FSG, PolicyLink, and JUST Capital recently launched the Corporate Racial Equity Alliance to support the evolution of antiracist, equitable corporations that can effectively contribute to building an equitable and healthy nation for all. As part of their ongoing collaboration, the partner organizations also released their 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: the workplace, communities, and society.
In the coming months, the Corporate Racial Equity Alliance will leverage key takeaways from the Blueprint and work alongside additional partners to develop rigorous corporate standards for racial equity aimed at aligning market actors around how to measure, report, and incentivize progress.
The latest CEO Blueprint comes as corporate stakeholders and the public continue to scrutinize companies’ approaches and follow-through on racial equity commitments in the wake of the racial justice protests last summer. JUST Capital’s recent polling reveals 95% of Black Americans and 79% of Americans overall believe it is important for companies to promote racial diversity and equity in the workplace. And, 81% of Black Americans and 64% of Americans overall say companies have more work to do to achieve racial equity in America.
“We’re now in a long-overdue age of accountability, where corporate leaders need to deliver on their racial equity commitments and ensure equitable outcomes in all of their business activities,” said Mahlet Getachew, managing director of corporate racial equity at PolicyLink. “Our latest Blueprint shares the essential components of embedding racial equity within the DNA of the business and embodies the new business leadership our nation needs today to meet the scale of the structural challenges before us.”
The new guide builds on the first iteration of the CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity released in July 2020. In addition to examples of the progress achieved by some corporations, it also includes new insights and recommendations informed by a May 2021 report from the partner organizations detailing dozens of business executives’ feedback on the initial Blueprint and what they identify as the top challenges to advancing racial equity.
“As Target continues to build on our 15 years of progress in creating a diverse workforce, and setting diversity and inclusion goals for our team and business, the CEO Blueprint served as a valuable resource for informing our Racial Equity Action and Change (REACH) committee’s efforts and commitments,” said Amanda Nusz, senior vice president of corporate responsibility at Target and president of the Target Foundation. “Through the CEO Blueprint’s insights and guidance, we can collectively help accelerate opportunity and equity across our workforces and the communities we serve to drive for change that is good for all.”
“It’s commonly accepted that equity is good for society, however, it’s equally important we recognize equity is good for business,” said Damon D. Jones, chief communications officer at The Procter & Gamble Company. “Trust, transparency, and accountability are increasingly factors that will help determine what people choose to buy and where people choose to work—and words without deeds will have both reputational and financial consequences. The Blueprint helps enable companies to move to action immediately by implementing policies and practices within their direct control.”
The 2021 CEO Blueprint for Racial Equity outlines key recommendations for business leaders across the three domains of corporate influence, including detailed actions related to:
1. Inside the Company
- Embedding accountability within corporate governance and leadership performance
- Designing HR policies and practices that are actively antiracist, not merely “not racist”
- Expanding worker power and voice
- Designing products and services that center on racially equitable outcomes
- Designing operations and supply chain to center racial equity
2. Within the Community
- Authentically building trust and relationships
- Redesigning corporate philanthropy to address structural problems
- Advocating for local policies that address structural inequities
- Supporting environmental justice
3. At the Societal Level
- Taking on national-level public policy, lobbying, and advocacy to advance racial equity
- Making investments to promote equity
- Transforming communications to advance racial equity
The specific, actionable recommendations can be found in the full report here.
“While our polling shows that Americans want business executives to prioritize racial equity programs, our Corporate Racial Equity Tracker makes clear that companies can and must do more to move beyond baseline commitments and take bold action,” said Yusuf George, managing director of programs and strategic engagement at JUST Capital. “We urge corporate leaders to accelerate their efforts right now by utilizing the Blueprint to move from the incremental to enterprise-wide transformation.”
“The case for racial equity has been made, and now we see corporate leaders grappling with what it actually takes to shift mindsets, strategy, culture, and behavior within their companies. The Blueprint and forthcoming standards are a compass to guide leaders as they engage in the deep, iterative, and sometimes messy work of integrating racial equity into the DNA of the enterprise,” said Kendra Berenson, associate director at FSG.
Interested partners can learn about the standards development work and explore opportunities to get involved with the Alliance at www.corporateracialequityalliance.org.
PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®. Our mission is to ensure all people in America—particularly those who face the burdens of structural racism—can participate in a just society, live in a healthy community of opportunity, and prosper in an equitable economy. Our guiding ethos is Equity—the just and fair inclusion into a society in which all of us can participate, prosper, and reach our full potential. For more information, visit www.policylink.org.
About JUST Capital
The mission of JUST Capital, an independent nonprofit, is to build an economy that works for all Americans by helping companies improve how they serve all their stakeholders – workers, customers, communities, the environment, and shareholders. We believe that business and markets can and must be a greater force for good, and by shifting the resources of the $19 trillion private sector, we can address systemic issues at scale, including income inequality and lack of opportunity. Guided by the priorities of the public, our research, rankings, indexes, and data-driven tools help measure and improve corporate performance in the stakeholder economy. To learn more about how data-driven insights are creating a more just future for capitalism, visit www.JUSTCapital.com.