POCAM launches its tool to track equity commitments

The fully transparent listing aims to keep companies accountable, as well as show BIPOC talent where they will find support.

One year after the release of its open letter calling for a more just and equitable industry, People of Colour in Advertising and Marketing is launching a tracker to hold signatories accountable to the commitments they made.

The tracker, available on POCAM’s website, is a new tool that allows the 100 industry organizations that signed the commitment to self-report their progress toward completing its demands. The Call for Equity contained 15 demands, with clients asked to commit to all of them and other organizations in the industry asked to commit to 12.

The tool is also fully transparent: every company that committed is listed on the tracker, with a count of how many they have completed. Clicking on individual companies and agencies brings up a list of which commitments they’ve completed, as well as links to things like diversity reports and statistics they’ve published elsewhere. For those commitments that are still in progress, companies are able to report what they’ve done so far and when they intend to be fully completed.

The tracker was created to give those organizations that have made progress a chance to share it, but also to challenge those that have yet to do so.

“This is systemic change that takes a lot of work and resources on top of the will to do what’s right, and with so many competing pressures relating to short-term business outcomes, it’s easy to do one or two actions and begin to move on to the next challenge,” says Ishma Alexander-Huet, a member of POCAM’s steering committee, as well as VP, client advice and management and head of learning and culture at Initiative.

“Our hope is that the measurability and transparency of this tracker not only increases the likelihood of honouring commitments, but provides tangible actions that can amount to systemic change,” she adds.

One goal for the tracker is to prevent inaction and empty promises.

“As a community, we’ve seen conversation lead to inaction many times before,” explains Alexander-Huet.

Because of the nature of the Call for Equity, it “can easily be used as a form of virtue signalling,” Joshua Richards, tech director at Klick Health and project lead on the tracker, said in a release. The tracker will “help the industry self-report and hold itself accountable for the actions they committed to.”

But the tracker can also provide both organizations and individual professionals with a better idea of where they can expect to find support within the industry.

“Companies are in very different places as it relates to change,” notes Alexander-Huet. “The dialogue started by this tracker will prompt some of those in the beginning stages to learn how to move forward, and will allow members of the BIPOC community to make informed decisions about where we want to work.”