After murder of black man in one of its stores and protests, Carrefour supercenter creates diversity and inclusion committee
Note from BBT: So, I’m totally shocked by this move. NOT! You can’t really get more formulaic than this. After some controversy goes down in which a company’s image is sullied in public opinion, it immediately goes into damage control mode. This is basically the strategy the French-based supercenter Carrefour is putting forward after a 40-year black man was murdered by security guards contracted by the company. On November 19th, the day before the national Day of Black Consciousness across Brazil, João Alberto Silveira Freitas was beaten, slammed to the ground and suffocated after one of the security agents kneeled on his back for four minutes.
After the news of the murder hit the news, there were protests all across Brazil, some of which became violent. The general sentiment of the black population was that black men, women and children have been followed around, harrassed, beaten and killed by security guards and police agents for decades and people are reaching the end of their collective rope with what seems to be unwritten policy on dealing with black and brown people. Whether we’re talking in supermarkets, banks or even in the streets, black and brown Brazilians are far more likely to be approached, stopped, treated aggressively, hurt or killed by security agents of the state or business establishments that those considered white.
As businesses in many ways seem to put the interest of their bottom line over their customers, Carrefour clearly wants to get this situation under control after there have been calls for boycotting the company. The script for damage control is actually quite familiar. Put some money on the table, promise/claim that changes will be made and contract some well-known, respected figures in the black community in an attempt to gain the trust and forgiveness of the community.
As I’ve seen such tactics being used in the US for years, I know the routine quite well. I will explore this a little more in a coming post, but for now, I just wanted readers to know the latest on this situation.
Carrefour creates diversity and inclusion committee
After announcing that it would create a BRL 25 million fund to combat structural racism, the group communicates its first initiatives
After all the repercussions of the beating and death of João Alberto Silveira Freitas in a store in Porto Alegre and of announcing on Monday, 25, that it would create a fund of BRL 25 million aimed at initiatives to combat structural racism in Brazil, in actions involving both its 72,000 employees and external audiences, Carrefour announced on Wednesday night, 25, the creation of an External Committee of Free Expression on Diversity and Inclusion.
Part of the group that will advise the company on guidelines and actions against racism in all units of the chain are several prominent names in the black Brazilian community: former CEO of companies Pandora and Lacoste, Rachel Maia, entrepreneur and creator of Feira Preta (black expo) Adriana Barbosa, entrepreneur/activist Celso Athayde, professor Silvio Almeida, historian Anna Karla da Silva Pereira, lawyer Mariana Ferreira dos Santos, cartoonist/magazine editor Maurício Pestana, President of the Locomotiva Research Institute Renato Meirelles and diversity consultant Ricardo Sales.
Right away, the committee indicated to the company, as a sign of respect for the death of João Alberto, to keep all Carrefour stores closed until 2 pm, on Thursday, 26, with their re-opening after a minute of silence – the exception being the shop where the death occurred, in the Passos D’Areia district of Porto Alegre, which will remain closed throughout the day. In addition, all profits from the 26th and 27th will be reverted to actions guided by the Committee, added to the BRL 25 million already announced and the sales result of the 20th of November, which was the National Day of Black Consciousness. Freitas was murdered on the previous day.
The following is a list of measures prepared by the Committee and which will be put into practice by the Carrefour Group in Brazil, which stated that it will go public in 15 days, with more detailed actions on the topic:
1. Adopt a policy of zero tolerance to racism and discrimination for reasons of race and ethnicity, origin, social status, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability and religion at Carrefour and throughout its value chain, as established in Federal Constitution and in different Brazilian laws and in international agreements recognized and signed by the country. A clause to combat racism will be inserted in all contracts with suppliers and, if the fact is proven, its non-compliance will imply a breach of the contract. Suppliers that already have this clause in the contract will be valued.
2. Immediately start the radical transformation of Carrefour’s security model, internalizing the teams of the three stores in the city of Porto Alegre with the support of ICTS Brasil, a company specializing in the transformation of private security, and establishing strict recruitment and training rules to deeply transform the security team, with guidance and support and in partnership with recognized organizations of the black movement in combating all types of discrimination and violence against human rights and, fundamentally, structural racism. Carrefour will maintain structural and regular human rights education actions for all its employees and will demand that its suppliers, especially in the area of security and surveillance, also do so, always in partnership with recognized organizations of the black movement. Regular research will allow monitoring of this human rights education, identifying opportunities and correcting directions, when and where they are needed. Revision of the validation model of the outsourced security companies and of the procedures together with the private security and transport associations. The practice of training, selection and recruitment based on values of respect and human rights will be applied and monitored throughout Carrefour’s value chain.
3. Disclose a Zero Tolerance Policy to all types of discrimination in a clear, conspicuous and permanent manner, with training of all employees in all Carrefour units.
4. Offer different qualifications for 100 black men and women per year to accelerate their career at Carrefour, allowing them to reach leadership positions more quickly. There will be annual goals for the formation and advancement of careers of black people within Carrefour, in different areas. There will be specific goals for black people to occupy leadership positions. There will be specific measures for the engagement of black health and psychology professionals to support the development of black people in leadership positions, interns and trainees.
5. Support for educational institutions throughout the country for the professional training of young black men and women. Investment in three areas of impact for the black population, especially women and young people: Education, Labor market and Entrepreneurship.
6. Hiring approximately 20 thousand new employees per year, respecting the racial representation of the population of each state of the country, but with a minimum percentage of 50% of blacks among new hirees. Support the process of racial literacy for the correct development of the Brazilian Demographic Census.
7. Implementation of a digital device for domestic, racial and violence complaints against women on the Carrefour website and applications, ensuring anonymity, for later referral to competent organs.
8. Creation of an Accelerator focused on the development of black entrepreneurship in the communities surrounding the stores in Porto Alegre.
Source: Meio e Mensagem