We must foster resilient and just societies in order to solve the major challenges that face the world. So, systemic racism and barriers to equity must be embedded into the sustainability equation and conversation.
At Sustainable Brands™, our mission is to inspire, engage, and equip business leaders and practitioners to work together to create a flourishing future for all. Sadly, we’re a long way from flourishing. Not only have communities of color in the US been subjected to criminally inadequate environmental standards and protections for decades, the ramp-up of violence and human rights abuses against Blacks, often at the hands of police — culminating most recently in the senseless murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Atatiana Jefferson, to name just a few — makes the concept of “flourishing” seem ludicrous. Systemic racism and barriers to equity must be embedded into the sustainability equation and conversation.
We are struggling with the interrelated symptoms of deeper problems that will not be solved without strong commitment and action from those already in power — including our team and many in our community, who are hearing this message. We are each being charged with accepting, unpacking and understanding some uncomfortable truths about ourselves and our society at large. We recognize that have a lot of work and catching up to do, and it’s not always clear how to do it.
We must foster resilient and equitable societies in order to solve any major challenge that faces the world. Our work must be for both people and planet. And we live in a racially unjust system, replete with unconscious bias; so, we must be active in our unlearning of so many things, especially those of us steeped in privilege.
As a company whose mission it is to deliver a flourishing future for all, we have not done a good enough job of amplifying all voices. Our job right now is to listen, learn and amplify those who are not being heard — especially voices of color, which have long been absent from the sustainability conversation.
Specifically, we're committing to:
- Highlight POC voices: We’re putting out a call out for Black and brown writers, entrepreneurs, dreamers, innovators and business owners to submit articles, speaking nominations and any other requests to use our community and platform, so that we can amplify their stories and voices.
- Balance representation: At our live and virtual events, we are committing to representing Black people and communities of color in a much broader way — including through sponsorship of attendance, speaking engagements and storytelling, in which our community shines.
- Broaden the discussion: We are putting together a series of honest conversations on racial inclusion, diversity and equity within our community — and within the sustainability movement at large (details forthcoming).
- Look in the mirror: The SB team is taking a long, hard look at ourselves, our organization and our initiatives in order to make meaningful steps toward creating a culture of racial equity.
- Learn, continuously: The Sustainable Brands team is curating a list of anti-racism books and other resources to read, share and discuss.
The role of business in the racial justice and equity movement
Hear more from some of the organizations, large and small, that are taking authentic action and making long-term, systemic commitments to creating diverse, equitable workforces at Just Brands '21 — May 11-12.
As part of our mission to help deliver a flourishing future for all, we offer our community to you as a place to lean into the hard work and to unpack the uncomfortable truths. We pledge to be a place of transparency, encouragement and inspiration for you — and to walk the road to justice and a regenerative, flourishing future together.