2020 will go down in history as a defining moment and catalyst in the long fight for social justice. It was a year of awakening for some, acknowledgement for others and activism for many, but above all, it was a year of reckoning. 2020 demanded change.
For some companies, change had been brewing for years. Yet, for many, 2020 put brands on notice – some for the first time. Consumers, employees and other stakeholders charged companies to acknowledge their role in systemic injustices – and actively change the system. Now, it’s time to make good on promises made.
Introducing the 2021 Porter Novelli Business & Social Justice Study
Key findings include:
- Silence has consequences: Six-in-10 (59%) Americans say it is no longer acceptable for companies to be silent on social justice issues and a further 49% say they assume companies that remain quiet on social justice issues don’t care.
- Speaking out is welcome, but it comes with accountability: Two-thirds (66%) say they appreciate when companies they haven’t heard from before join the dialogue, but 60 percent will hold a company accountable when it makes a statement of support around specific social justice issues.
- Corporate communications can normalize topics and drive change: Six-in-10 (60%) are optimistic that as companies begin to address social justice issues, we will see real change – and 62% believe companies can help normalize social justice conversations through their marketing and communications.
- Employees expect more from employers: More than half (58%) of employees today say they hold their employer to a higher standard than other companies when it comes to addressing social justice issues and 43% say they are reconsidering their current job because their company is not doing enough to address social justice issues externally.
The message from a majority of Americans is clear: Silence is no longer an option. Inaction is considered unacceptable. Proof of progress is essential.
As this nation continues its social justice journey, Americans understand that business is a critical part of this process. And, while there is work to be done, Americans are pushing companies because there is vast potential. They see that business can be a force for change – that it has the capability, scale, innovation and ability to create the seismic and systemic shifts that are necessary for the progress needed. Now is the time for business to seize this mandate and take the lead.
Visit our Findings page to download the full study.