The past year has seen an unprecedented focus on equity. Between disproportionate effects of the pandemic on People of Color and shocking cases of brutality against Black Americans and Asian American Pacific Islanders, a renewed national conversation regarding systemic racism has begun. Corporate leaders, especially, have become increasingly aware that the way they do business can either promote or hinder racial equity. But how do leaders and consumers know if a business is driving change or taking a back seat? JUST Capital, a platform for measuring corporate performance, has launched an assessment tool meant to provide concrete data on corporate racial equity performance.
Why is the racial equity assessment tool important?
JUST Capital was created in 2013 as a non-profit organization and recently partnered with The Harris Poll to learn that 95% of Black Americans believe it is important for companies to promote racial equity. That’s approximately 42 million consumers nationwide. Many people of all races also care about corporate responsibility and use purchasing power to express their opinion regarding business practices.
What does the tool measure?
The tool focuses on six categories:
- Anti-Discrimination Policies
- Pay Equity
- Racial/Ethnic Diversity Data
- Education and Training Programs
- Response to Mass Incarceration
- Community Investments
How does the tool measure these categories?
JUST Capital analyzed the nation’s 100 largest employers, finding companies were very likely to disclose diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments, but much less likely to publicize actions taken in pursuit of progress. Therefore, the tool shows companies’ commitments, but also details specific actions taken to fulfill those commitments. These actions include policies, programs, and disclosures, such as the racial composition of a company’s board of directors. The actions are sorted according to the six areas of measurement noted above.
A person interested in finding out what a company has done to address pay equity can use the tool to see the company’s commitment to pay equity, as well as policies and procedures it has put into place to ensure pay is truly equitable, together with disclosures showing how effective the policies and procedures have been in equalizing pay within its workforce.
How can the tool be used by small businesses?
Currently, only the nation’s 100 largest employers have been analyzed. JUST Capital’s goal is to work its way through the largest 1000 employers, as well as add more areas of measurement. Consumers and potential employees might use the trackers to decide which companies they want to patronize or work for. For small business owners, however, the tool provides a wealth of information on best practices. For businesses, the tool functions as a free business consultant, detailing the latest equity and inclusion strategies currently in use at the nation’s leading companies. Why not take a look and see what might work for your business? The tracker can be found here: https://justcapital.com/reports/corporate-racial-equity-tracker/.
This memorandum is meant to provide general guidance regarding this subject. If you have questions regarding topics addressed in this memorandum or your rights and responsibilities in general, please call the Equity & Human Rights Office at 319-356-5015 or 319-356-5022. For specific legal questions, please consult your attorney.
The City of Iowa City Office of Equity and Human Rights has been providing memos to businesses on areas of discrimination since August of 2016. Please send topics you would like to receive guidance on in the future, or inquiries regarding discrimination issues, to firstname.lastname@example.org.