(B)lack (E)quity - Certified

Black Equity Certification was meticulously designed to empower corporate socially responsible actions, validate DE&I initiatives, and implement a non-performative marketing advantage for the most progressive firms absolutely committed to engaging their black and African American consumers. BE-Certification is an innovative approach and testament to diversity. 

Features
Corporate Social Responsibility Monitoring
The primary function of BE certification is to retain data concerning the corporate social responsibility tactics, strategies, and performance of BE-certified enterprises. The methodology behind Black Equity Certification combines qualitative and quantitative KPIs related to diversity, equity, and inclusion that will determine a final specialized ESG rating for Black Equity Certified Companies. Black Equity Certification tracks and assesses corporate racial equity performance with voluntarily submitted data from the applying enterprise. That data is compared with the Black Equity Certification Rules to test corporate racial equity performance. We are a 3rd party accountability partner to the firms most dedicated to equity. Monitoring and evaluating CSR gives us independent access to an enterprise’s nonfinancial risk factors which are imperative to investors, investments, and overall long-term success. 
Diverse & Distinctive Enterprise Signifying Mark
By our external body monitoring corporate socially responsible performance and commitment levels, we are able to signify what enterprises are the most committed to their diversity, equity, and inclusionary strategies. The Black Equity Certification badge is a public signifier to Black and African American communities that the establishment that wears it is a safe space for them. It unequivocally signifies a consciously progressive, diverse committed, and inclusive company. Consumers can trust our badge because of our grassroots, community, and consumer-centered focus rather than another top-down approach initiative. 
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Public and Social Awareness Amplifier
Consequently, while monitoring CSR and signifying diverse enterprises we then focus on increasing public awareness and trust in the enterprise’s dedication and commitment to its diverse practices. Black Equity Certification shows the public that the enterprise is sincere, serious and visibility committed to the corporate responsibility of racial equity performance. Black Equity Certification is the only innovative and unique approach of its kind to engaging with your Black and African American consumer base authentically. This is an innovative approach to strengthening an enterprise’s social credibility among the Black and African American community.
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Multi-Faceted & Authentic Competition Advantage
Enterprises that are BE-Certified boast a consumer advantage point that cannot be easily replicated by other firms. While other enterprises can and will create DE&I initiatives BE-Certified firms publicly allow a 3rd party to evaluate their performance and empower their diverse tactics. This authentic show of commitment is unseen in most enterprises thus it creates ‘diverse industry’ leaders in the corporate responsibility space. Enterprises can brand themselves as the premier space for diverse talent, diverse products, and services, and inclusive leaders. Statistics show that Black & African American consumers will be motivated and can be comfortable when working and shopping at BE-Certified Corporations because corporations have taken a clear, visible, and intentional stance on racial equity.
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Key Benefits

Multi-Faceted & Authentic Competition Advantages

The benefit of becoming a BE-Certified enterprise is the competitive edge organizations achieve in 4 areas:
1. Greater profit and returns; 2. Increased consumer engagement & lifetime value; 3. Broader access to investors and investments; 4. Successful diverse employee recruitment/retention.

Broaden Marketing Abilities'

64% of consumers said they took some form of action after seeing an ad they considered to be diverse or inclusive. (Think with Google)

Increase Profit

69% of brands surveyed with representative ads saw an average stock gain of 44% in a seven quarter period ending last year. (Heat Test Report)

Successful Consumer Engagement

“70% of black millennials say they are more likely to buy from a brand that takes a stance on race-related issues, and; African Americans are now 58% more likely to expect the brands they buy to take a stance on these issues and are 37% more likely to buy a brand when they do”. (Nielsen’s African American Diverse Intelligence Series 2020)


Brands with the highest diversity scores see an 83% higher consumer preference. (Heat Test Report)

