American Express Announces $1 Billion Action Plan to Promote Racial, Ethnic and Gender Equity for Colleagues, Customers and Communities

·7-min read
  • Achieves 100% pay equity for colleagues globally

  • Sets goal to double spending with diverse suppliers and expand access to capital for minority-owned businesses

  • Commits to enhancing diverse representation and equal opportunity at all levels across the company

  • Increases funding and resources allocated to community organizations advancing racial equality and social justice

American Express (NYSE: AXP) today announced its action plan to advance its diversity, inclusion and equity priorities. The plan includes a series of internal and external initiatives, commitments and resources, supported by $1 billion in investments toward enhancing diverse representation and equal opportunities for its colleagues, customers and communities.

"American Express has a long-standing commitment to fostering an inclusive and welcoming workplace that reflects the diversity of the customers and communities we serve," said Stephen J. Squeri, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Central to this commitment is standing up against racism and eliminating barriers that have prevented people of all racial, ethnic and gender identities from having equal opportunities to pursue their aspirations. To build on the foundation of work we are doing to drive inclusion, equity and diversity, we are announcing several actions today to advance our progress against our priorities, with clear objectives and goals for which we will hold ourselves accountable."

To develop and execute on the next phase of the company’s strategy, earlier this year, American Express formed the Office of Enterprise Inclusion, Diversity and Business Engagement, which will be responsible for driving these programs and measuring the company’s progress against its objectives.

"American Express is built on relationships based on trust and respect, and by embedding inclusion and diversity into everything we do," said Robert Childs, Executive Vice President of the Office of Enterprise Inclusion, Diversity and Business Engagement. "We are committed to mobilizing our collective resources across the company to make an even greater impact for our colleagues, customers and communities. Our goal is to eliminate barriers that have made it more difficult for underrepresented groups to have equal access to economic and social opportunities."

BACKING OUR COLLEAGUES AND ADVANCING OUR INCLUSIVE CULTURE

American Express is committed to fostering an inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace where colleagues of all backgrounds can bring their whole selves to work and thrive. To ensure its colleagues reflect the diversity of the communities it serves, the company is taking additional steps, including:

  • Achieving and Maintaining 100% Pay Equity: A cornerstone of American Express’ inclusive culture is equal pay for equal work. The company has made investments over the years to ensure colleagues in the same job, level and location are compensated fairly regardless of gender globally and race and ethnicity in the U.S. In 2019, the company achieved pay parity, meaning differences in pay were statistically insignificant. This year, American Express went even further and made additional investments to achieve full pay parity, reaching 100% pay equity for colleagues across genders globally and across races and ethnicities in the U.S. The company is committed to maintaining this level going forward.

  • Enhancing Colleague Representation: As of the end of 2019, Black/African American and Latinx people represented 12.5% and 12.9%, respectively, of American Express’ U.S. workforce, and female colleagues comprised more than 50% of the company’s global workforce. To ensure more balanced representation at all levels of the company, American Express has a comprehensive strategy that encompasses recruitment, hiring and promotion practices to attract, develop and retain underrepresented colleagues, including Black/African American, Latinx and female colleagues. To further inform the company’s diversity, career and learning strategies and strengthen its inclusive culture, American Express has launched a voluntary Self-Identification initiative providing colleagues the opportunity to share their diversity information with the company.

BACKING OUR CUSTOMERS AND BUSINESS PARTNERS

American Express’ vision is to provide the world’s best customer experience, which includes promoting equal economic opportunity for its diverse customer base and business partners.

  • Double Spend with Diverse Suppliers: American Express plans to double its spend with diverse and minority-owned suppliers in the U.S. to $750 million annually by the end of 2024. This includes increasing spend with Black-owned suppliers to at least $100 million annually.

  • Expand Access to Capital and Financial Education: The company is committed to providing access to capital and financial education to at least 250,000 Black-owned small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. This includes working with Accion Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit organization focused on financial health, to provide minority-owned businesses with increased access to capital to help them grow and thrive. The company is also partnering with IFundWomen of Color to provide 100 Black female entrepreneurs with grants of $25,000 each and access to 100 days of business resources to help them grow their ventures.

  • Evolve Its Product Experiences, Marketing and Services: American Express will develop more inclusive marketing initiatives, as well as design and build product experiences and programs that better meet the needs of underrepresented consumer and business customers, including programs that help to amplify the voices of the Black and Latinx community and drive revenue to minority small business owners. In addition, American Express will increase its investment in advocacy and financial education programs geared toward helping underrepresented customers.

BACKING OUR COMMUNITIES

American Express will allocate more resources to its community initiatives and charitable contributions that are focused on addressing systemic racism and advancing equality. These include:

  • Furthering Philanthropic Support: The company plans to provide $50 million in grants by the end of 2024 to support nonprofit organizations around the world that are led by people of color or underrepresented groups, including organizations that are focused on addressing inequality and promoting social justice. This funding will build on the company’s existing efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • Elevating the Next Generation of Leaders: The American Express Leadership Academy, which provides training and networking opportunities to help emerging nonprofit and social purpose leaders to advance their skills, will seek to increase the representation of participants in U.S. programs who are people of color from 50% in 2019 to 75% by 2024. Globally, the American Express Leadership Academy will continue to provide opportunities for nonprofit leaders to advance various causes, including those of social justice and equality, in the communities they serve around the world.

  • Making an Impact through Giving: American Express will continue to back its colleagues’ and customers’ passion for driving positive change in their local communities. Earlier this month, the company announced a significant expansion of its Give2Gether charitable gift matching initiative through a partnership with charitable giving community, GlobalGiving, to facilitate and match donations by colleagues in over 30 locations around the world.

Additional information about American Express’ efforts to address racial inequality and social issues can be found in a more detailed fact sheet as well as in the company’s 2019-2020 Environmental, Social and Governance report.

ABOUT AMERICAN EXPRESS

American Express is a globally integrated payments company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, instagram.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

Key links to products, services and corporate responsibility information: charge and credit cards, business credit cards, travel services, gift cards, prepaid cards, merchant services, Accertify, InAuth, corporate card, business travel, and corporate responsibility.

Source: American Express Company

Location: Global

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties, contain words such as "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "intend," "plan," "goal," "commit," "will," "may," "should," "could," "would," "likely" and similar expressions. Actual results may differ from those set forth in the forward‐looking statements due to a variety of factors, including those described in the company's Annual Report on Form 10‐K for the year ended December 31, 2019, the Quarter Reports on Form 10-Q for the quarters ended March 31, June 30 and September 30, 2020 and the company’s other reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward‐looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they are made. The company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements.

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Contacts

American Express
Rohan Ramsay
212-640-7034
Rohan.Ramsay@aexp.com

Andrew Johnson
212-640-8610
Andrew.R.Johnson@aexp.com