Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives have long been overlooked as integral to sustainability programs. That changed during the COVID-19 crisis, which has shone a brighter light on social inequities and prompted stronger calls for organizations to spearhead positive change. Sustainability started as a way to measure and mitigate risk. When you consider it through that lens, one risk that has become front and center throughout the pandemic is human capital management.

Now more than ever before, companies are being asked to act rather than simply talk about sustainability, especially after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission acted in 2020 with new requirements for human capital management data disclosures. Suffice to say, the requirements for companies regarding how they refer to and measure human capital have changed and will continue to evolve.

The manufacturing industry has a huge opportunity and responsibility to play a strong role in helping advance sustainability, including human capital management. When we think about the social agenda here at Flex, we talk about it in terms of well-being; health and safety; diversity, equity, and inclusion; labor practices; talent attraction; development, and retention — essentially how we care for our people. DEI is an important lever in ensuring that every team member — each with a unique background, skills, experience, and perspective — is empowered to reach their full potential.

Following are several best practices and actionable steps that Flex has used to incorporate DEI practices into the company’s sustainability strategy. These tried-and-true tips have been key to helping the sustainability program office address some of the most common challenges associated with corporate DEI initiatives.

  1. Get the data. Know your baseline.
  2. Agree on the problem you are solving. 
  3. Involve your leadership team and key business stakeholders. 
  4. Team up with organizations that can provide support.
  5. Develop strategic initiatives to support DEI goals.

Read the full article about DEI in sustainability work by Kyra Whitten at GreenBiz.