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February 2021 Progress Update: ELC's Commitment on Racial Equity

Company Feature

This letter was shared with Estée Lauder Companies global employees on February 11, 2021 

Dear ELC family,

It has been just over eight months since we began sharing regular updates on our company’s commitments to Racial Equity. This has been a time of focused collaboration, meaningful dialogue and continued progress.

Today’s quarterly update has an additional poignancy as it takes place during Black History Month in the United States. On February 1, the company’s Network of Black Executives (NOBLE) Employee Resource Group (ERG) published an Op-Ed on our company channels to unveil the employee-led theme: The Black Experience: Past, Present & Future

This powerful theme is a reminder that our commitments to Racial Equity are core to our values and purpose as a company. It is a call to action to Honor the Past, Take Action in the Present and Lead the Future. Together, we have and will continue to embrace this challenge, while aiming to achieve the future we envision: To be the most inclusive, equitable, global, prestige beauty company in the world. Together, we will get there.

While previous updates have focused on our commitments in talent, we want to focus this update on our commitment to our consumers who, along with our employees, hold us accountable to this vision. 

As we work to deliver our promise to continuously create the world’s most beloved prestige beauty brands, products and experiences, our respect for the individual identities and experiences of consumers will determine our success. When we took a hard look at where we can make progress for and in service to Black consumers, we identified three areas of responsibilities:

  • Committing that the end-to-end creative process accurately and consistently represents the Black experience by authentically capturing and honoring the diversity within the community and the culture.
  • Increasing Black talent among our behind-the-camera creative teams and requiring input from Black professionals and consumers in the development process.
  • Ensuring that our product portfolio meets the diverse benefit, shade, and aesthetic needs and desires of Black beauty consumers. Also, move beyond foundation shades for relevancy and connect authentically from product to commercial innovation.

We want to take a moment to acknowledge the efforts of our Brands:

  • Through our R&D, Product Development, Marketing and Innovation teams, we are actively engaging with diverse groups to evolve and expand our product portfolio to better meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs, desires, and high expectations of consumers through relevant benefits, shade expansion and more inclusive claims testing.
  • The North America Local and Cultural Relevancy team has developed a digital internal publication, Culture Report, launching this month and publishing quarterly. The Culture Reportmission is to connect the dots between culture, community, conversation and consumers. Influenced by American culture, it will share multicultural movements, timely headlines, influencers, fashion and beauty perspectives to creatively inspire and drive insights into action across the ELC enterprise.
  • The majority of brands in our portfolio have assembled I&D Taskforces, Steering Committees and Advisory Boards to help further drive diverse recruitment and retention, initiate action and education that inspire more diverse and inclusive action and foster a stronger culture of advocacy and inclusion. We aim to have 100% of brands engaged in developing imbedded processes by the end of the Fiscal Year.
  • Brands, including Aveda, Bumble and bumble, Clinique, Estée Lauder, MAC, Jo Malone London and Smashbox, have engaged their brand employees and talent internally and sought to partner with influencers and creative talent across beauty, advocacy, creative and production, entertainment and thought leadership to develop robust goals, campaigns and initiatives with a focus on long-term, sustained engagement and authenticity.
  • To further accelerate this work and provide support to our creative teams, we recognized that we needed the involvement and support of thought-leaders across creative industries outside the company. To that end, we are continuing to develop our relationships with external partners as a resource for our Creative Directors and Marketing teams to leverage throughout the development of campaigns and creative process. 

In addition to the outstanding work done within our portfolio of brands, we have made significant progress in our promise to develop Black talent, both inside our organization and with our valued partners. 

We recently announced our partnership with Howard University to support the success of the University’s alumnae through experiential learning, career coaching, professional training and self-empowering mentorship opportunities. Starting this spring, the new program, She’s Howard: Own Your Power, will engage self-identifying female graduates with virtual networking events, a lecture series and seminars on relevant industry topics. Nicole Monson, Senior Vice President and Deputy General Counsel and a graduate of Howard University School of Law, has been appointed as the program’s Executive Sponsor.

Additionally, our Global Talent and Inclusion and Diversity teams have collaborated with NOBLE ERG to launch a sponsorship and mentorship program that will create equitable advancement, offer professional development and access to our Black talent. The From Every Chair, Leadership & Development Program will ensure that our Black employees have the support and advocacy of senior executives and equitable access to leadership trainings, mentorship and career development opportunities as they navigate their career growth.

Sustainable, authentic change takes time, commitment and a clear vision. While we take the time to reflect and learn from others this month, it is imperative that we remember we are committed for the long term as part of our company’s Past, Present and Future.

We want to thank you for your collective leadership, and we thank NOBLE for the important reminder of our focus. We feel inspired, energized and ready to continue this work so that the present becomes a meaningful moment in our history that helped propel us to the future.

As always, be kind to one another and let’s keep our collective focus and spirit.


William Lauder
Executive Chairman
The Estée Lauder Companies

Fabrizio Freda
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Estée Lauder Companies

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