NEW YORK, United States — Estée Lauder plans to hire more black employees, buy more from black-owned businesses and expand diversity training programs after employees raised concerns about race relations within the company.
Top executives at one of the world’s largest cosmetics businesses said they “stand in solidarity with our black employees, black consumers and black communities and firmly believe black lives matter,” according to a memo seen by Bloomberg News. The letter outlined a lengthy list of steps to diversify the company’s workforce and ensure equal opportunities.
“Some of these actions will be immediate, others will take some time, but all will be impactful,” Executive Chairman William Lauder and Chief Executive Officer Fabrizio Freda wrote in the memo to staff.
A spokesperson for Estée Lauder declined to comment.
As part of the pledge, the company will boost donations to $10 million over three years to the NAACP and other racial equality organizations, a significant hike from the $1 million commitment management made last week.
The moves come after a group of more than 100 employees sent a letter to the chairman calling for the removal of family heir and board member Ronald Lauder over his support of President Donald Trump. They said his high-profile involvement in the company puts a strain on race relations within the company. Lauder donated at least $1.6 million to pro-Trump organizations since rejoining the Estée Lauder board in 2016, according to federal disclosures.
Estée Lauder’s senior management made several commitments to diversify the company’s workforce in the memo, sent Monday. Executives plan to reach U.S. population parity for black employees at all levels of the organizations within the next five years.
To help get there, it will require diverse slates of job candidates for executive positions and also partner with black organizations such as the National Black MBA Association for recruiting. It will also double entry-level hires from historically black colleges and universities. As for current workers, the business is making unconscious bias training mandatory for all full-time employees in the U.S. and will provide more training for managers on racial issues in the workplace. Store workers will get diversity training for interacting with diverse shoppers as well, including training on different hair types.
The cosmetics company has also committed to more than double sourcing from black-owned businesses over the next three years and expand product lines to include more shades and formulas.
By: Kim Bhasin