4 min read
Differing Messages on #BlackLivesMatter & Pride Showcase Corporate Bias
June 4, 2020
15+ min read
It’s Pride month, a time marked by rainbow capitalism and corporate support of parades and nonprofits that celebrate and support LGBTQ+ rights across the globe. Company leaders have played a unique role in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights since the 1980s as activists targeted corporations in their efforts to demand equality, becoming a case study on how companies interact with diverse communities.
Today, this interaction is noted within ESG scoring criteria – including who you hire, your policies around talent acquisition and who is in your supplier network. While ESG criteria reporting is commonplace within large corporations today, their interaction with and support of underrepresented communities can often differ vastly depending on the group. This phenomenon was on full display this week as demonstrators around the world continued to protest against police brutality on Black lives and companies were forced to weigh their messaging strategies to address the issue.
To highlight how companies have historically messaged on underrepresented communities, we ran an analysis of corporate messages on two underrepresented groups: LGBTQ+ and Black employees.
- While corporate commentary has seen drastically increasing levels of LGBTQ+ mentions since 2015, Black and POC mentions have remained relatively level since 2016
- Document volume for LGBTQ+ rights commentary is higher than for racial equality, despite the fact that LGBTQ+ represents 4.5% of the population in the U.S. vs. the 13% identifying as Black or African American
- After same-sex marriage was legalized in the U.S. in 2015, LGBTQ+ commentary started to increase dramatically
- Companies leverage both ESG reports and PR to highlight their achievements in awards celebrating their LGBTQ-inclusivity practices from the Human Rights Campaign and other organizations
- During the time of the Ferguson protests (Jun-Sept 2014), corporate commentary around Black employees and racism reached a low
- Commentary with terms encompassing Black employees and racism peaked between Mar-Jun 2018 following an incident that prompted Starbucks to close 8000 stores to train employees on racial discrimination
- For the first time, beginning on June 2, 2020, multiple major corporations have begun issuing public statements on the unjust deaths of Black Americans including George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, alongside commitments to embrace diversity and counter racism from within
- Companies increasingly began using the term “people of color” to encompass a broader group of diverse groups starting in earnest in 2015
- 43% of commentary in 2020 intended to encompass the Black population leverages the term “people of color”
- When you remove that term to focus on terms encompassing Black employees and racism, the document volume falls by over 45%
Below you’ll find commentary highlights from this year that showcase how companies are commenting on their LGBTQ+ and Black employees. AlphaSense can track emerging trends in real-time across the entire market, by industry, or watchlist. We expect this to be an interesting theme to follow as people across the world continue to protest for racial equality. Start your free trial of AlphaSense now or login to your account.
Search Query: “LGBT” OR “LGBTQ” OR “LGBTQIA” OR “Gay rights” OR “LGBT rights” OR “marriage equality”
Wells Fargo – PR – 5/29
Wells Fargo & Company has announced it is collaborating with the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) to announce the launch of NGLCC XLR8, a program for LGBT entrepreneurs, the company said.
The XLR8 Program is designed to help LGBT-owned businesses grow and succeed in a highly competitive market. XLR8 will consist of a series of by-application cohorts of NGLCC Certified LGBT Business Enterprise companies distinguished by revenue.
Tiffany & Co – ESG Report – 5/28
We are proud to maintain a culture of inclusion for members of the LBGTQ community. Since 2018, that commitment to inclusion has earned Tiffany & Co. a top score of 100% in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index in recognition of our LGBTQ-inclusive practices to foster a diverse, engaging and inclusive work environment for LGBTQ employees. We are proud of our history of support for LGBTQ equality, which we champion through recruiting outreach, employee training and benefits, and expanded representation of relationships in our marketing materials and our advertisements.
Cardinal Health – PR – 5/20
Ola Snow, Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) at Cardinal Health, added, “We’re building a culture of inclusion where everyone is comfortable bringing 100% of themselves to work every day.” Snow noted that the company has been recognized for its D&I work with designation as a Best Place to Work for LGBTQ Equality by the Human Rights Campaign for 12 years in a row, and a Top Company for Executive Women by the National Association for Female Executives eight years in a row. In addition, Cardinal Health’s Chief Diversity Officer, Devray Kirkland, was recently named one of the Top 50 Chief Diversity Officers by the National Diversity Council.