Strengthen Lifetime Consumer Value

“Authenticity is the key to unlocking the $162 billion in buying power black millennials hold in the United States. But be warned, you can’t “fake the funk.” The only way to authentically produce content that engages and attracts today’s black consumer is to hire black marketing and advertising teams to create it.” (“If you want Black Audiences give them a seat at the table”, Jenelle Coy, forbes.com)

Greater Returns

Companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. (Mckinsey and Company, Delivering through Diversity Report, Jan 2018)

Appeal to Investors and Investment

Between 2018 and 2020, total U.S.-domiciled sustainably (ESG funds)  invested assets under management, both institutional and retail, grew 42%, to $17.1 trillion, up from $12 trillion. (“Sustainable investing’ is surging, accounting for 33% of total U.S. assets under management”, Deboard Nason, cnbc.com)

Diverse Talent Retention

71% of Black employees says their employer should be doing more to increase the diversity of its workforce, compared with 58% of white employees. (Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Survey, Glassdoor Team)

Diverse Talent Recruitment

More than 3 out of 4 job seekers and employees (76%) report that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. (Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Survey, Glassdoor Team)

Having a diverse workforce is particularly important to underrepresented groups: Nearly a third of employees and job seekers (32%) would not apply to a job at a company where there is a lack of diversity among its workforce. This figure is significantly higher for Black (41%) job seekers and employees when compared to white (30%) job seekers and employees. (Glassdoor’s Diversity and Inclusion Survey, Glassdoor Team)

(The Numbers) – Statistics & Quotes: “60% of millennials tend to gravitate toward purchases that are an expression of their personality — the brand must speak to them at this level and make them feel good.” (source: Understanding the research on millennial shopping behaviors forbes.com 2020)

“No one knows black audiences like black marketers and advertisers. Black-owned agencies are uniquely positioned as both industry experts and members of a lucrative, yet underserved market demographic. This allows them intrinsic authenticity and the ability to leverage that authenticity into winning campaigns for their clients……Having black-owned and black-operated agencies create content, head campaigns and design visuals made for black audiences will show genuine support. Brands are seen as champions and responsible producers rather than culture vultures trying to take advantage. In order to succeed, you have to be perceived as marketing for – not just marketing to – African-Americans. Black voices as a part of the process achieve that.” (If you want Black audiences give them a seat at the table Jenelle Coy, forbes.com 2020).

Black or African Americans owned 124,004 employer businesses (firms with at least one paid employee) in 2017. This accounts for 2.2% percent of the 5.7 million total employer businesses in the United States. (source: Annual Business Survey 2017)

Black and African Americans boast a 1.4 trillion-dollar spending power; higher than the gross domestic product (GDP) of Spain, Mexico, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, and Nigeria (source: Investopedia.com 2019 & cnbc.com 2019)

“Marketers would be remiss to gloss over a segment with such a powerful sway over the broader consumer base. In this way, the investment case becomes two-fold. Reaching African-Americans generates ROI not only within the segment, but also carries a halo effect for crossover initiatives to the Total Market.” (source: African American consumers: Cultural Influencers collegegroup.com)

“Because Blacks are younger on average, they’re trendsetters and tastemakers for young consumers of all races, according to the Selig Center. They influence mainstream culture and wield immense influence over how Americans choose to spend their money.” (source: Marketing Insights from Black History Month: A look at Black Influence on pop culture crrresearch.com)

Certifying Factors Overview

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The Black Equity Certification Racial Equity Audit is built on 3 categories containing a total of 24 unique questions that all equal a total of 150 possible positive points and 140 possible negative points. This means it is possible to score a maximum of 150 and a minimum of -140. Our audit applies negative points to a corporation that is underperforming according to that question, or because they may have caused irreversible adverse effects. Companies can gain zero points if they are neither overachieving nor underperforming.

