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JUST Capital has updated its Corporate Racial Equity Tracker. Would your company make the cut?

June 7, 2022, 9:24 PM UTC

Last week, JUST Capital released the 2022 update to its Corporate Racial Equity Tracker, which began tracking the DEI commitments, actions, and disclosures of the 100 largest employers in the U.S. in 2021. There are some interesting insights in there.

The tracker gets granular in some fascinating ways (I find their focus on addressing the carceral state to be particularly enlightened). It examines 23 metrics across six dimensions of racial equity: Pay equity, disclosure of diversity data, education and training programs, response to mass incarceration, and effective anti-discrimination policies.

Here’s the good news.

  • Workforce diversity data disclosure increased by 6% from 86% to 91%.
  • Board diversity data disclosure increased by 13% from 84% to 95%.
  • Racial/ethnic pay equity analysis disclosure increased by 33% from 34% to 45%.

Here’s the not-so good news about the companies surveyed:

  • 7% disclose their internal hire (or promotion) rate by race/ethnicity.
  • 9% disclose a local supplier/small business spend amount.
  • 11% report re-entry or second chance policies.
  • 14% report funding local public schools.
  • 21% report providing anti-harassment training, compared to 98% of companies that disclose an anti-harassment policy.
  • 22% disclose the actual results of the pay equity analysis, i.e. pay ratios by race/ethnicity.
  • 23% disclose diversity targets for hiring, workforce composition, promotion, or retention by race/ethnicity.
  • 36% disclose anti-prison labor policies for their suppliers, while only 14% disclose anti-prison labor policies in their own operations.
  • 42% disclose a supplier diversity spend amount.

That’s a lot of work to do.

I recently caught up with Martin Whittaker, CEO of JUST Capital, for an upcoming episode of Fortune’s Leadership Next podcast. He explained that the tracker was the result of an effort to answer the big question facing all employers: How to embed real equity into all aspects of the business. “When you poll the American people, it’s pretty clear that the vast majority of people believe that companies should do more on equity, they should be promoting a more diverse and equitable workplace,” he says. “And so, the question was, what does that mean? How do companies actually do that?” Collectively, the results are all over the place he says. “But here’s your playbook. Here’s how you benchmark yourselves.”

According to the tracker, four employers stood out for their equity disclosures and other key initiatives — Accenture, Intel, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Target, the latter of which got high marks for their work to “connect racial equity issues back to socioeconomic inequities.”

Whittaker says that the changing relationship between business and society has elevated the conversation. “I talked to CEOs and other business leaders all the time…and I’ve noticed a lot more empathy, and people who have had their assumptions challenged probably by COVID, and have been more courageous [and talking publicly] about why they’re investing in greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.”

Learn more about the results of the Corporate Racial Equity Tracker here.

If you’re a DEI practitioner (or care about one) here is another resource that might help your firm get on the right side of the tracker.

On Thursday, June 9, Fortune is hosting an event with Credit Karma on pay equity, bias and employee retention. Experts will be Marissa Andrada, chief diversity, inclusion, and people officer, Chipotle; Colleen McCreary, chief people, places and publicity officer, Credit Karma; and Angela E. Guy, chief diversity and inclusion officer, North America, L’Oréal. My colleague Maria Aspan will lead the conversation. Register for Bridging the Pay Equity Gap here.

Ellen McGirt

This edition of raceAhead was edited by Ashley Sylla.

On point: Pride Month

We start this season under a particularly dark cloud, as legislative attacks on LGBTQ rights and wellbeing have been on the rise.

The Equality Federation has an in-depth tracking tool that follows state-level legislative action on issues relating to discrimination, transgender youth, access to affirming health care, HIV, and curriculum fights.

In 2021, nearly 400 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in legislatures across the U.S.

Despite years of lobbying and advocacy efforts, the federal Equality Act has not been passed. Updating the language of the legislation would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in the workplace, school, housing, public accommodation, and in other areas—like jury service or retail settings. It would go a long way to protect the LGBTQ residents of the 29 U.S. states that still allow for discrimination based on sexual or gender identities.

That said, corporate America has stepped up in a big way.

Some 500 employers, 160 of which are in this year's Fortune 500, have now joined the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act.

There is also untapped bipartisan support for the legislation.

Last October, a survey conducted by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), found that 82% of Americans support LGBTQ+ protections in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. More, some 67% of Republicans, 85% of Independents, and 92% of Democrats are in favor of nondiscrimination laws.

Stay tuned.

On Background

Buying the plantation that once enslaved your elders If you needed proof that slavery was not that long ago, this story will set you straight. Fred Miller had no idea that the home he bought to accommodate his large (and joyous) family gatherings in rural Virginia was a former plantation once known as Sharswood. Miller, who now lives in California, got a call from his little sister about a new for-sale sign in front of the “big house up the road” from where they grew up. You know, the one we walked by every day going to school? The house, built in 1850, is living history, once the headquarters for a 1,300-acre tobacco plantation and a dilapidated outbuilding which turns out to be one of the best preserve quarters for enslaved people still standing. The rest of the story, one of genealogy, research, and detective work, is worth your time. Bring tissues. [hat tip: Jonathan Dunnett]
60 Minutes

A look back at the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots It was only three years ago, but feels like a lifetime. In this in-depth Q&A, Newsweek asked Michael Bronski, professor of the Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality at Harvard University, to explain how the LGBTQ civil rights movement started and why Stonewall matters. The first movements in the 1950s provided emotional, social, and legal support for gay men and lesbians, but by June 1969, things became more militant. It was “a more militant era—in which gay people demanded respect and equality, rather than asking for it, or trying to educate the heterosexual population,” says Bronski. “The movement did not call for “equality” per se, but rather argued for wide-scale social change that would eliminate many of the factors that caused inequality, such as heterosexism, misogyny, racism, and poverty.”

Parting words

"The primary objective of the subcommittee in this inquiry was to determine the extent of the employment of homosexuals and other sex perverts in Government; to consider reasons why their employment by the Government is undesirable; and to examine into the efficacy of the methods used in dealing with the problem…In the opinion of this subcommittee homosexuals and other sex perverts are not proper persons to be employed in Government for two reasons; first, they are generally unsuitable, and second, they constitute security risks."

Interim Report submitted to the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Departments by its Subcommittee on Investigations pursuant to S. Res. 280 (81st Congress), 1950.

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