Responsible Investment News

We cannot rest on the platitudes of ‘not being racist’

Acknowledging the sincere commitments of some of these organisations, many are at risk of having a collective “Kendall Jenner” moment. The epic gaffe by Pepsi in 2017 featured the reality TV star resolving a protest, which clearly resembled the BLM protests of 2016, by handing a can of Pepsi to an armed riot police officer, effectively diffusing the conflict. The outcry was swift; not only was this a tone-deaf appropriation of a serious social issue, but a warning against marketing departments being tasked with responding to moral challenges.here.

As responsible investors, we must be discerning as to whether our attempts to express solidarity with racial justice are motivated by the opportunity to capitalise on its positive social reputation. What does solidarity with BLM mean for investors beyond a marketing exercise? Do the institutions we work for truly grasp the nuance being asserted by this particular moment?

This crippling of the very economies we are attempting to invest in is not by accident but design; our current economic system carries the genetic code of its predecessor in the colonial slave trade.

Most people, and indeed most investors, would identify as ‘not racist’ or ‘anti-racist’. For the investment community, this claim is often supported with reference to one or more of the following investor actions. But these actions must be assessed through a critical lens if they are to be truly effective.

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