The Model Black Equity company is a set of goals, rules, and benchmarks that define what a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization looks like in all aspects of the business from entry-level, subcontractors or suppliers to the CEO and Board of Directors. The Model Black Certified corporation is a north star that is almost entirely unreachable to fully achieve or realize within a corporation. It is the standard progressive companies can look to while focusing on becoming racially equitable organizations. Companies should review our standards to find guidelines that are the most achievable where they stand in their racial equity commitments and can be easily implemented. Our standards can range in difficulty depending on the firm so there is no definite place to begin. 

Representation & Opportunity
Opportunity & Representation: Every Level and in every area: This means Black and or African American representation at the entry-level, mid-level, and senior levels, as well as Black and/or African American representation on boards, committees, initiatives, programs, and recruiting.
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Sustainable Operations
Sustainable Operations: Focused Anti-Racist Business Environment through policy: Defined internal Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, policies, and performance goals.
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Community Contributions
Community contribution seeks to isolate all the ways in which a firm can and does create tangible contributions directly into Black or African American communities, nonprofits, and initiatives. Investments in Black culture are the things a firm does that embraces and integrates Black and African American culture as a part of its business’s brand.
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Areas of Advocacy

Through the Black Certification Racial Equity Audit

Describing authentic consumer engagement can be done best by describing what inauthentic consumer engagement looks like. Inauthentic engagement looks like Black or African American marketed products with undertones of racism and/or stereotypical bias. From a consumer viewpoint, it becomes clear that a member of that community was not present during the creative development of these product or marketing campaigns; and if they were, their voices were not heard, ignored, or excluded. The goal of authentic consumer engagement is to #amplifyblackvoices, #amplifymelanatedvoices and, #amplifyblackcreatives in corporate offices, production crews, and creative development projects. With this, corporations can be confident in everything they produce to connect with Black and African Americans because it is produced with the oversight and insight of creative Black and African Americans. It combats “culture vulture” public perceptions because companies utilize Black creators and consultants during the developmental process of campaigns and products that are intended to engage Black & African American consumers. Finally, authentic engagement is aimed at drawing companies away from the high potentials of the “cancel culture” phenomenon having a detrimental effect on their business. Black Certification is social credibility.

Our goal with Black Certification is to isolate areas in which it is both possible and economically beneficial for firms to diversify their support, service, supplier, and subcontractor spending. Throughout our relationship with our certified clients, we continuously are available as a valuable resource in finding recoupable Black-led firms for companies to do business with. Next, our review process looks at pay gaps, raises, and diverse high-level management or executive positions. And finally, we address and track actual direct financial contributions given in the form of grants, donations, investments, or any other form to racial justice organizations, initiatives, programs or Black-owned/led agencies, businesses, and brands.

General diversity broadly covers race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, language, culture, national origin, religious commitments, age, (dis)ability status and political perspective as it relates to everyone being properly represented within an organization. General equity broadly covers race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status and it dependent on everyone being treated fairly. General inclusion is broadly defined as differences being welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. Our advocacy comes from the need to intentionally focus firms on pushing for DE&I numbers and policies as it relates to their Black and African American employees. With such broad descriptions it subsequently requires an specific and intentional focus in order to have successful, effective, and efficient diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments.

CERTIFICATION Process

  • Our process starts with confidentiality to ensure our clients do not succumb to detrimental media attention before given the solutions and the ability to work towards them. Black Certification is aimed at building relationships broadly among Black & African American communities and the corporate community. Real solutions, real commitments, high success rates, and visible initiatives drive our audit and scoring process BCA designed to track corporate performance. This creates and encourages a naturally competitive nature among the firms who choose to become Black Certified. It is based on your firm’s ability to prove and maintain your commitments. It is driven by your firm’s ability to continuously work with BCA and its United Black Coalition to successfully implement new, modern and innovative ways to properly address and combat systematic racism, racial inequalities, access to wealth, diversity, equity, inclusion, and economic opportunities through business development, employment opportunities, and direct financial contributions. We are advocating for the corporate community to take the responsibility to do what they can do and not just scratch the surface of what can be done. We allow firms to choose the best actions and strategies for their specific firm in tackling these issues.