DECKERS COMMITTED TO CREATING A BETTER TOMORROW
22 February 2021
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- #UGGTOGETHER COMMITTED TO EQUITY, INCLUSION AND DIVERSITY IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY
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- Saying no to racism #UGGTOGETHER
As we celebrate Black History Month and following the events of last year when #BlackLivesMatter protests around the world laid bare the scale and impact of institutionalised racism, Dave Powers, Deckers Brands President and CEO, addresses the need to take an active stand against discrimination in every form.
You have spoken before about the need to tackle racism – how has 2020 changed the narrative?
The events of 2020 mean that ignoring intolerance is not an option. Following George Floyd’s murder in May and the social unrest that followed, I reiterated that Deckers is an anti-racist organization, and I spoke about Deckers’ commitment to take an active stance against racism, discrimination and intolerance in every form. We have an obligation to ensure that Deckers is a place where everyone is respected, valued, welcomed and heard. This requires a firm and lasting commitment to embed equity, inclusion and diversity into the very fabric of our company.
How are you making this commitment a reality?
Our teams have been actively working to create sustainable and meaningful change throughout the entire organization. At all levels. On all teams. In all regions. And for all employees. Leaders across the business, starting with me, have been listening to our employees. We need to unlearn what we have been taught because of existing structures and systemic injustice. We will be conducting a survey of our employees to better understand their impressions of how Deckers deals with inclusion and diversity.
Does a commitment to diversity require a lot of investment?
Yes. We are allocating significant time and resources into pushing the diversity agenda forward. The entire executive leadership team has participated in Inclusive Leadership sessions with a consulting firm that we engaged to help guide us on this journey, and our senior leaders are also participating in a version of the same workshop. Last June, we appointed Deckers’ first Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI); last September, we appointed our first Manager of DEI; and we have a regional DEI lead in EMEA. Together we are formulating a comprehensive, global strategy for the organization. We have also donated more than $500,000 to organizations taking action against systemic injustices facing black lives across America and beyond, including the NAACP, the ACLU, and the Tides Foundation in support of Black Lives Matter Support Fund.
Is your approach to the recruitment and training of employees changing?
We are rolling out training on inclusive interview and selection practices and we are empowering our most valuable assets: our talent. We have been conducting a comprehensive audit to identify critical decision points that affect representation levels and we will take action to address any gaps we find. We created our LEAD Team that serves as an advisory board on DEI matters, a regional taskforce in EMEA, and have over 100 employee ambassadors from our offices across the world who have volunteered to participate in our Workforce, Workplace, and Marketplace committees to help provide input on DEI-related initiatives. We have launched a framework for Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) so that employees with common interests can come together and easily start ERGs that are critical to helping foster awareness, respect and inclusion within the workplace and are proud to say that in the three months since our framework went live, we have had employees come together and form five different ERGs.
Do you have partners that are helping you work towards your goals?
In the US, we are partnering with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and both local and national professional organizations, and we are exploring similar partnerships in our other regions in order to expand the pool from which we source talent for the organization. We are creating opportunities for the incredible talent already under our roof and are aiming to launch a pilot career path program for our retail, distribution center and customer experience teams to corporate. We are piloting a global mentorship program to help provide our talent with opportunities for networking and engagement.
Do you still have a long way to go on diversity?
We are proud to say that Deckers’ Board of Directors includes 60% individuals from underrepresented groups (including ethnicity and sexual orientation). We recognize, however, that this representation decreases materially at higher levels of management within the organization. In the US, we have 15.0% BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) at Director level and above. We will therefore commit to having 25% representation of BIPOC at Director levels and above in the US by 2027. We will keep ourselves accountable by sharing annual updates of our progress towards these targets.
We can no longer ignore what's happening because it makes us uncomfortable. We can't pretend racism doesn't exist, or that it doesn't touch our communities around the world. Because it does. And we each have an obligation to show up. We have to stand up. We have to transfer the benefits of our privilege to help uplift those around us. We have to learn how to be allies. The more perspectives we share, the better we can be.
Onwards and in solidarity. #BetterTogether #BlackLivesMatter