Oct 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

Top CEOs admit racial divide, promise to work for "real change"

Mike Allen
Illustration of two dollar bills forming an equal sign with a no symbol crossing through them.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In a striking new sign of the broader role corporations are shouldering in society, Business Roundtable — the CEOs of America's biggest companies — today announced a raft of initiatives "to advance racial equity and justice."

Why it matters: Big companies are bluntly admitting, and tackling, injustices they so long ignored and perpetuated.

"Every American has been challenged by the events of this year but not equally," the BRT says. "[C]ommunities of color are bearing a disproportionate burden, widening an already large racial divide in America."

  • "[T]he events of 2020 have illustrated how far we still have to go to ensure that every person can fully realize opportunity and justice in America."

The CEOs are promising to push for "real change" in six areas: employment, finance, education, health, housing and criminal justice.

  • They promise to "make philanthropic investments, update employment practices and innovate within their businesses ... and will continue to engage with policymakers at the federal, state and local level."

Walmart president and CEO Doug McMillon, the Business Roundtable chairman, writes in USA Today:

[I]t's clear we need to do more. It's also clear that we, alone, can’t accomplish what has to be done. It will take broad cooperation of leaders from every sector of society working together.
Go deeper