Why the fight against racism must be part of the Decade of Action

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  • We have a moral and economic imperative to eliminate systemic racism and racial injustices.
  • The World Economic Forum and the GHR Foundation have launched a new partnership to advance racial and social justice, starting within our organizations.
  • From September 20 to 23, the Sustainable Development Impact Summit explores how multi-stakeholder partnerships can shape a sustainable, inclusive and just recovery.

The past 18 months have changed much of what was considered “business as usual” around the world. To be more precise, they shed light on deep inequalities that have plagued humanity for centuries – economic, gender and racial injustices, included.

Our world could see its first billionaire in 25 years, as one in nine people go to bed hungry every night. Low-income groups, Black, Indigenous and Colored Women and Communities (BIPOCs) have borne the brunt of pandemic downturns, with many social advances in previous decades showing worrying signs of reversal.

If there is a silver lining to this global crisis, it is that inequity is finally at the center of global political debates. “Leave no one behind” is the rallying cry of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the 10th Sustainable Development Goal aims to reduce inequalities based on income, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, race, class, ethnicity, religion and opportunity.

Just as we regard the elimination of inequalities as a moral imperative, so do our common economic interests. For example, in the United States, it is estimated that racism costs the American economy at least $ 1 trillion per year in lost consumption and investment. Systemic racism isn’t exclusive to the United States, and neither is the opportunity to realize everyone’s full potential at this pivotal time.

By closing the racial wealth gap, US GDP could grow 4-6% by 2028

Racism is estimated to cost the US economy at least $ 1,000 billion a year.

Image: McKinsey & Company

How can multi-stakeholder partnerships help implement the actions, policies and partnerships necessary to shape a sustainable, inclusive and just recovery that targets the needs of BIPOC and marginalized groups, thereby benefiting all?

As part of this year’s Sustainability Impact Summit, we will explore this issue and three broad areas of inequity:

  • relaunch and transform the metrics of economic success,
  • improve both the quality and quantity of jobs and
  • advance education, skills and learning opportunities.

Progress in all three areas hinges on improving efforts related to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DCI) and broader social justice, which is discussed in the session “Tackling Inequities in. a Decade of Action ”.

To this end, we are delighted to embark on a new partnership between our two organizations – the World Economic Forum and GHR Foundation, a global philanthropic organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States.

We know that race takes different forms in different cultural contexts, but racism – especially discrimination against Blacks and Browns – remains persistent and pervasive in every community, country and continent. If we are to deal effectively with injustice and racial inequality, we must first name and recognize them. Only then can barriers to inclusion of marginalized groups be removed in the global systems, organizations, and diverse communities we serve.

In May 2020, the movement for black lives was revived around the world. It has become a catalyst for many organizations, including the Forum and GHR, to reflect on and highlight the inequalities that exist both outside and inside our organizations.

Professionals of color and minority ethnicity continue to face racial injustice and inequity in the workplace, and they have been severely under-represented in leadership. For example, there have only been 15 black CEOs in the Fortune 500’s 62 year history, and currently only 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are black.

Currently, 1% of Fortune 500 CEOs are black.

Image: Statista

To design racially just workplaces, organizations must confront racism on a systemic level – addressing everything from the structural and social mechanisms of their own organizations to the role they play in the communities in which they operate and the economy. in general.

As leaders of learning organizations, we recognize how much we don’t know. Nonetheless, we embark on this new collaboration – a collaboration that will center racial and social justice across multiple Forum teams, platforms and issues – embracing the discomfort of not knowing and a commitment to learning and action. .

Together, with values-driven business leaders, governments and civil society leaders, we intend to build on the global movement to advance racial and social justice by developing and presenting new models, integrating public-private partnerships and actions and engaging communities in meaningful collaborations. We already have 60 large multinational corporations from around the world committed to fundamentally changing their perception of race within their companies, such as the way they hire, treat employees, think about their supply chains and more generally envision their strategies.

We believe this is just the start of an exciting journey. We invite you to learn and take action with us.


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