Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) has risen rapidly up the agenda in companies of all sizes and in all industries because of pressure from ESG investors, new regulation and rising societal awareness around the issues, all catalysed by the disruption to working lives brought on by the pandemic.
At a time when new certifications and corporate reporting requirements in Italy are pushing more focus on the critical topic of gender, it’s time to ensure we tackle the challenges of diversity within a wider perspective that embraces the need for equity and a more inclusive workplace culture. Top management and company boards are keen to go beyond mere compliance and discover ways to unlock new value through a proactive approach to DE&I, be that bolstering competitive advantage in their industry, supporting talent attraction and retention or boosting innovation.
It’s in this spirit that Lundquist and Afuture have come together to launch an important new partnership on DE&I and unite their long-standing experience and deep expertise in the areas of sustainability, leadership coaching and communications. This unique collaboration, actively bringing into play our different perspectives, allows us to jointly support companies on DE&I with a holistic approach that aligns expectations and practices, behaviours and communications.
“The increase in disclosure rules presents a window of opportunity for strategic DE&I management. In order to unlock the business value embedded in the inclusion of diversity and to manage ‘washing-related’ risks, companies need to start their journey with a clear understanding of why this is important for them and the courage to be humble and open to behavioural change,” says Amelie Reuterskiöld Franchin, the Milan-based founder of the braintrust Afuture.
“Through our partnership with Lundquist we can in this pivotal moment bridge perspectives and align isolated initiatives within companies to support the development of a proactive, holistic and long-term approach to DE&I.”
Lundquist and Afuture are launching the partnership with a new research project looking into the DE&I practices of 50 of Italy’s biggest employers, which collectively have more than 1.7 million employees. The study will investigate how DE&I is evolving within corporate strategies and uncover different ways businesses are leveraging these topics to unleash new value and build more sustainable, resilient organisations.
The research project – which is also part of Lundquist’s .future sustainability programme – is currently underway and covers aspects including:
– How DE&I is integrated into corporate strategies and governance;
– What kind of commitments Italian companies are making and whether they balance a focus on gender diversity with other priorities such as inclusion, generation gap, etc.;
– How DE&I is being measured;
– Which CEOs are taking a public stand;
– Whether the approach to DE&I is reflected in the company’s communications, talent attraction processes and storytelling.
The results are expected to be published in July 2022.
“Many companies are looking to DE&I as a way to underpin their social commitment – the ‘S’ in ESG – and find themselves facing an urgent and highly complex set of issues that need to be addressed across the organisation, from sustainability to HR, from innovation to communications,” said James Osborne, Lundquist partner and head of sustainability and ESG.
“That’s why we’re enthusiastic to join forces with Afuture in guiding companies along their DE&I journey, working collaboratively to help walk the talk with courage and credibility.”
Full list of companies included in the research: