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VF’s CEO sends memo to employees comparing racism to virus

Jun 4, 2020 United States
VF’s CEO sends memo to employees comparing racism to virus
In a letter sent to all employees entitled “Racism is another virus to eradicate” VF Chairman, President and CEO Steve Rendle compared racism to the coronavirus pandemic
VF Corporation, owner of brands Timberland, Vans and The North Face, is taking a stand against racial injustice as national unrest mounts following the death of George Floyd. In a message sent to all employees on the 30th of May, VF Chairman, President and CEO Steve Rendle compared racism to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I can’t help but draw comparisons between it and the global pandemic we’re currently facing. Why? Because both have been caused by a virus. The virus behind our global shutdown has a formal name: COVID-19. The virus that caused the death of George Floyd and many other people of colour also has a formal name. It is called racism. Unfortunately, our world only seems interested in finding a cure for one of these diseases. Racism is not welcome at VF Corporation. It never has been and never will be. And while we as a company can’t create a vaccine to eradicate racism from our planet, we can do our part to lead with purpose, inspire others with our actions, break down racial and ethnic barriers and be part of the solution. Unlike the coronavirus, we aren’t going to stay in our homes or hide from the racism virus. We’re going to continue to fight it, but do so through constructive and collaborative efforts, not destructive and violent protests”, commented VF's CEO.

Rendle additionally announced a number of concrete steps VF is taking to support its staff through these challenging times. The Inclusion & Diversity team is creating virtual venues for team members to gather, discuss and express emotions, with the company’s employee resources groups to elevate the topic “to a higher degree” internally. The Executive Inclusion & Diversity Council will be employed to help VF determine what actions it should take to support workers.

Image credits: Shane Rounce on Unsplash

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