“Racism continues to be prevalent in our societies. We must raise our voices against all expressions of racism and instances of racist behaviour. We urgently need to dismantle racist structures and reform racist institutions.” — UN Secretary-General António Guterres (May 2020)

Racism does not exist in a vacuum. Today’s most sustainable companies know that diversity is a strength, not a weakness. To pave the way towards real change, all of society — Governments, the private sector, civil society, academia, local authorities and more — must work together to reduce inequalities, strengthen social protection systems, eliminate all forms of discrimination and provide equal opportunities. This makes clear the critical importance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, ensuring no one is left behind.

The Ten Principles of the United Nations Global Compact provide a universal framework for the business community to embed human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption deep into strategies and operations. Rooted in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our human rights principles specifically call on business to support and respect the protection of internationally proclaimed human rights and make sure that they are not complicit in human rights abuses. The corporate responsibility to respect and support human rights is critical to eliminate all forms of racism.

There is an urgent need for leadership in recognizing and pushing back against systemic racism everywhere. The UN Global Compact is urging business leaders to speak up and use their influence to root out systemic racism and stand in solidarity with those facing injustice.

Anti-Racist Actions

Businesses can take specific anti-racist actions to reject injustices and support marginalized groups. Here are three things your business can do right now:

  • Speak up and take action: Be vocal in advocating for the elimination of discrimination and inequalities and respect and support human rights. Ensure your company's statements are backed up by stronger policies, investments and actions that systematically tackle racism and inequalities.
  • Educate and show leadership from the top: Chief Executive Officers and those in leadership positions in your business should educate themselves using available anti-racist resources and encourage employees throughout your operations — from the C-suite down — to do the same. Provide anti-racist trainings on racial justice, inequality and discrimination.
  • Invest in Black people and other marginalized people of colour: Commit to closing the opportunity gap through education, internships and employment. Donate to anti-racist organizations that work to undo institutionalized racism through policy engagement, advocacy and training.

Stay Informed

Black Lives Matter and Business Webinar Series
Organized by Global Compact Network UK, the series convenes a diverse group of expert guest speakers to provide insights on how different organizations can apply learnings from the Black Lives Matter movement to their own workplaces. The series considers the local context in the United Kingdom but offers perspectives and information relevant to companies around the world. 

The 2020 webinar series focused specifically on the anti-racist actions for business in the workplace, including where to start, recruitment, retention, advancement and changing corporate culture. The 2021 series shifted to anti-racist actions for business in the marketplace, covering ESG investing, products and services, marketing and communications, and supply chains.

What else you can do
News and updates

Colleen Connors
Senior Manager, Human Rights and Decent Work

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