In recognition of record-high levels of inequality, Edelman is among a coalition of 34 leading international companies that have committed to step up business action to advance human rights throughout their value chains, build inclusive workplaces and strengthen inclusion in their internal and external business ecosystems. In doing so, we will advance G7 government-led efforts to strengthen equality of opportunity, tackle regional disadvantages and fight gender discrimination.
B4IG members come from all geographies and cover a broad range of sectors, employ more than 3 million people around the world and have combined annual sales of over $1 trillion USD. The B4IG coalition is the first business-led initiative of its kind. The coalition’s strategy rests on three pillars:
- A Business Pledge Against Inequalities to advance human rights, workplace inclusion & diversity and value chain inclusiveness
- An incubator to design or expand new inclusive business models, piloting social innovation and private-public collaboration at the micro-economic level
- An inclusive growth financing forum to promote innovative financing mechanisms between business, governments and philanthropic actors.
The G7 B4IG coalition will be coordinated by the OECD, whose work has shown that inequalities hamper growth and social mobility. The coalition will benefit from OECD economic and social evaluation expertise as it advances on this agenda over the next three years. Progress and lessons learned will be shared during an annual board meeting, with CEOs and key figures from public and civil society sectors, including the International Labour Organization and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
B4IG results will be shared with the Business 7 and Labor 7, to help inform their preparation and contributions to G7, with a view to foster more inclusive macro-economic growth policies. Richard Edelman, President and Chief Executive Officer at Edelman, said:
“Our twenty year study of trust through the Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that the past two decades have seen a progressive destruction of trust in societal institutions. This is being fueled by powerful forces of economic dislocation and rising inequality. When ‘my employer’ is the most trusted institution and 76 percent of people say that CEOs should take the lead on change rather than wait for government to impose it, the message is clear: Business must lead. Companies have to earn the trust of their stakeholders, by addressing the issues of the day head on. Not only is Edelman playing its part directly, but our 6,000 people in more than 60 offices deliver communications strategies that give our clients the confidence they need to act with certainty. We are proud to be part of this important coalition and excited about the potential it has to have impact at scale to improve society.”
Edelman’s current actions toward inclusive growth include:
- Diversity—Continuing our relentless pursuit of gender equality and diversity/inclusion in the workplace. Our goal is that by 2020, women will hold 50 percent of local senior leadership positions globally. In FY19, women made up 47 percent of local senior leadership positions globally. In the U.S., women made up 50 percent of local senior leadership positions. We have also pledged to reach a racially/ethnically workplace diversity ratio of 30 percent in the U.S. by 2022. In FY19, Edelman achieved a racially/ethnically workplace diversity ration of 27 percent in the U.S.
- Supply Chain— Edelman has a commitment to supplier diversity as part of our sustainable procurement policy. In FY20, the firm will begin implementing a supplier diversity portal solution that will allow Edelman employees to search for diverse business partners providing us the technology platform to achieve 10 percent or more spend with diverse suppliers in priority categories in the U.S.
- Recruiting—This will come at two levels. The first is to continue our efforts to increase the number of minority applicants to Edelman. We are working with the Newhouse School at Syracuse to attract and train African American students. We will be doing the same with the Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) for Hispanic students across U.S. universities. We need to take the same approach outside of the U.S…watch for progress in coming months.
- Training—We aim for continual up-skilling and have trained over 1,300 U.S. employees on “The Power of Inclusion, Diversity and Cross-Cultural Competency” thus far. We will continue to educate our teams across the globe in how to do more purpose-led programming for clients, such as CVS’ withdrawal of cigarettes from its retail shelves.
- Transparency—We publish our annual Citizenship Report on sustainability, with progress on our commitments. We should be doing the same for our clients.
Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organizations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Our 6,000 people in more than 60 offices deliver communications strategies that give our clients the confidence to lead and act with certainty, earning the trust of their stakeholders. Our honors include the Cannes Lions Grand Prix for PR; Advertising Age’s 2019 A-List; the Holmes Report’s 2018 Global Digital Agency of the Year; and, five times, Glassdoor’s Best Places to Work. Since our founding in 1952, we have remained an independent, family-run business. Edelman owns specialty companies Edelman Intelligence (research) and United Entertainment Group (entertainment, sports, lifestyle).