At the beginning of this year, 2020 was dubbed the start of a Decade of Action: a global effort dedicated towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs.) In many ways, this year has been a catalyst of change, although not exactly in the way it was intended.
As a result of the the fight against racial inequality, as well as the deepening effects of the Coronavirus pandemic in minority communities, we’re now entering a new era of responsibility and accountability among brands, companies, and consumers.
If the recent protests have indicated anything, it’s that inequalities are institutionalized in every level of society. The growing corporate engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement reflects a shift in public attitudes towards racial justice, ongoing pressures externally from consumers, and internally from employees.
This also means that companies are expected not only to show support for global concerns but to enact meaningful measures that address these challenges. As a result, many companies, from the beauty industry to technology, are now facing ongoing criticism due to company practices, like workplace diversity and corporate investments.
This highlights a shift in society, where companies are required to move beyond giving donations to figuratively put their money where their mouth is and invest in actions that create a more equitable world.
For example, after the social protests against systemic racism, major technology companies are now setting concrete plans to increase diversity within their workforces.
Why is this important? This doesn’t only apply to racial justice issues. The growing focus on corporate social responsibility means that companies will have a bigger role to play on every issue.
As corporate social responsibility becomes integral for companies and consumers, this growing expectation will lead to companies playing a bigger role in enacting solutions. It is entirely possible that we may see further corporate involvement around issues that are highlighted by the SDGs like climate change, health care, and more.
As we move forward in the Decade of Action, we can expect to see a vastly different landscape where corporations take more initiative.