The leaders of Bank of America, Duke Energy and Sealed Air are among hundreds of CEOs nationwide taking part in an alliance to advance diversity and inclusion within their companies.
Launched last month, the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion initiative describes itself as the largest CEO-driven commitment of its kind, with more than 270 chief executives participating. The project calls for, among other things, cultivating workplaces where employees feel comfortable talking about diversity and inclusion issues.
“Persistent inequities” across the U.S. underscore “our urgent, national need to address and alleviate racial, ethnic and other tensions and to promote diversity within our communities,” the pledge reads in part.
“Moreover, we know that diversity is good for the economy; it improves corporate performance, drives growth and enhances employee engagement,” the pledge says. “Simply put, organizations with diverse teams perform better.”
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Duke Energy on Tuesday announced its participation, with CEO Lynn Good commenting in a statement that the electric utility’s employees “don’t turn off their emotions when they come to work – and we don’t want them to.”
“We’re committed to creating a safe environment for them to share their views because we’ve already seen how this can foster more compassion and well-being among our employees,” said Good.
In the statement, Duke noted efforts it’s previously taken to foster diversity and inclusion, such as a conversation series that provided employees a venue to discuss the unrest in Charlotte following last year’s death of Keith Lamont Scott. In that case, Scott, who was black, was killed by a black Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer in September.
Duke now brings to three the number of Charlotte-based companies whose CEOs have joined the pledge, including Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan and Sealed Air’s Jerome Peribere.
Chief executives of other companies with operations in Charlotte have also signed on, including those from Ally Financial, American Airlines, Fifth Third Bancorp, SunTrust Banks, TIAA and Wells Fargo.
The pledge is the latest example of major companies publicly declaring their commitment to workplaces that embrace diversity, a trend that has continued for years.
Across Charlotte last year, some companies found themselves reiterating such stances in reaction to the passage of House Bill 2, the state’s controversial law that restricted protections for LGBT people.