I&CO Equity and Justice Action Plan Update

Dec 19, 2020 · 3 min read

As 2020 comes to an end, we at I&CO, wanted to provide an update on the commitments made towards becoming a more equitable firm back in July 2020. These commitments will be updated as we advance.

Commitment 1

I&CO is committed to being an anti-racist company by continually examining and adapting our culture to be a more inclusive environment that confronts injustice and oppression in our everyday lives and interactions.

November 2020, we started our journey with an all-staff anti-racism workshop, which created a foundation for us to build upon. I&CO is committing to ongoing anti-racism coaching for the entire team in 2021 and looking to add training to our onboarding process.

Woven into the fabric of everything we do and guiding us in making the right decisions are our I&CO Maxims. The addition of our newest Maxim, “Be just. Do right.” continues to shape our culture as a reminder of our responsibility to create an anti-racist work and place.

For open dialogue and knowledge sharing on social justice, we have commenced monthly forums at I&CO. Wherever possible, our goal is to share our work with the community-at-large.

Lastly, the lead up to the 2020 election has ended, but we continue to support employees’ use of work hours to engage in volunteerism and political activism as we enter 2021.

Commitment 2

I&CO is committed to creating work that does not contribute to systems of racial oppression or the spread of racism in the world, assessing all future work to ensure we are reducing — not creating — harm.

This commitment has evolved to focus on building a foundation that evaluates and changes the working process, not only its output. Using a “pause and process” system, we have identified dedicated moments that will be used for reflection and facilitate an open discussion among team members. These moments are as follows:

  1. Pre-Project: Client Evaluation
  2. Start of Project: Project Goal-Setting
  3. During the Project: Notice & Adjust
  4. Post-Project: Reflect & Measure

We want to create an environment that encourages everyone to share ideas or flag issues. This practice is being pressure tested on current projects and will be continuously refined.

Commitment 3

I&CO is committed to becoming a more racially representational firm, beginning with how we identify and recruit talent and assess our team makeup.

We want to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all candidates. Dedicated to improving our recruitment practices, we have researched and started implementing best practices with diversity, equity, and inclusion in mind.

After identifying our shortcomings, we recognized the need to establish a consistent hiring process. As part of that standardization effort, we will:

  • Commit to being mindful of resources that seek out talent, and expand our recruitment to include representation-focused partners
  • Equip hiring managers and interviewers with guides for unbiased and inclusive recruitment practices
  • Build interview feedback forms to eliminate groupthink and biases during the assessment process

We are continuing to explore diversity metrics that are meaningful in our journey to become a more anti-racist and inclusive firm.

Lastly, our internship program continues to evolve as we identify ways to support applicants from a broader catchment of backgrounds to find ways to make the internship program accessible.

Commitment 4

I&CO is assessing all discretionary spending decisions to ensure we are supporting BIPOC business owners whenever possible.

Recognizing that our dollars have influence and power, we set out to evaluate and evolve our discretionary spending.

We began by creating an Anti-Racism Checklist, a system by which I&CO employees can assess a company’s active contribution to a White-supremacist system through:

  • Treatment of employees
  • Potential harm in past and current products/services
  • Stance on equity
  • Political spending

We used our checklist to assess 67 existing partners and identified 10 companies that we are no longer spending money with. These companies have been replaced in our vendor line-up either by BIPOC businesses or by competing companies who are more actively anti-racist.

Based on feedback from an I&CO team member, we are now working on the second iteration of the Anti-Racism Checklist, thinking about how and if we can better evaluate harm done by a company’s political spending. We are also working on incorporating a measurement of a company’s work in reparative justice and harm reduction.

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