Home improvement retailer The Home Depot announced Sept. 15 it will prepare racial equity and deforestation assessments in response to shareholder proposals from the company’s 2022 shareholder meeting. The assessments will expand on the information previously shared in the company’s annual Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report on the progress of the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs, sustainability and environmental efforts, and actions taken to combat deforestation. Both assessments will be conducted by a third-party firm.
The assessments will help Home Depot benchmark its DEI and responsible forestry programs, highlight ways the company is upholding its commitments and potentially identify opportunities to enrich its efforts, according to a news release.
Home Depot’s Office of DEI leads the company’s diversity reporting, which includes gender, ethnicity and pay equity data for the company’s workforce. The company has numerous initiatives designed to increase the diversity of its workforce, promote inclusion, amplify support for diverse suppliers, and enrich the communities it serves. In 2020, the company added an explicit focus on equity to promote fairness, combat bias and ensure associates and business partners have access to the resources they need to succeed at work. In 2021, Home Depot spent $3.3 billion with Tier I diverse suppliers and recently announced a goal to spend $5 billion annually by 2025. Home Depot’s U.S. workforce is consistently more ethnically diverse than the U.S. working population, based on U.S. Department of Labor data.
Home Depot’s sustainable forestry initiatives extend more than 25 years and reflect the company’s recognition that responsible forest management is essential to protecting the health of the world’s ecosystems, biodiversity, and the more than one billion people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. The company works with suppliers that adhere to set standards of forest management and tree species selection. To help protect endangered forests and support efforts to preserve timber for future generations, the company first issued its Wood Purchasing Policy in 1999. Since then, Home Depot has continued to work to lead its suppliers to understand and practice sustainable forestry throughout the world. The deforestation report, together with the company’s plan to participate in the CDP forests survey, will provide greater transparency and highlight the company’s efforts to ensure its sustainable forestry operations drive positive change.
The company expects to publicly release its reports on these assessments by the end of its fiscal 2023 year.