Moody’s – PR – 5/14
NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Moody’s Corporation (NYSE:MCO) today announced that it has been named for the first time to DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity, premiering at number 45 on the list. Moody’s was also recognized as a Top 29 Company for LGBT employees on DiversityInc’s specialty list.
“We are proud that our culture of inclusivity has been recognized by DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list,” said Raymond McDaniel, President and CEO of Moody’s Corporation. “Moody’s prioritizes diversity and inclusion to enrich our offerings to our many stakeholders and ensure that we can recruit and retain the best talent.”
Intel – ESG Report – 5/8
In 2019, we transformed our strategy to focus on role modeling an inclusive work environment that recognizes LGBT+ employee value, provides competitive benefits, Fosters a sense of belonging, and promotes growth and opportunities globally. Based on our efforts, we doubled our engagement numbers and expanded IGLOBE, our LGBT+ employee resource group, to 13 chapters globally. We continue to work with the LGBT+ community to provide opportunities For employees to connect to Intel leadership and engage with industry partners
Dow Inc – PR – 5/6
MIDLAND, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Dow (NYSE: DOW) earned the 22nd place on the 2020 DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list, which was announced yesterday at a virtual event hosted by DiversityInc. The Company’s placement on the list for the third consecutive year showcases its commitment to inclusion and diversity (I&D) as a business imperative.
Dow was also included on four of DiversityInc’s Specialty Lists: 2nd on Top Companies for Employee Resource Groups; 3rd on Top Companies for Supplier Diversity; one of 16 companies on Top Companies for People with Disabilities; and one of 29 companies on Top Companies for LGBT Employees.
Search Query: “black people” OR “black and brown people” OR “racism” OR “black lives matter” OR “#blacklivesmatter” OR “racial discrimination” OR “racial equality” OR “people of color” OR “men of color” OR “women of color” OR “black employees” OR “african american employees” OR “black entrepreneurs” OR “african american entrepreneurs”
Search Query: “black people” OR “black and brown people” OR “racism” OR “black lives matter” OR “#blacklivesmatter” OR “racial discrimination” OR “racial equality” OR “black employees” OR “african american employees” OR “black entrepreneurs” OR “african american entrepreneurs”
Humana – PR – 6/3
LOUISVILLE, Ky.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Today, Humana (NYSE: HUM) announced actions to support its hometown of Louisville in its efforts to address racial inequity and unite toward a stronger community.
“We are at a pivotal moment in our country’s history, and it will come down to the actions and commitments we make today that will position us for a better tomorrow,” said Bruce Broussard, President and CEO of Humana. “Caring for each other and respecting differences is who we are as a company, and we do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. At the core of our values is serving the communities in which we operate. The mission of our company has taken on particular significance in our hometown of Louisville that is reeling from the devastating loss of Breonna Taylor, protests and ensuing tragedies. This is a community that is already suffering the impact of COVID-19. There is a lot of work and healing to do to rebuild physically and emotionally.”
Among its commitments, Humana will:
– Donate $11.5 million focused on rebuilding, relief, equity and inclusion efforts in Louisville. Proceeds will support the health of the community, create greater health equity, and make the company’s hometown more inclusive and equitable for all.
– Contribute up to 160,000 employee volunteer service hours to help revitalize downtown Louisville and communities across the country
– Partner with local health officials to further the impact of the company’s Bold Goal commitment to address and improve the underlying health disparities in Louisville.
– Continue to invest in the upskilling/reskilling of Louisville talent in partnership with other corporate partners.
GM – PR – 6/3
At GM, we aspire to be the most inclusive company in the world. And our hope is that every company will do the same. And while there may not be a precise roadmap for how that will happen, that is no excuse not to try. Inclusion will be a north star for us. And every day, we will take steps in service of our aspiration. That is why I am proud to be here today.
Today, I am committing to you – as I did to the GM team – that we will no longer allow our Company the indulgence of asking, “why?” Today, I am committing that we as a company will focus on “what.” What will we do?
Like all of the leaders here today, we want to be part of meaningful, deliberate change. We will not allow ourselves the passivity of urging others to act. We will act.
1) We commit to inclusion – that means creating the conditions where every single human who believes in inclusion is welcome within our walls. Where those conditions do not currently exist, we will bring forth the resources and the rigor to ensure that they do. We know we’re not perfect. Pretending to be is part of the problem. To any GM employees who have the courage to speak up – we will hear you.
