What Certified B Corporations Are Doing to Work Against Racism
Words hold power, but actions tell the true story. The rising racial justice movement has businesses across the U.S. and Canada taking a public stance against racism, but how many will support those statements with tangible action?
Even businesses with the best intentions face centuries-old, systemic obstacles, and reactive solutions require resources that favor large, well-funded, often majority-white companies. But the inclusive economy that Certified B Corporations strive to create won’t become a reality without taking concrete steps to address the fundamental inequity, injustice, and violence that disproportionately affect People of Color.
To assist B Corps and others in their anti-racism work, B Lab created a resource guide on anti-racism and JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) work. Another resource is this list on white allyship compiled by the Dismantle Collective. For an individual business program, reach out to B Corps that provide anti-racism consulting, including Provoc, TMI Consulting, Change Catalyst, Sweet Livity, and Praxis Consulting Group. For those looking for inspiration to advance change within their own companies, B Lab U.S. & Canada has compiled examples of how B Corps are responding and committing to anti-racism. Below are seven ways B Corps are stepping into anti-racism work that other organizations can consider for their own journey.
- Broaden your mission to include inclusion and equity. Pela commits to broadening its aperture from fighting for a healthier planet. “We are trying to eliminate a billion pounds of plastic from the ocean, but not one pound of it matters if we do not have equal rights for all. … We are going to continue to educate ourselves on this, because one thing we know is … we don’t know enough.”
- Check your shelves and supply chain. Red Bay Coffee challenges retailers to check their shelves so they equally and equitably represent the color of the community. “Black people account for 15% of the U.S. population. Call on major retailers to pledge 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned businesses.”
- Commit to open hiring and equitable pay. North Coast Organics publicly disclosed the diversity of its staff, pay ranges, hiring practices, and commitment to internal conversations about race. “We only hire those that get passed over and we have from the start. POC and women always get preference. From July 30, 2012, not in June 2020. We have been living the change and not wavering.”
- Back up the talk. Dr. Bronner’s shared its pledge of $25,000 to four organizations fighting for racial justice and called out disproportionate impacts of the criminal justice system on communities of color in the U.S. “Though systemic racism permeates many of our institutions, it is most entrenched in our criminal justice system, including in how the ‘War on Drugs’ is waged inside communities of color.”
- Donate and disclose. Nisolo shared its anti-racism plan of action, including a commitment to donating monthly to Black Lives Matter and Gideon’s Army of Nashville, and disclosed the racial diversity of its staff. “At Nisolo, we believe change starts with each one of us individually, and can’t be addressed simply in one email or social media post. However, we knew we needed to speak up and take action because as a business, we’ve benefitted from white privilege.”
- Invest with a racial justice lens. Nia Impact Capital released this guide for allocating investments and committing to racial equity. “To have the current crisis become a turning point and a move toward true transformation, investors can—and must—play a significant role.”
- Share your journey and cut ties with those who don’t act. Sea to Sky Removal instituted an anti-racism statement as a commitment to face its own implicit bias through community engagement and training, invited staff for feedback, and committed to ending relationships with partners that do not align. “As Canadians, we are committed to being a part of the reconciliation movement with our Indigenous Canadian brothers and sisters. … Sea to Sky Removal commits to cut ties with customers, partners and suppliers that do not share our commitment to battle racism in all its forms.”
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