With regard to issues of diversity and inclusion, Lululemon is stepping up.
The Vancouver-based athletic brand is expanding its Diversity, Equity and Action team by hiring a head of global diversity equity and inclusion and committing $5 million annually to fund internal efforts. All employees will participate in anti-racism and anti-discrimination training by September, and voluntary employee-led resource groups will be developed, along with an advisory committee comprised of ambassadors with “diverse knowledge and skill.” In addition, Lululemon aims to hire more diverse employees and influencers going forward.
“The Black Lives Matter movement has acted as a powerful catalyst within our organization. After many real and impactful conversations with our underrepresented employees and our greater community, we heard loud and clear that we need to change behaviors within our own walls to support meaningful, lasting change in the world,” the brand wrote in a statement. “This is by no means the last step. It is just the start.”
To keep itself accountable and demonstrate progress, Lululemon plans to share employee demographic data through an annual impact report, beginning this year. By January, Lululemon will form a new career development program aimed at increasing diversity through its organization, leadership team included. What’s more, the company is beefing up its hiring process in an effort to enforce inclusive practices and eliminate bias. By June 2021, it will begin a global internship program in partnership with educational institutions serving underrepresented communities.
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Further, Lululemon is using its platform to advocate for broader societal change. Its social impact program, Here to Be — which aims to “disrupt inequity in wellbeing through movement, mindfulness, and activism” — will receive an additional $3 million for a total of $7 million in 2020. The $3 million will go toward organizations focused on civil rights and social justice.
Amid a national conversation about race and diversity — sparked following the March 25 killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, by a white police officer — companies across all industries are being called on to reflect on their own practices and to push for positive change. Numerous retailers, including H&M, Puma and Tommy Hilfiger parent PVH Corp., have announced donations to organizations fighting racial injustice. Further, multiple footwear players, including Foot Locker, Walmart, Nike and Adidas, have made multiyear commitments to improve internally, as well as assisting the Black community more broadly.