The 2021 Fortune 500 list will include companies’ self-reported diversity, equity, and inclusion data (DEI), which users will be able to sort and rank, the publication announced in an October 26 press release.

As Fortune notes, the DEI findings will likely highlight a lack of corporate diversity. That shouldn’t come as a surprise: despite many companies citing DEI as important, a September 16 report from Forrester finds many companies have “consistently failed” to make it a priority.

Recently, some industry leaders — including Starbucks, Facebook, and Uber — have begun tying DEI goals to executive performance reviews, a practice that’s currently in place at an estimated 15 to 20 per cent of S&P 500 companies.

“Companies frequently make commitments about diversity and inclusion, and about rethinking who rises and who leads in their workplaces,” Fortune says in a statement.

“But very few companies report metrics on how well they’re executing on these commitments. The corporate world desperately needs public disclosure of such measurements, which will help companies set benchmarks, encourage high-performing companies to reach higher, and prompt companies lagging in these areas to step up.”

Fortune says it has partnered with financial market data firm Refinitiv to generate “data-driven insights and in-depth conversations” on inclusive leadership, anti-racism initiatives, and the racial wealth gap.

Fortune CEO Alan Murray says the initiative is important, because “what gets measured gets managed.”

“Until companies commit to measuring and disclosing their diversity data, it will be hard to make progress,” he says in a statement.



Recent professional and academic interest in DEI initiatives is, to put it mildly, through the roof. 

Educational technology company Skillsoft, for example, is reporting a whopping 1269 per cent increase in enrollment for its course on unconscious bias training and a 1059 per cent increase in interest for its course on the value of diversity in the workplace

The shift towards diversity initiatives is welcome, given that “boys clubs” persist in business and academia, and could be keeping well-deserving and more-than-qualified people from historically-excluded groups out of leadership roles.


But, as we’ve said many times before, organizations rushing to establish anti-racism protocols must make sure their intentions are thoughtful, impactful, and meaningful.

If not, they are at risk of becoming “performative allies” — a term used to describe surface-level activism that does not bring lasting change but allows the perpetrator to feel good about their actions.

Performative allyship often comes in the form of vague statements about injustice. These statements feel hollow because they usually lack self-awareness, accountability, or any understanding of the deep-rooted, systemic issues that made the Black Lives Matter movement necessary in the first place.

The world is watching how companies and academia begin to correct track records that are, for the most part, historically uninclusive. Here’s hoping a greater spotlight on discrimination will be a step toward ending biased practices.

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