Ambev, Bayer, Movile and Magalu Bet on Institutional Anti-Racism
Brazilian companies invest in programs to expand diversity in the workforce
Marina Filippe, Luísa Granato
The Exame article, “Ambev, Bayer, Movile and Magalu Bet on Institutional Anti-Racism," features findings from the Russell Reynolds Associates paper, “The Time Is Now: How Companies and Leaders Can Join the Fight for Racial Justice." A translated excerpt of the article is below.
When a social movement breaks out in the form of a protest, a new musical style or a fashion trend, superficial analysis often points out that such an event has initiated a profound transformation in the world in which we live. In fact, this phenomenon is usually the visible face of a confluence of tensions, reflections and ideas that were born in small groups and that for a time circulated under the radar until it had the strength to become a current. Like the demonstrations against racial prejudice in the United States.
Since 2017, surveys show that black Americans are 2.5 times more likely to die from police violence than whites, but the problem received attention about four months ago with the assassination of security guard George Floyd in the city of Minneapolis.
In the Brazilian corporate universe, where the social impact of business is gradually gaining prominence, the inclusion of black professionals has never generated as much debate as when Magazine Luiza , the largest retailer in the country, with a market value of 143 billion reais, decided to open a trainee program to attract only black and brown youth in September.
However, the project is the result of years of study and elaboration of diversity policies in an environment of collective construction of knowledge. It emerged to the extent that, like the beverage manufacturer Ambev, the pharmaceutical company Bayer and the holding company Movile technology, Magalu realized that it was no use simply saying that he was welcoming the black people interested in joining the staff with open arms. This is the mistake that most companies that wish to promote racial inclusion make.
A survey by Russell Reynolds Associates consultancy revealed that, in the three weeks following Floyd's assassination, about 75% of major American companies made some effort to respond to calls for racial justice.
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