A coalition of companies, launched by the Connecticut treasurer and the Ford Foundation, has pledged to address racial economic disparities, both within the firms that signed on and outside in the greater community.
The partnership of 14 firms includes heavyweights in the financial sector representing about $460 billion in market capitalization, the state treasurer’s office said Thursday. Thus far, the group has met virtually twice in August and September.
“Corporate America can and should pull the levers of power they hold to work towards a more just society,” Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden, who oversees a $36 billion portfolio of pension and trust fund assets, said in a statement.
“We have the collective power, leadership, and resources to bring tangible, long-lasting change,” he added.
The Connecticut treasurer first committed to building a coalition of chief executives to address racial inequality in May, when the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd spurred investors to call for change in American businesses. In June, a responsible investing firm said racism is an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) problem.
Firms pledging to make strides toward better racial equality include AllianceBernstein, Bank of America, and BlackRock. Other signatories are hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, Invesco, Franklin Templeton, Goldman Sachs, Schroders, State Street Global Advisors, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America, The Hartford, T. Rowe Price Group, UBS Americas Holding, and Vista Equity Partners.
The group’s members pledged to establish measurable commitments to meet within their organizations and in their greater communities. Within firms, the group said it would increase diversity on the companies’ boards of directors and throughout their workforces, address pay and opportunity differences, ensure the health and safety of workers on the front line, and create pipelines for talent development.
Outside the office, the group said it would commit funds to improve financial wellness in diverse communities, take stakes in minority-owned businesses, and source goods and services from diverse suppliers.