Last week, we faced up to an uncomfortable truth.
In spite of our wholehearted commitment to our mission, to use the power of communications to drive positive social and environmental change, as a business we had failed to act on racism.
Black Lives Matter has brought the concept of anti-racism into mainstream consciousness. This is a truly historic moment in time, a new frontier. People in the future will look back and ask, what did you do?
And what were we doing? Nothing.
A courageous colleague held us to account, posing three questions to the team:
- Is this at the top of the agenda here?
- Are you working to put it there?
- Are you holding yourselves accountable?
She reminded us that everyone – every individual and every business – has the opportunity to become a pioneer in anti-racism.
While it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, and harder still to reflect on the reasons for your inertia, it’s also cathartic. And necessary.
The challenge was duly acknowledged and accepted by everyone – and we will rise to it.
We will do what we do best, working together as a team to drive positive change – both internally, to improve as a business, and externally, to support the movement.
We cannot have climate justice without racial equality.
We spend much of our working lives saying now is the time for action on climate change – we cannot ignore that now is the time for action on anti-racism too.
For climate action to be successful and get the buy-in it needs across society and the world, it has to be perceived to be fair for everyone. This is not true today,
Indeed, the climate crisis by its definition is racist, as people of colour are disproportionately affected by its impacts, from extreme weather events to air pollution. If we are serious about pioneering climate justice, we must also pioneer racial justice.
The first step, as many others have already acknowledged, is education. We cannot profess to understand the outpouring of hurt we are witnessing, following generations of insidious bias and bigotry. But we can commit to listen and to learn.
We will draw on our networks and forge new partnerships in our quest for knowledge, inviting experts to help us understand the complexities of the issues and challenge long-standing beliefs. We will use these learnings to educate our own team as well as our clients, our partners and the industry at large.
And when we have a better understanding, we will take action. Sustained, meaningful action, to create real change.
We will look at every aspect of our business which, until now, has operated naively in the belief that by treating everyone equally, we were being inclusive. We now know that is not enough.
Our team must reflect the society that we live in.
Diverse voices unlock creativity, empathy, learning, discovery and so much more.
That means taking a long hard look at our recruitment processes and consciously eschewing bias and privilege, both prevalent in an outdated system that values educational attainment and linear career paths above all else.
As well as creating change within our own organisation, we also want to look outside and use our voice, our community and our work to inspire change.
Like many others, spanning fashion to film, we acknowledge that there is systemic racism within the environmental sector.
We will use our channels to celebrate black environmentalists, tell their stories and amplify their voices. We will champion the need for racial equality to be part of the climate justice movement.
Black Lives Matter.
We stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
We know there is a long way to go. But today, we make a commitment to change. We will call others to account and we will address racism in every aspect of our lives.
This is the start, and we are travelling together. We believe our collective energy can and will make a difference. If you would like to join us on our journey, please get in touch. We are ready to listen, and we know there is so much to say.