Retail Panelists Discuss Inclusivity Inside and Outside Their Organizations
Open to All and Yelp hosted a panel with leaders from Gap, H&M and The Body Shop to discuss ways to promote inclusivity on Thursday.
Executives with the companies discussed rainbow-washing and inclusivity that goes beyond Pride Month. Rainbow-washing is the act of using rainbow and Pride imagery in advertising while investing a minimal effort in concrete change for the LGBTQ+ community.
The leaders said they believe retailers have a social responsibility to create safe spaces within their companies.
Calla Rongerude, director of Open to All, which is a nonprofit nondiscrimination campaign, said the companies on the panel embodied meaningful change in retail and outside of it in their work.
“I’m really, really pleased that we’re all talking about meaningful, authentic change,” Rongerude said. “I think all of these companies embody it.”
Michele Sizemore, the senior vice president of product development and operations at Gap Inc., said not only was the panel about open discussion but also about using its retail social power for good.
“Being an inclusive company is both a moral and a business imperative: It sends a message to the world that we stand for equality for all and that business can and should be a force for good. And it makes us a better, stronger company that reflects and serves the world in which we operate,” Sizemore wrote in an email after the panel.
During the event, the women discussed change and action on all levels of their companies, including from the associate level to the executive level. Diversity & Inclusion and Supplier Diversity Executive for H&M Donna Dozier Gordon said engaging employees in programs helps companies reach every level when committing to diversity and inclusion.
“It really all starts with building a culture of inclusion,” Gordon said.“If your team members and associates don’t feel commitment is real and genuine, then there’s no way that they’re going to be able to translate that or transmit that to customers.”
Hilary Lloyd, the vice president of marketing and responsibility for The Body Shop,echoed a similar statement, saying her company believes it should exist as a force for good.
“As a collective of retailers,our objective, ideally, should be to use commerce as a platform for committing to social change,” Lloyd said.
The Body Shop’s initiatives center around Pride this year, which Lloyd said is a long-term action that uses Pride to advocate for The Equality Act.
“Our activism campaigns tend to focus on action,” Lloyd said.“So, of course, certainly, we aim to advocate, educate, lend our platform, but perhaps most importantly, our goal is to seek progress and seek action, and most often that’s through policy change in our legislation.”
Sizemore also spoke about inclusivity in the workforce and the company’s Pride group, which she said has over 1,000 participating members.
“We believe that diverse voices are powerful, and it is our responsibility to ensure our employees, customers, and communities represent – and are part of – an inclusive and growing chorus,” Sizemore wrote.
According to Sizemore, the company’s diversity work also includes rigorous activity outside of Pride Month, including signing letters opposing anti-transgender and discriminatory legislation.
Gap Inc. is also involved in the Open to All Pledge, which publicly confirms that workplaces and stores are welcoming spaces for everyone. Each U.S. store also displays the Open to All sticker.
The leaders concluded the panel by committing to acting as an example to other businesses and demonstrating ways smaller businesses can be involved without as much monetary power.
“In order for this to work or to be successful, everyone has to feel like this touches them,” Gordon said. “So, create ways to get everyone feeling like diversity is something that they can attribute to.”
In The News
GLENDALE, Ky. (AP) — Ford and a partner company say they plan to build three major electric-vehicle battery factories and... Read More
GLENDALE, Ky. (AP) — Ford and a partner company say they plan to build three major electric-vehicle battery factories and an auto assembly plant by 2025 — a dramatic investment in the future of EV technology that will create an estimated 10,800 jobs and shift the... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission rescinded its Vertical Merger Guidelines Wednesday signaling the start of what may be a... Read More
WASHINGTON -- The Federal Trade Commission rescinded its Vertical Merger Guidelines Wednesday signaling the start of what may be a ramping up of antitrust efforts by the agency. The guidelines were issued jointly by the FTC and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in 2020. The division... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden was meeting Wednesday with the CEOs of Walt Disney and Columbia Sportswear, and other... Read More
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden was meeting Wednesday with the CEOs of Walt Disney and Columbia Sportswear, and other business executives and leaders leaders to discuss his recently announced vaccine requirement for companies that employ at least 100 people. The White House meeting comes less... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Downtown businesses in the U.S. and abroad once took for granted that nearby offices would provide... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Downtown businesses in the U.S. and abroad once took for granted that nearby offices would provide a steady clientele looking for breakfast, lunch, everyday goods and services and last-minute gifts. As the resilient coronavirus keeps offices closed and workers at home, some... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Two decades after its destruction in the Sept. 11 attacks, the work to rebuild the World... Read More
NEW YORK (AP) — Two decades after its destruction in the Sept. 11 attacks, the work to rebuild the World Trade Center complex remains incomplete. Two planned skyscrapers, a performing arts center and a church are still unfinished at the site, which plays host Saturday to... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Two days after an independent contractor in Illinois received a $20,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan, the Small Business... Read More
WASHINGTON -- Two days after an independent contractor in Illinois received a $20,000 Paycheck Protection Program loan, the Small Business Administration changed a rule governing how a business like his should document the request. Now his loan will not be forgiven, despite completing the application in... Read More