In an effort to do even more in addressing some of the many issues facing the world today, Apple is putting its money where its mouth is and launching a new $100 million initiative to help promote racial equality and justice throughout its entire organization, from its vast supply chain to its own workforce and internal practices.
In addition to dealing with its own accountability in these areas, Apple hopes that the move will also serve as an example to other large organizations and a beacon of hope to those communities that have struggled with injustice and inequality by providing new opportunities.
Apple CEO Tim Cook made the announcement of the new program, which Apple is calling its “Racial Equity and Justice Initiative,” in a video posted on Twitter, where he added that it’s Apple’s intent to “challenge the systemic barriers to opportunity that exist for communities of color and particularly for the black community.”
The comprehensive new plan isn’t just lip service to the problems facing many underrepresented and underprivileged communities today, and Cook added that the new initiative will see changes within Apple and its suppliers that “touch just about everything we do.”
Growing up in Alabama during the civil rights movement, I saw firsthand that the only thing that ever made lasting and durable change was people of goodwill putting aside comfort and safety to speak up, to march, to call for accountability, and to do what they could to make a flawed society more perfect.Apple CEO Tim Cook
Being a Force For Good
Among the things Cook announced that Apple will be doing includes an increase in spending at black-owned partners that already exist throughout its supply chain, while also increasing black representation among all of the companies that it does business with.
Apple also plans to encourage more black developers and entrepreneurs with a new “developer entrepreneurial camp” for black developers “with the goal of fostering and lifting up the brightest lights and best ideas within the developer family.”
Cook also noted that Apple plans to expand its work in historically black colleges and universities, community colleges, STEM education, and underserved students and teachers, as well as partnering with the Equal Justice Initiative, although he didn’t outline any details on exactly what form that would take.
Apple also plans to increase diversity and inclusion within its own walls by doing more to hire and support employees from underrepresented groups, “especially our black and brown colleagues.”
Cook notes that the new initiative is a “comprehensive effort governed by three principles: representation, inclusion, accountability,” noting that the burden of change falls the most heavily on those in positions of power, and not on those groups that are underrepresented, and Cook notes that he is therefore holding himself and Apple accountable for its responsibility to be a force for change for the greater good.
Our commitment is to meet this challenge, listening, learning, and acting collaboratively. Apple has never shied away from tough conversations about tough topics. In fact, they’re the only way we’ve made progress, and that is still true today. We will do our part, and I want to send out gratitude to everyone who is pushing needed changes forward in their communities.Apple CEO Tim Cook
At the helm of the new initiative will be Lisa Jackson, Apple’s Vice President of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives, who previously served as the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under President Obama before joining Apple’s executive team.
In his announcement, Cook notes that Jackson “revolutionized” Apple’s environmental efforts and expects that she will bring “that same holistic focus and companywide scale” to addressing issues of “racial justice and breaking down barriers to opportunity across our society.”