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As retailers like Sephora begin delivering on diversity pledges, experts say 'much remains to be seen' about the industry's newest efforts to help minority-owned businesses

As retailers like Sephora begin delivering on diversity pledges, experts say 'much remains to be seen' about the industry's newest efforts to help minority-owned businesses

A display from a "Sephora loves Fenty Beauty by Rihanna" store event in Milan.
Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images for Sephora loves Fenty Beauty by Rihanna




Following national protests over the summer in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, many retailers made public promises to improve diversity and inclusion practices, but only some are starting to deliver on results.




Sephora on Wednesday published findings from an extensive study on racial bias, along with a list of updated policies informed by the findings. Still, efforts among other companies "remain to be seen," said Damian Bender, general manager of the multicultural digital media company B Code Media.




Experts told Insider that efforts like the 15 Percent Pledge fail to account for the lack of resources still needed by many small, minority-owned business owners who are still struggling to get on the shelves of national retail chains.




"We need these brands to not just be in shelf space. We want continuous shelf space," Jade Sykes, cofounder of the non-profit Diversify Retail, told Insider.




Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.


While a slew of retailers have made public declarations to improve diversity and inclusion across their companies, experts say there is still significant work to be done to push pledges beyond lip service to make lasting change. More than six months after protests erupted around the country, following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, brands are working to deliver on promises made to improve equality in the workplace and across the retail industry. Sephora, for example, published the results of an extensive study on racial bias in retail on Wednesday, along with a coinciding list of updated new policies informed by the findings.The beauty company is also one of many brands participating in the 15 Percent Pledge, a call to action for retailers to commit 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands created in the wake of the protests. "We know it will be a journey, but we're committed to holding ourselves accountable to this mission for the benefit of our clients, our employees, our communities, and the retail industry at large," Jean-AndrA© Rougeot, president and CEO of Sephora Americas, said in a statement.
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