The killing of George Floyd has brought the Black Lives Matter movement into the spotlight once again. It seems – far more than at similar moments in the recent past – people are demanding real change. The social responsibility of businesses must remain high on the agenda. We must take action against the systemic racism and injustices that are deeply rooted in all aspects of life.
While it is common to see companies and brands express support and solidarity, these statements will always have a hollow ring unless they are accompanied by genuine action to correct injustice. Businesses in all sectors are being held accountable for their lack of diversity and representation, and the disparity of pay and promotion opportunities for black employees. In the UK, as in the US, we are being reminded of the damaging and continuing impact of our legacy of slavery and colonialism.
The Black Lives Matter movement is forcing organisations to decide whether and how they take a stand on racism – and in the process they are being confronted with uncomfortable truths about their own policies and practices. Performative activism is being called out by consumers, employees and investors who want to see meaningful and measurable action. We must actively examine our business models, relationships and supply chains to determine what we can do to better black communities and support our black employees.
As we look ahead to the urgent, existential climate change issues that face our planet, we must not forget those in our own communities and across the global south who have been forced into a position of climate vulnerability due to racial inequalities. As early as the 1960s, the environmental justice movement highlighted the disproportionate burdens faced by African American communities, which have been historically been far more likely than majority white neighbourhoods to be situated in close proximity to hazardous waste sites, air pollution hotspots and tainted water supplies. Today’s climate justice movement similarly recognises that black communities across the world are disproportionately suffering from the impacts of climate change. Climate action, therefore, cannot be delivered without also delivering justice.
We must ensure sustainability encompasses all people and ask ourselves what we can do to take the finger off the scale. If we fail to do this, we face the grave likelihood that the transition to a net zero economy will further entrench inequalities, foment social unrest, and continue to deny generations their human rights.
Stay tuned for more on this topic from our Analyst Erika Furbert.
In this month’s edition, our Senior Analyst, Robyn Lockyer explores what a post-Covid world looks like for the fashion industry, assessing how fashion brands and retailers are navigating evolving trends as a result of the pandemic.
This month’s newsletter also includes coverage of two recent webinars we hosted. In the first we heard from Henry Dimbleby, the lead of the National Food Strategy, on how the first major review of our food system in 75 years is evolving and how the pandemic offers an opportunity to rethink our fragile food system. We then debated the current state of waste management reform in the UK with Sebastian Munden, Executive Vice President & General Manager, Unilever UK & Ireland and Ian Wright, Chief Executive, Food & Drink Federation. Both reflected on the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis but also the opportunities to build stronger businesses by creating resilience. This echoes the key themes Lord Deben explored in last month’s article: From emergency to emergence: Building resilience for a real recovery.
We are also pleased to announce a series of five ESG focused webinars we are hosting with the leading law firm, Ashurst, and global environmental consultants, RSK. Keep an eye out for more details. In the meantime please email firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest.
At Sancroft we seek to challenge business to think differently and to make sustainable profits they can be proud of. I hope our insights inform and inspire you to drive change in your organisation, please do get in touch to find out how we can help.