Our Perspectives: United in Pursuit of Equality, One Year Later

One year ago, the murder of George Floyd and the senseless deaths of other Black Americans created an awakening and an extraordinary opportunity to address society’s longstanding and deeply rooted issues of racism and injustice.

In response to those disturbing events, Honda expressed our concern over the systemic racism and injustices within our society. Guided by Honda’s values and Fundamental Beliefs, which are grounded in human respect, we committed to action that will strengthen our commitment to fairness, justice and racial equality in the workplace and in our relationship with society. 

We began by reflecting on our existing efforts based on our commitment to diversity and inclusion, which includes:

  • Over three decades of support for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and strong relationships with the National Urban League and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, where we are not only supporters, but have Honda executives serving as board members.
  • In 2007, we established the Honda Office of Inclusion & Diversity to maximize the strength of diversity and create more inclusivity within Honda. This team, within our Regional Operations organization, provides ongoing guidance and support in the areas of employment, procurement, advertising and marketing, financial services, communications, dealer representation and philanthropy.
  • A commitment to increase inclusion within our North American supplier network. We hold an annual conference aimed at encouraging our Tier 1 suppliers to develop their own Supplier Diversity Programs with specific spending targets for minority business. This effort has pushed our annual purchases from women and minority-owned businesses to over $3.2 billion annually.

Following the tragic events that gave rise to the social justice movement last summer, we recognized that we need to do more. So, in the effort to accelerate change, we established a social justice task force to work with the company’s North American Diversity Steering Committee, and mobilized a diverse group of associates from across the company to act with urgency on our commitment.

Driven by recommendations from this task force, over the past year, Honda has taken a number of actions to advance our own inclusiveness while also supporting organizations and initiatives advancing social justice in society. These actions include:

  • As a result of our commitment to increase diverse representation at every level in our organization particularly in leadership, we improved our HR hiring and promotion processes. This included an enhanced focus on diverse candidate slates and interview panels, while also expanding the job posting process, with a view toward ensuring that our workforce reflects all of society.
  • We are now working to advance our longstanding partnerships with the National Urban League and HBCUs in the effort to access new talent pools of recruits as part of our national workforce development initiative. 
  • We asked leaders throughout our company to hold meaningful discussions with associates and supported this request with resources to help facilitate these honest conversations about race among our associates.  This included a leadership check-in conversation guide and manager resource guide, as well as a Social Justice Resource Guide and dedicated Intranet page for Honda associates
  • We standardized the observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a company holiday across all of our U.S. operations.
  • We updated our North American social media communications policy, which enables us to take action when anyone affiliated with Honda posts racist and discriminatory content.
  • We met with leaders of Honda’s African-American Business Resource Groups (BRGs) to gain their perspectives and input on the actions we can take as a company.  We also included representatives from these BRGs on the social justice task force. 
  • We redirected significant funds earmarked for the Honda Campus All-Star Challenge to communities surrounding 55 HBCUs hit hard by the pandemic.  Our relationship with HBCUs began with this academic competition in 1989, but we were unable to hold this event in 2020 due to COVID-19.
  • We designated the Thurgood Marshall College Fund as the beneficiary of a highly successful online fundraising event for serial plate 001 of the 2021 Honda Civic Type R Limited Edition.

Last summer, we also took a stand against hate speech and racism on Facebook by becoming the first automaker to join the advertising boycott of the platform and suspending all paid advertising. And earlier this year, with the rise in hate crimes against people of Asian descent, we made clear that we stand with Asian American and Pacific Islanders consistent with our effort to promote inclusion and social justice across Honda’s North American operations.

Along with other members of Honda’s senior leadership team, we also participated in the company’s first-ever anti-racism and allyship training called Racial Injustice Stops with Me. This thought-provoking training session, which is available to all associates, was a deeply emotional experience and reinforced our belief that lasting change is the responsibility of each one of us.  

So, one year after the heightened attention toward issues of social injustice, we want to make clear that we remain steadfast in the commitments we made a year ago and are fully aware that more work remains. We will continue to take deliberate action to advance diversity and inclusion within Honda and to support efforts in society to achieve justice and equality for all people.

Together we can and will make a difference.

Rick Schostek

Executive Vice President  

American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Deputy Chair, Honda Diversity Steering Committee

Cathy McEvilly

Senior Vice President & General Counsel

American Honda Motor Co., Inc. 

Deputy Chair, Honda Diversity Steering Committee

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