For this month’s spotlight, we are celebrating a global communications agency, and Responsible Business Initiative for Justice (RBIJ) ally, putting purpose – and justice – at the heart of corporations. Porter Novelli was born from the idea that communication can advance society. It is the belief that companies must stand for something more than what they sell, and will in turn attract, engage and inspire stakeholders.
The events of last year revealed that corporate engagement on systemic racism and social injustice is no longer just the right thing to do – it is existential. This has been reflected in commitments – thousands of companies released statements of support following George Floyd’s murder, and corporate donations to racial justice initiatives increased from $3.38bn during 2011-2019 to $8bn in 2020 alone.
But commitments must be backed by meaningful action. The 2021 Porter Novelli Business & Social Justice Study revealed just how crucial it was that companies use their voice. Six in ten Americans say it’s no longer acceptable for companies to be silent on social issues, and half of them say that if a company doesn’t speak out, they assume they don’t care. The broken criminal justice system is one of the most urgent social issues facing an American generation, and it’s clear that silence is no longer an option.
To meet this need, Porter Novelli launched their Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) Advisory Service to help businesses actively confront issues of inequality and drive inclusion within their organisations and in greater society. Conroy Boxhill, Porter Novelli’s Managing Director for North America and Co-Chair of their JEDI Advisory Service writes:
“2020 clearly exposed many historic wrongs and systemic faults within our society, and it was also a reality check for many organisations. If a company is not embedding justice, equity, diversity and inclusion into the core of its business, it’s behind the game – and consumers, employees and other stakeholders stand ready to hold them to account.”
Porter Novelli’s Advisory Services consultants help clients across all industries address JEDI with authenticity and intention. From leading assessments, benchmarking, training sessions, and strategy development, to developing social justice programs and providing reputation management consulting – a seasoned group of experts work closely with clients to pull JEDI throughout their business.
Conroy Boxhill is a senior communications executive with more than 20 years of experience helping brands build and protect their reputation. In his current role as EVP and Managing Director, Conroy leads a high-performing team of communicators who partner with clients to advance commercial interest while making a positive impact on society.
As the global pandemic and fight for racial justice emerged a focal point for companies in 2020, Conroy helped launch Porter Novelli’s JEDI Advisory Services to guide clients on executing purpose-driven activities. In 2015, he was named one of PR Week’s 40 under 40 brand champions for outstanding professional achievement in the industry. His incredible career features, among his many accomplishments: crisis managing a potentially explosive racial controversy at the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks; successfully blocking alterations to the New York skyline; and helping to launch the Tribeca Film Festival.
For some companies, change had been brewing for years. Yet, for many, 2020 put brands on notice – some for the first time. Consumers, employees and other stakeholders charged companies to acknowledge their role in systemic injustices – and actively change the system. Now, it’s time to make good on promises made.” Porter Novelli Business & Social Justice Study, May 2021.
RBIJ is honoured to work with Porter Novelli and Conroy as they continue to help companies be a force for good in society and tackle issues of injustice and inequity – including their own role in systemic racism.