2) We unequivocally condemn intolerance – that means racism, bigotry, discrimination and any other form of named or unnamed hatred. Where hatred exists within our house, we will root it out. To any GM employees who feel like they cannot bring their full selves to work – we will see you.
3) We stand up against injustice – that means taking the risk of expressing an unpopular or polarizing point of view, because complacency and complicity sit in the shadow of silence. To any GM employees who feel like we should leverage GM’s voice – we will speak out.
Vistra Energy – PR – 6/3
We are appalled by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and countless others. Every single human life is priceless, and racism, brutality, and bias have no place in our great nation. With more than 5,000 employees of diverse backgrounds, the leadership team and I are genuinely concerned about the racial bias that continues today. As Curt mentioned, many of our coworkers have experienced unfair treatment, inequality, and fear at times in their lives, and we cannot be complacent in the face of such an unacceptable reality. Regardless of how far we have come in this country, we still have a long way to go. More work is needed and we can only do it through open and honest conversation.
Johnson & Johnson – PR – 6/3
As the CEO of the world’s largest healthcare company, I must state unequivocally that racism in any form is unacceptable, and that black lives matter. And as a white man, I also need to acknowledge the limits of my own life experience and listen to those who have faced systemic injustice since the day they were born.
I spent the weekend reaching out to black colleagues and friends, and their stories-like the father who drives behind his teenage daughter anytime she goes jogging because he fears for her safety-landed like a punch to the gut. There will always be a multitude of reasons for parents to worry about their children, but racist violence should not be one of them.
As much as we at Johnson & Johnson pride ourselves on our accomplishments in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, we must do more. And we must do it now. Our company is committing $10 million to fighting racism and injustice in America-a pledge that will span the next three years. We will kick it off by extending our support of the National Museum of African American History and Culture and its initiatives, such as the ‘Talking About Race’ program. This new online offering is a valuable resource that reflects our belief in the transformative power of dialogue and education when it comes to unearthing and confronting the root causes of racism.
Ben & Jerry’s – PR – 6/3
Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things:
First, we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.
Second, we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.
Third, we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.
And finally, we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.
FedEx – PR – 6/3
This is an extraordinarily difficult time in the United States as we grapple with tragedy and unrest in our communities. There is absolutely no place for racism or unequal treatment anywhere, and we must unequivocally speak out and reject it when we see it. That’s why we are writing to you today.
The recent killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and many others are devastating. The unrest across the nation and the grieving in our local communities are a reminder that we all must keep doing more to create meaningful change and healing.
At FedEx, our workforce is as diverse as the world we serve, and we believe that everyone deserves respect. Embracing diversity is not just the right thing to do; we also have proven that it fosters innovation and makes us a more competitive company. It’s also about fostering acceptance, promoting anti-biases, and encouraging a more inclusive society. These values are core to who we are and how we operate.
Walgreens Boots Alliance – PR – 6/2
‘On behalf of everyone at Walgreens Boots Alliance, we share the sadness and sense of injustice felt by so many about the tragic death of George Floyd, and the disturbing pattern of similar incidents across the United States. We affirm our support for the communities of color who have been so profoundly affected by this incident and others like it, and we absolutely denounce hatred, racism, stereotyping and bigotry in any form.
Across the United States and in the 9,500 communities and neighborhoods where our Walgreens stores serve our customers and patients, we hope everyone will come together to constructively address many underlying issues and the systems of oppression at this critical time.
Tyson Foods – ESG Report – 5/28
To improve access to a diverse talent pool, our talent acquisition team has partnered with the National Urban League, a nonpartisan historic civil rights organization that advocates on behalf of economic and social justice for African Americans and against racial discrimination in the U.S., to provide monthly Tyson Foods- sponsored webinars highlighting our careers, Tyson Foods guest speakers who discuss career development and one-on-one virtual conversations with potential candidates.
KeyCorp – ESG Report – 5/28
External hires at the management and leadership levels have shown double-digit growth in people of color since 2016, from 10% in 2016 to 24% in 2019
PPL Corp – ESG Report – 4/28
PPL’s African-American Business Resource Group hosted a workshop to help employees better understand the origins, perspectives and focus of the Black Lives Matter movement.
With a roundtable discussion and interactive exercises, attendees were encouraged to share life experiences and how those have impacted their lives and careers.
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