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Corporate America is missing out on one of the biggest opportunities of our time for driving innovation and growth: creating business value by advancing racial equity.

Developed in partnership with PolicyLink and funded by the Ford and W.K. Kellogg foundations, The Competitive Advantage of Racial Equity highlights examples from 12 leading companies such as Gap Inc., PayPal, and Cigna, who are driving innovation and growth by advancing racial equity.

Top Takeaways

  • By 2044, America will be a majority people of color nation. Yet, there are enormous inequities that people of color face in health, wealth, employment opportunities, and so on. These twin forces of rising diversity amidst persistent exclusion form a core challenge that American businesses must address to remain competitive.

  • Companies can create economic value and advance racial equity by reconceiving products and markets, redefining productivity in the value chain, and strengthening the business context.

  • To begin this work, business leaders must first develop a deeper understanding of why racial inequities exist and then take a fresh look at every aspect of their business to find opportunities for business innovation that can simultaneously advance racial equity and also benefit the business.

Most grocery stores fled low-income communities because they deemed them to be unprofitable But I saw a window of opportunity as an entrepreneur… I also noticed that while grocery stores in richer neighborhoods prioritize customer experience, in low-income areas, that are predominantly markets of color, grocery stores are often overly policed with locks on expensive merchandise. Nobody wants to be treated that way.

Jeffrey Brown, CEO, Brown’s Super Stores, Inc.


This report is a partnership between FSG and PolicyLink. PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing racial and economic equity by Lifting Up What Works®. FSG is grateful to PolicyLink for their partnership without which this work would not have been possible.