Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Following the murder of George Floyd, countless American companies made public commitments towards diversity, equity, and inclusion. Those corporations pledged to spend over $50 billion towards racial equity from June to December of 2020.
Let’s take a look at a company that pledged $25 million towards DEI initiatives in 2020. Costco's CEO released a statement saying “racism, discrimination and harassment are not tolerated at Costco. We remain steadfast in our commitment to fairness and equity for our employees, members and communities.²”
However, In July, employees came forward after being sent home for wearing Black Lives Matter masks while employees who wore pro-police masks were allowed to work³. What changes were implemented after the CEO and Costco made these very public statements and commitments regarding diversity and inclusion?
Costco ranks 14th out of the 48 retail companies that were researched giving them an overall score of 57.7 on issues that matter⁴. But let’s dig a little deeper to see what they’ve actually done to change and create an inclusive workplace.
Management Positions by Race/Ethnicity
White: 63.5% 60.1% of US population + 3.5%
Black: 8.1% 12.5% of US population - 4.4%
Hispanic: 19.3% 18.5% of US population + .8%
Asian: 6.4% 5.8% of US population + .6%
The number of minorities who are at management levels, with the exception of black employees, is above the national population average.
Costco does not seem to have representation issues among their White, Hispanic, and Asian employees. What Costco needs to add is a program to attract and retain Black talent.
All good, Costco. Give us a shout. We have some ideas on how DEI in the workplace and creating an inclusive environment for your employees.
¹Quiroz-Gutierrez, M. (2021, May 6). American companies pledged $50 billion to black communities. most of it hasn't materialized. Fortune. https://fortune.com/2021/05/06/us-companies-black-communities-money-50-billion/.
²Jelinek, C. (2020). “CEO Message”. Costco
³Major, D. (2020, July 13). Costco bans employees from wearing Black Lives Matter face masks. Black Enterprise. https://www.blackenterprise.com/costco-bans-employees-from-wearing-black-lives-matter-face-masks/?test=prebid.
⁴Capital, J. U. S. T. (2021). Costco wholesale corp. JUST Capital. https://justcapital.com/companies/costco-wholesale-corp.
⁵Green, J., Porter , G., Sam, C., & Cannon, C. (2021, March 9). New Data Expose Precisely How White and Male Some U.S. Companies Are. Bloomberg.com. https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/diversity-equality-in-american-business/.