Instacart Outlines Commitment Against Systemic Racism

CEO details how company is advocating for Black community, driving change
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Instacart Outlines Commitment Against Systemic Racism Nightshades
The Instacart Nightshades ERG is dedicated to encouraging growth and community among Instacart’s Black employees.

Following the guilty verdict during the George Floyd trial, Instacart has prioritized its diversity, equity and belonging efforts as it focuses on workforce equity, workplace belonging, responsible citizenship and product inclusion.

In a recent blog post, Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta detailed how the company is working to increase equitable outcomes in its systems and processes at the company in 2021.

"Last year, there was a national reckoning of systemic injustice across our communities," wrote Mehta. "As an organization, we’ve been on a journey to better understand how we could further support the Black community.

“The issues we’re watching unfold are part of larger, systemic inequities that are much bigger than any one company or person can tackle alone,” he continued. “As a leadership team, we’re prioritizing what we can impact today, within Instacart, and across the communities we serve.”

Some of the initiatives the delivery service provider is implementing this year include:

1.Observing Juneteenth as an official company holiday from now on for all corporate employees, both in the United States and Canada. Instacart is encouraging its teams to use this day to reflect, listen, learn and engage in critical conversations about racial injustice.

2. Prioritizing three demographics in its talent strategy — Black, Women and Latinx talent — and investing in Black talent across the entire employee lifecycle. This means addressing the root causes of opportunities and increasing equitable outcomes for employees throughout their careers at Instacart. Specifically, there will be focused efforts to transform hiring, developing and retaining Black talent.

3. Acknowledging and advocating that food insecurity is a social justice issue that disproportionately affects the Black community. Instacart will help overlooked and underserved communities by supporting food banks. As a part of this effort, it will:

  • Extend its partnership with Feeding America and Food Banks Canada Network. Instacart is focusing its work on those specific food banks serving predominantly Black communities with the largest social economic and health disparities in North America.
  • Launch a partnership this summer with Boys & Girls Clubs of America to support local clubs that serve predominantly Black youth, families and communities. “It is often overlooked that hunger is a contributing factor to learning loss, and this is a critically important time for kids and teens as they rebound from a year where COVID-19 has widened systemic inequalities," wrote Mehta. "By providing grocery credit and Instacart Express memberships, clubs will be able to provide supplementary meals and groceries to nearly 5,000 youth and their families.”

4. Leverage Instacart’s Volunteer Time Off policy and additional tools to ensure that employee volunteering is scalable year-round and enables teams to more easily connect to causes they care about. In June, the company will also promote volunteer opportunities to specifically support the Black community.

5. Intentionally lift up Black businesses within the Instacart marketplace.

6. Advocate for voting rights in the United States. “We know the history of how our country has made it difficult for Black communities to vote, and we proudly stand in support of fair and equitable voting rights as the cornerstone of our democracy,” wrote Mehta.

“We have work to do, and we are not shying away from the conversations and actions that will get us there,” he added.

In February, Instacart partnered with Instacart’s Nightshades — its Black employee resource group — to celebrate Black History Month and honor the contributions of the Black community throughout the centuries.

The Instacart Nightshades Employee Resource Group (ERG) has been active since 2018, with a mission dedicated to encouraging growth and community among Instacart’s Black employees. The community is dedicated to building an inclusive environment by increasing the ratio of Black employees at Instacart, as well as supporting and developing those who are already employees. This year’s Black History Month programming offered ways for the community to stay connected while working apart.

In other diversity and inclusion moves at the company, last month, Instacart and its Women@ Instacart employee resource group focused on reflection, advocacy and celebration of the resilience of women during Women's History Month. Women@ Instacart is the company’s largest employee resource group, with more than 600 members. Founded in 2016, the community is dedicated to its mission to attract, retain and grow anyone who identifies as a woman at Instacart.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Instacart held company-wide programming that aimed to foster an inclusive culture and support initiatives related to retaining, hiring, developing and progressing women.

San Francisco-based Instacart  partners with nearly 600 national, regional and local retailers, including unique brand names, to offer delivery and pickup services from more than 45,000 stores across more than 5,500 cities in North America. In March, Instacart raised $265 million as part of a new financing round that increased its valuation to $39 billion  more than doubling its valuation of $17.7 billion from October 2020. 

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