American corporations have long been a catalyst for positive change and negative change. Many of these corporations have profited from systemic racism for centuries, and they have a responsibility to help address the problem. Fortune 500 companies account for two-thirds of the U.S. GDP and in 2021 recorded $1.8 trillion dollars in profit. While corporations across the United States record historical profits, communities across the country who have persisted through systemic racism continue to struggle. These same communities represent the population on whose backs many of these industries were built upon, generating the wealth we see today.
After the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other African Americans, corporations were quick to jump into the limelight with financial commitments in the name of racial justice. However, given the often exploitative nature of corporate operations, paired with their complex historical relationship with the communities in which they operate, these corporate pledges and commitments to promoting racial equity require a deeper level of scrutiny. While corporations show their commitment to racial equity through donations and financial pledges, we must push for a higher level of accountability and corporate social responsibility. The Center for Social Solutions seeks to address the dearth of transparency and information on behalf of these large corporations.
Using publicly available financial, environmental, and employment data for the Fortune 500, the Reparations Accountability and Responsibility Index (RARI) makes transparent the actions, not words, of corporations to address racial equity in the world. RARI is a tool that measures the financial accountability, workforce diversity, and external operations of Fortune 500 companies. RARI is designed to help the public understand the actions of corporations and to hold them accountable for their commitments to racial equity.
The Center for Social Solutions is working to support corporations in their efforts to address racial inequity. Our goal for this index is not to simply identify corporate irresponsibility but to offer offending corporations a path towards transparency and repair, with the hopes of creating a coalition of socially conscious corporations. We believe that the corporate community has a role to play in social repair and we hope this index is a tool that encourages them to reignite their drive for reparations.