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As corporate leaders pledge their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, they need a way to fulfill their promises. Designed for CEOs and corporate executives, this primer offers practical tools and examples to help companies transform pledges into action.

Business leaders face a growing pressure to address societal issues as part of core business practices. To maximize success, we recommend that they pursue 3 actions:

  1. Understand history and the racialized impacts of their company and industry;
  2. Repair relationships and rebuild trust; and
  3. Change business practices to advance racial equity while improving the company’s competitive advantage. 

The primer offers examples and case studies of companies that have practiced these actions, with practical strategies for leaders looking for inspiration.

Top Takeaways

  1. Today’s business leaders face mounting pressure to address societal issues and advance racial equity.
  2. There is growing evidence that businesses with diverse workforces benefit from increased innovation while more corporate leaders pledge their commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  3. There are three courses of action for business leaders to pursue: understanding history; repairing and rebuilding relationships; and changing business practices to advance racial equity while improving the company’s competitive edge.
Businesses have significant assets and power and therefore play a critical role in contributing to systemic changes that allow everyone to participate, prosper, and reach their full potential. A wide range of strategies are available, including recruiting and retention efforts; reducing income and wealth disparities via employee compensation structures; designing and delivering products and services that meet the needs of all customers; and leveraging businesses’ influence to inform public opinion and policy.