Issue 023 / Racist Advertising, Cigarettes & The Fiercest Little Lady You’ll Encounter This Week

Reconsidered is a bi-weekly newsletter curating thought-provoking content on corporate social responsibility, sustainability and social impact. Click here to subscribe. 

This Week's Five Links

The H&M Advert Clearly Didn't Mean to Be Racist – Which is Worrying in ItselfThe Independent
You’ve probably seen it on social media — a recent H&M advertisement featuring a young black child in a sweatshirt reading “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle”. It has sparked outrage, soured celebrity endorsements from The Weeknd and G-Eazy and resulted in a stock price dip of 2.6 percent. H&M immediately pulled the product and issued an apology (which, I have to agree with this commentator, felt pretty sincere as far as corporate “sorry statements” go). But even if the company didn’t mean to be racist, op-ed columnist Edward Adoo argues that negligence that results in “accidental" racism can be just as insidious as out-and-out bad faith. 

Philip Morris Says It Wants to Quit Cigarettes. But It’s Just Blowing Smoke. — Fortune
Through a bold ad campaign launched on January 1st, Philip Morris announced that its new years resolution is to "give up cigarettes" and phase out their sale in the U.K. The cigarette manufacturer also created a "Smoke Free Future" website providing smokers with information on quitting and cigarette alternatives. But anti-tobacco activists aren’t having it. This op-ed exposes some of the hypocrisy behind the ad, including efforts by Philip Morris to fight proven public health policies and aggressively promote cigarette sales in developing countries.

Tech Backlash Grows as Investors Press Apple to Act on Children’s UseThe New York Times
Last week, activist investors publicly demanded that Apple investigate the health consequences of its technologies, especially on children — the latest in a growing backlash against tech companies for the role they play in issues from electronics addiction, to hate speech, to the spread of “fake news” and foreign propaganda. 

Iceland is Trying to Close the Gender Pay Gap by Publicly Shaming CompaniesThe Washington Post
Kudos to Iceland — the first country to make gender-based wage inequality illegal. 🎉  A new law requires companies with more than 24 employees to get government certification that female employees are paid equally for the same work as their male colleagues. Failure to obtain certification could result in government fines — and makes it easier for citizens to name and shame non-compliant companies on social media. 

Netflix’s latest docu-series exposes the corrupt underbelly of the global food supply chain, “true crime” style. I’ve only watched the first episode, “Lawyers, Guns & Honey,” but already I’m hooked on the gorgeous visuals and suspenseful storytelling. Must watch. 

When your executives don’t come from diverse racial backgrounds, it makes it supremely difficult for them – and the people who work under them – to understand the hurt and distress caused by words like ‘monkey’ in the black community. It’s imperative to have people who can connect directly with their audience or customer base. This failure should be a wake-up call.
— Edward Adoo in "The H&M Advert Clearly Didn't Mean to Be Racist – Which is Worrying in Itself" (The Independent)

Spotlight On: This Fierce Lady


Not much to say, except YES. This girl gives me hope.

Reconsidered is curated by Jessica Marati Radparvar. If you enjoyed reading it, please consider sharing it!