WPP announces raft of actions, resources to fight racism
WPP has unveiled a raft of actions and commitments it says will help it combat and address racial injustice and support Black and minority ethnic talent.
It has also announced that it will invest $30 million over the next three years to fund inclusion programmes within WPP and to support external organizations.
To bolster its new resolve, WPP has also launched The 12 actions in the “Call For Change” letter which has commitments ranging from investment in the career paths of Black employees and a measurable commitment to improving Black representation in senior management, to wage equity plans for people of colour and mandatory anti-racism training for leaders and HR employees.
According to the advertising, communication and media giant, its agencies have already taken or are in the process of taking many of the actions which will be implemented throughout the organization on an accelerated timescale.
This will include setting targets, tracking the progression of under-represented groups and publishing racial diversity data. This will be underpinned by a comprehensive review of our policies, processes and practices so that they elevate Black talent and never stifle it.
The company further promising to use its platform to enlighten, educate and inspire action by engaging with clients, partners, industry bodies, event organizers and suppliers to ensure that Black and minority ethnic talent is fairly represented work, industry and wider networks. It has also promised to only participate in events or panels where people of colour are represented, while identifying and putting forward people of colour as speakers at events to proactively raise their visibility in line with the pledge its CEO Mark Read recently ago not to participate in male-only panels.
To support these initiatives, WPP has announced $10 million a year over the next three years and further committed to make donations, offer services pro bono and work with its media partners to support charities and other organizations committed to fighting racism, developing minority talent and addressing issues that affect Black and ethnic minority communities. WPP will also match employee donations to charities selected in consultation with its WPP Roots steering committee up to $1,000 per person, to a total of $1 million.
It further says that its Global Inclusion Council will work with Mark Read and the WPP Executive Committee to ensure that the said commitments are met. Advising the Council will be a taskforce dedicated to advancing the opportunities and interests of Black colleagues specifically.
The leaders of WPP’s global agency networks have each signed up to these commitments and will be held accountable for delivering them within their businesses.
Mark Read, CEO, WPP: “Over the last three weeks, I have heard an outpouring of pain, anger and frustration from Black colleagues, along with clear demands for change. This is the moment to embrace that change, and to use our creativity, our scale and our influence to make a difference in the fight against racism. WPP must support and elevate Black employees, and those from other under-represented groups, not as a diversity and inclusion initiative but as a business and moral imperative.”