence:
- Within the Company: Embedding accountability within corporate governance actions and leadership performance – from establishing board oversight of racial equity strategiesto conducting an enterprise-wide racial equity audit to establishing antiracist hiring policies, and more.
- Within the Community: Building authentic and long-lasting relationships with communities of color – from cultivating inclusive pipelines of workers from local communitiesto mitigating environmental impacts to advocating for local policy changes that drive equitable outcomes, and more.
- Within Society: Underscoring the singular power of C-suite leaders who can use their voice and influence to advance racial equity – from ensuring transparency in political giving reportingto using corporate lobbying infrastructure to reduce racialized inequality to leveraging corporate influence to advance racial equity in public policy, and more.
If our country hopes to achieve an equitable society, corporate America must operate equitable businesses and help lead the way for long lasting change.
Access bbcon 2021 Virtual on-demand to learn more from Michelle and Kavya.