5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: August 4

As the saying goes, the news never stops — but there’s a lot of it out there, and all of it doesn’t always pertain to our readers. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories that matter most to our diversity focused audience.

1. The Supreme Court’s ruling on the Clean Power Plan and What Companies Can Do About it

The Supreme Court last month struck down the Clean Power Plan, which limits the Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to cut greenhouse gas emissions and ruled that only U.S. Congress has the power to create public policy on how power is created. 

While this limits the EPA’s efforts, it doesn’t mean private companies can’t create their own efforts to combat climate change. 

DiversityInc Hall of Fame company Johnson & Johnson is one example of a company that’s trying to fight climate change. The company has committed to using 100% recyclable, compostable or reusable packaging by 2025 and also has plans for all its facilities to be powered by renewable energy by 2025. 

2. How Companies Are Supporting Pending Legislation to Protect Same-Sex Marriage

The Respect for Marriage Act is pending in the Senate and is expected to be voted on next month after overwhelmingly passing the House of Representatives in July. 

The pending legislation comes in reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade in June, ending 50 years of abortion protections, and aims to protect same-sex marriage and interracial marriage, two things the Supreme Court has spoken of overturning next. 

A number of companies have shown support for the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. In fact, 173 companies have signed a letter with the Human Rights Campaign to the Senate asking them to pass the bill. 

Of the major companies supporting this effort, many of them are on DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list. Some of the signatories include: 

3. Abortion Rights Victory in Kansas Gives Democrats Hope for Midterms

After voters in the deep-red state of Kansas voted to keep protections for abortions in its state constitution Tuesday night, Democrats are feeling optimistic about the November midterm elections. 

Four other states are expected to vote on ballot measures related to abortions this November, “but Democratic strategists are looking to the Kansas result to extrapolate lessons for states where abortion won’t be on the ballot,” CNN reports

Alexis McGill Johnson, President of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, told the news outlet that “as the first state to vote on abortion rights following the fall of Roe v. Wade, Kansas is a model for a path to restoring reproductive rights across the country through direct democracy.”

“We know that Kansas will not be our last fight, or our last victory,” she added.

4. The Importance of Community Partnerships

Our latest Meeting in a Box digs into how non-profits, educators and private companies have partnered with organizations within the communities they serve to better the lives of the people in these cities while also bettering the company. 

DiversityInc Best Practices subscribers can download the full Meeting in a Box to read through the facts and figures, how non-profits and healthcare companies address health inequities through partnerships and the importance of education-focused community partnerships.

5. Boardrooms Continue to Add Diversity

Even though Congress and the Biden Administration are still considering whether to require companies to disclose the demographic makeup of executives, directors and workers, companies are still adding racially and ethnically diverse candidates to their boards. 

Data from proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. shows that all companies listed on the S&P 500 have at least one racially or ethnically diverse director. In 2020, 11% of S&P 500 boards were non-diverse and 5% were non-diverse in 2021. This year is the first year that non-diverse S&P 500 boards reached zero. 

Fassil Michael, head of thought leadership at ISS Governance Solutions, told Roll Call that the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020 led to meaningful action for diversity and inclusion in corporate America. 

“As the ISS board diversity data shows, there has been visible progress since 2020 in the number of racially/ethnically diverse directors on U.S. company boards, and this uptick in diversity and inclusion initiatives has been dubbed by some ‘The George Floyd Effect,’” Michael said in a memorandum.

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