Walmart CEO Doug McMillon says the company will commit $100 million over the next five years to create a new center on racial equity.
"The murder of George Floyd is tragic, painful and unacceptable," McMillon said. "The new center on racial equity will seek to advance economic opportunity and healthier living, including issues surrounding the social determinants of health, strengthening workforce development and related educational systems, and support criminal justice reform with an emphasis on examining barriers to opportunity faced by those exiting the system.”
McMillon said the goal of the center will be to address systematic racism in society head-on and accelerate change. Through the $100 million commitment, the center will support philanthropic initiatives that align with four key areas: finance, health care, education and workforce, and criminal justice.
In an interview on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” McMillon, who is chairman of the Business Roundtable, a conglomerate of U.S. based CEOs who collaborate on social, environmental, political, and economic issues, announced the group of business leaders will form a special committee to advance racial equality and justice solutions. The group issued a statement on May 30.
“As the employers of more than 15 million individuals of all backgrounds, whose diversity strengthens our institutions, Business Roundtable CEOs are deeply concerned about the racial bias that continues to plague our society. We call on national, local, and civic leaders to take urgent, thoughtful action to prevent further tragedies and to help our communities heal.”
McMillon said he would meet with Walmart employees to discuss how the retailer will advocate racial equity and justice within the company and beyond it.
"Inside the company, our work to recruit, develop and support African Americans and other people of color will be even more of a priority," he said. "To influence and lead change in society more broadly, we are going to invest resources and develop strategies to increase fairness, equity and justice in aspects of everyday life. We will find the natural overlaps between Walmart’s core business and society’s larger needs that perpetuate racism and discrimination. Specifically, we’re going to focus the power of Walmart on our nation’s financial, health care, education and criminal justice systems."
Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and e-commerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's list of the top food retailers in North America, while Walmart-owned Sam's Club ranks No. 9 on the list.