GREENVILLE, S.C.—Michelin is listening.
And, as tire maker notes in a recent blog post, this is where it has to start.
"In less than two weeks," Michelin North America Inc. said in a statement, "thousands of us have listened to our friends and coworkers share their personal stories on the grievous subject of racism. We have been shocked into awareness that people among us every day could worry about driving at night, or fear for their children to go for a jog, or fear that they would be eyed as trespassers in their own places of worship or their own neighborhoods. …
"We could not act before we listened and fully understood the magnitude."
In the wake of recent events that have fueled #BlackLivesMatter protests across the nation, Michelin is adopting a diversity-awareness plan of action under the tag (RISE)² —"Responding to Racism, Injustice and Inequality through Sustainable Social Empowerment and Engagement."
The policy was developed by a "diverse team" organized by and with the full support of the North American leadership team, Michelin said in a recent blog post.
Based on the team's initial recommendations, the company is pledging to take actions inside the company, within the communities where it's active and throughout the nation.
In disclosing the plan, Michelin pledged: "We can promise you that the work is beginning, not wrapping up."
Internally, the plan calls for all employees to complete a training program on inclusion, respect and bias before year-end, and (RISE)² will continue to work and develop other sustainable initiatives and programs.
Within the communities, Michelin pledges to:
- Share the diversity composition of its work force annually, with the next diversity and inclusion update published before year-end 2020.
- To make progress together, more voices and more perspectives are needed that reflect more closely the communities.
- Continue to recruit and hire diverse candidates into the organization, with 55 percent of new hires in the U.S. meeting diversity targets by year-end 2020 and 60 percent by year-end 2021.
- Will dedicate additional funding to educate and inform people about being "free to move."
- Explore options with potential partners that can help it pursue its objective of a long-term, permanent exhibition that pays homage to those whose movements have not been free and that teaches the value of being "free to move" in all spheres of life.
"In our discussions," Michelin said in a blog posting, "it's become clear that some of our co-workers don't feel they have the same freedom of mobility that others enjoy. This has been a profound discovery for an organization focused on 'sustainable mobility'; that is, making it possible for people, goods and services to move safely and sustainably.
"Movement is an essential aspect of our human condition. How can a person be free if he or she is not free to move about?"
Michelin pledged that, led by the "empowered efforts" of (RISE)² , it will present more tangible details, and actions, in the weeks and months ahead.
"Most importantly," the blog continues, "we will also rely on you to help us define and achieve this mission."
Making meaningful progress requires commitment, engagement and teamwork, Michelin said.
"For some of us, stepping into the light of understanding these recent days has been jarring. Meanwhile, others are wondering: What took so long?"
The full text of Michelin's statement can be read at: michelinmedia.com.