The global coronavirus pandemic has brought the imperative for businesses to integrate social impact into their core operations and company mission into even sharper relief. The murder of George Floyd, and the subsequent mass protests, narrowed this focus onto justice. Business engagement on this issue isn’t just the right thing to do. It’s critical to their survival. 77% of the U.S. population say that it’s deeply important that companies respond to racial justice if they want to earn (or keep) their trust.
But they can’t just talk. After the explosive growth of the Black Lives Matter movement in June last year, almost every corporation immediately released a statement in support. For many however, backlash accusations of ‘performative allyship’ were just as swift. In a recent Edelman survey, less than half of the respondents (44%) felt the business community had taken concrete action to address racial justice.
It is clear that businesses have to back up their vocal support with meaningful action. But how can companies effectively and authentically engage on these issues? What practical steps can they take to fulfil a sincere commitment to racial and social equality? Most importantly, how can they create real change?
RBIJ works with companies to champion fairness, equality and effectiveness across systems of punishment and incarceration. As a human rights lawyer who has spent my career fighting for those most disadvantaged by broken criminal justice systems, I experienced the staggering inequality and unfairness first-hand and made it my mission to change it by founding RBIJ.
Since founding in 2017, we have partnered with businesses to create policy and deliver legislative reform. From international media campaigns to state-level private advocacy, we have worked to shift the narrative around criminal justice issues, and the role that corporations can play in fixing them.
Businesses are powerful catalysts for change. When companies use their social capital and big platforms for education and leverage, they create impact. Over the next year, we will deliver a series of articles and events to show the amazing businesses leading the charge in this fight – and how you can get involved.
Reimagining Justice will bring together diverse voices from around the world – in a year-long series of op-eds, interviews, profiles and events – to show how corporations can deliver meaningful, measurable and enduring change in our justice systems.
To explore practical steps you can take to fight for fair and equal justice systems, please check out our toolkit HERE
See some of our work so far on criminal justice related issues, here.