A former marketing manager at TruTV, Vice Media and ABC News has developed theBlack Dollar Index (BDI), a platformthat rates publicly traded companiesaccording to their contributions toracial justice or injustice.
The idea is to inform Black consumers, who spend about $1.4 trillion onconsumer goods annually, about corporate practices so that they can holdcompanies accountable.
“The Black Dollar Index is an
THE BDI SCORING SYSTEM
accountability tool that we can build
upon for generations to come,” said
Kelle Rozell, BDI Founder, in a state-
ment. “Our goal is to work hand-in-
hand with these corporations to make
real, infrastructural change because as
Americans, we want racial justice and as
consumers we want options.”
The index grew out of protests in
2020 following the murders of Breonna
Taylor, George Floyd and others, which
spurred many corporations to pledge
their support for social justice efforts.
“It became imperative to create a plat-
form for consumers to hold corporations
accountable and seek transparency on
these commitments moving forward,”
according to BDI.
The BDI index rates companies on a
scale of 1 to 100 according to five quan-
titative factors, which contribute a total
80% to their scores, and four qualitative
factors, which contribute the remaining
20%. A company that scores under 70
is deemed “not yet approved.” A score
between 71 and 80 is “fair,” between 80
and 90 “good,” and from 91 to 100, “great.”
The quantitative factors behind these
ratings are the percentage of directors
and other company leaders who are
Black as well as the share of employ-
ees who are Black compared with the
broader U.S. population.
The qualitative factors are diversityand inclusion initiatives at a company andat its suppliers as well as known negativeracial claims made against a company andsignificant investments in Black initiatives — both made over the past five years.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., whochairs the House Democratic Caucus,said the index is “important work thatsits at the intersection of racial and economic justice … [and] will provide thenecessary information to allow us to bebetter change agents for racial equity.”
According to the BDI website, the ratings of financial firms run the gamut fromnear-bottom ratings for private equityfirms like KKR, Blackstone and the CarlyleGroup, to relatively high ratings for financial giants like American Express, Bankof America and Wells Fargo — all scoring above 70. In between were GoldmanSachs and Morgan Stanley — scoring inthe 40s — and JPMorgan and Citigroup,scoring in the 60s.
SEC STEPS UP REVIEW OF CLIMATE-
SEC acting Chair Allison Herren Lee
has directed the commission’s Division
of Corporation Finance to enhance its
focus on climate-related disclosure in
public company filings.
She is asking SEC staff to reviewthe extent to which public companiesaddress topics identified in the commission’s 2010 guidance concerningclimate change disclosure and comply with current disclosure obligations under the federal securities laws,according to a statement.
“Now more than ever, investors are
considering climate-related issues
when making their investment deci-
sions,” Lee said in her statement on this
initiative. “It is our responsibility to
ensure that they have access to material
information when planning for their
SEC staff will use insights from their
reviews and from engagement with
companies on those issues to begin
updating the commission’s 2010 guid-
ance, also taking into account develop-
ments over the past decade, according to
In early February, Lee named SatyamKhanna, a former SEC attorney to thenew position of senior policy advisor forclimate and ESG (environmental, socialand governance) in the acting chair’soffice of the SEC.
The 2010 SEC guidance instructscompanies to consider disclosing thematerial impact of existing and pendingclimate-related legislation and regulations, including international accords,on their operations. They are alsoinstructed to consider disclosing theimpact of physical climate change risks,such as property damage and businessinterruption, on their business.
Bernice Napach can be reached email@example.com.
ESG HORIZONSBy Bernich Napach
New Index Rates Companies on Racial Justice CriteriaAlso, the SEC is reviewing climate-related disclosures.