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Areas of Expertise

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

BSR is building on its expertise and experience on economic inclusion, human rights, and women’s empowerment to create a DEI program.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Overview

About Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

DEI is essential to the achievement of a just and sustainable world. To build resilient and sustainable business strategies, companies must understand how power, privilege, and history have impacted people differently. To address deep disparities and systemic challenges, BSR believes companies need to examine failures of whole systems, identify tangible opportunities to improve their own diversity efforts, and rebuild equitable structures at both the individual and system level. This will take new approaches that move beyond diversity, equity, and inclusion as primarily compliance-driven efforts and transform these tools into strategic drivers to achieve social justice.

To that end, BSR is building on its expertise and experience on economic inclusion, human rights, and women’s empowerment to create a DEI program. These perspectives will be integrated across all of six BSR areas of expertise; each program area will develop unique priorities and approaches.

Business Benefits

Mounting calls for business to address the needs of stakeholders, and not merely shareholders, reflect concerns about the role of business in society and its contribution to ongoing systemic barriers for diverse populations. Companies stand to benefit tremendously from strategic approaches to DEI, including:

  • Talent attraction and retention
  • New business relationships
  • Innovative product and service development
  • Enhanced governance and decision-making
  • Responding to stakeholder interests

DEI at BSR: Definitions

In the past, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been used interchangeably or associated with compliance-driven, human resource efforts. Today, they are recognized as three distinct tools that form the fundamental building blocks of social justice.


Diversity is all the ways in which people differ, including (but not limited to) race, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, language, and socioeconomic status.


Equity is the strategic distribution of resources so that all groups reach comparable outcomes. It is markedly different than equality—which focuses more on inputs, treating all groups the same, and preserving the status quo.


Inclusion is creating environments in which individuals or groups can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, and valued to fully participate. It is a culture of belonging where every person’s voice adds value.

Social Justice

Social Justice is the systemically fair treatment of individuals by society, in which no one’s identity shapes their opportunities or outcomes. Social justice combats systemic or institutional oppression, which produces disparate outcomes based on identity (ex. wealth gap). Specific subsets of social justice focus on particular identities, such as racial justice’s focus on people of color.

Our Ambition for Companies

BSR works with companies on DEI by providing a range of services in line with BSR’s Act, Enable, Influence framework:


Companies can act within their own boundaries.

Including: diversity recruitment, retention, and employee development; data transparency; pay equity and paying living wages; cultural competency training; governance and decision-making, such as diversifying Boards and executive teams; due diligence, especially integrating racial justice, women’s empowerment, and LGBTI rights into human rights due diligence, or racial equity impact assessments.


Companies can partner with others to extend their opportunities for impact.

Including: investing in businesses, suppliers, and nonprofits owned and led by people of color, women, and the LGBTI community; building relationships and strategic partnerships with civil society and community organizations working on racial justice, LGBTI rights, and women’s empowerment issues; reviewing the relationship between product development and DEI, such as (1) the type of products developed and how they are developed, and (2) who products are/are not developed for or sold to; sharing best practices on policy, process, and performance to enable improved decision-making by others.


Companies should use their voice to influence systemic and institutional discrimination and injustice.

Including: integrating racial justice, LGBTI rights, and women’s empowerment more deliberately into public policy and government affairs activities; initiating or joining industry or multi-stakeholder collaboration and collective action efforts; holding peers and their leaders accountable to upholding DEI principles; funding and expressing support for organizations working on DEI issues, such as those promoting criminal legal system reform.

Our Services

BSR works with our member companies to develop DEI strategies and assessments that are globally relevant and encompass entire company value chains.

In that respect, BSR offers companies:

  • DEI impact assessments, with a focus (where relevant) on a specific identity such as gender lens or racial equity assessments
  • Strategy development, including guidance on how to develop holistic DEI approaches that address individual company and system-wide change
  • Stakeholder engagement, input from leading DEI organizations on strategy and programs
  • Guidance on how to embed DEI in governance and management, including advice on how to better embed DEI into decision making and day-to-day operations at companies.
  • Best practices for reporting and transparency, including recommendations on key metrics and narratives to ensure companies are effectively communicating activities, impact, and progress

Our Insights on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

A New Social Contract That Enables Social Justice


A New Social Contract That Enables Social Justice

To address deep disparities and systemic challenges, companies will need to take new approaches that move beyond diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) as primarily compliance-driven efforts, and transform these tools into strategic drivers to achieve social justice.

Read More 

See All Insights

Collaborative Initiatives on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)

Business Action for Women

Business Action for Women

A coalition of business leaders driving progress for women

Read More 

Global Impact Sourcing Coalition

Global Impact Sourcing Coalition

A forum of the world's leading companies committed to incorporate and scale impact sourcing as a business strategy—ending poverty through procurement.

Read More 



Unlocking the full potential of women working in global supply chains through workplace programs promoting health, financial inclusion, and gender equality

Read More 

Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality

Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality

A coalition of organizations committed to leveraging their individual and collective advocacy to accelerate LGBTI equality and inclusion globally and drive positive change.

Read More 

See all Collaborative Initiatives

Meet the Team

San Francisco

Aditi Mohapatra

Aditi Mohapatra

Managing Director

New York

Talk to Us  
Contact the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team with any questions.