business news in context, analysis with attitude

There are more stories this morning about businesses taking public positions as communities around the country experience anti-racism protests keyed to the Black Lives Matter movement, a direct outgrowth of the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer that was caught on video.

Some examples:

•  The Hill reports that Walmart CEO Doug McMillon has committed $100 million over the next five years that will be used "to create a new center on racial equity" that he said will “seek to advance economic opportunity and healthier living."

McMillon also said Walmart will "ramp up recruitment and support of people of color."

According to the story, "The Walmart CEO laid out several initiatives the company will undertake, including making the recruitment, development and support of African Americans inside the company 'even more of a priority.' The company will also invest in improving fairness, equity and justice in society broadly.

“We will find the natural overlaps between Walmart’s core business and society’s larger needs that perpetuate racism and discrimination,” McMillon wrote, adding, “Specifically, we’re going to focus the power of Walmart on our nation’s financial, healthcare, education and criminal justice systems.”

CNBC reports that McMillon also plans to use his chairmanship of the Business Roundtable to address the issue, and has formed "a special committee to advance racial equality and justice solutions."

The story goes on:

"Business Roundtable will be studying a problem that’s clear, even in its ranks. Like in many C-suites across the U.S., the vast majority of its members are white and male. Only four Fortune 500 companies are led by black chief executives.

"McMillon said companies represented in the Business Roundtable have worked on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Now, though, he said, it’s time to do more.

“'There’s this moment here where the country is experiencing horrendous pain as a result of what happened with George Floyd’s murder and all of us seeing that on TV, but we all know that that was just one isolated event of many,' he said.  'This isn’t about just one tragic event. It’s about what’s happened in our country for a long, long time and what’s happening today.'

"He said corporations’ charitable giving is important, 'but that’s not enough'."

•  Kroger announced that it will create a $5 million fund through its Kroger Foundation that will be used to address issues of diversity and inclusion.

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said in a  video to employees that "We share in feelings of sadness, fear and outrage. We must use our voice to express that we are against racism and injustice against the Black community. We can and we must do better as a company, community and country … It's my responsible to help Kroger be part of the solution." 

•  From Delish:

"A statement from President and CEO of Alberstons Companies Vivek Sankaran 'categorically and unambiguously' condemned racism and brushed off damaged stores in favor of speaking to its customers and employees about race issues.

Sankaran said, "We will fix these stores and be back in business soon, but we have a more important agenda that demands our collective attention immediately."

The story reports that "he went on to say that the company will continue to monitor its diversity and inclusivity policies but that 'workplace policies and procedures are a small part of the solution. Listening with compassion and taking action when it is needed are critical to ensuring that racism and hatred have no place at our company.'

"I am fortunate that I have spent my career at companies where the voices of employees are heard, and as always, we are committed to ensuring that is the case at Albertsons Companies," Sankaran said.

KC's View:

I'm sure I am going to get some grief for that "Right Side Of History" headline.

Which is okay.

I've already gotten some blowback for how I've covered this issue, and the opinions I've expressed.

Which also is okay.

You can see one of the emails I got in "Your Views."  And my response.