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Flying the flag for people, planet and purpose

White Camino’s founder Melissa Fretwell caught up with fellow founder and newly qualified skipper, Tim Hughes at The Brief Doctor to chew over all things diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), why it’s core to creativity especially when we’re here to crack the biggest marketing brief yet. David Attenborough so neatly articulated it back in 2020; “saving our planet is now a communications challenge. We know what to do, we just need the will.” And changing mindsets while urgent, is a journey.

Many a fun tangent ahoy but first up, having just ‘come out’ of Pride Month, it’s interesting to see which businesses are changing mindsets by simply hoisting a rainbow flag above their office, and which are putting LGBTQ+ representation into their boardrooms. Is there a correlation between diverse inclusive businesses and ones prepared to put their money where their mouth is on social and environmental issues. What’s simply a bit of good tactical PR and what is creative community engagement.

Virgin Atlantic, turning 40 next year, has always been at the vanguard of diversity and self expression, living their values through their inclusive advertising, staffing and most recently uniform policy, allowing for non-gendered and multi-gendered expression for cabin crew and ground staff, but it’s not always easy, safe or legal to champion gender identities and sexual orientations around the world. Then you get to the environmental question, we know aviation is problematic environmentally, so how does a progressive brand balance purpose with practicalities? Is it one step forward and two steps back, or are we as consumers asking our brands to be braver and more impactful than our politicians?

When you look at the gender pay gap over all industries in 2023, well only one in ten pay female and male employees equivalent wages (where the difference is zero or less than 0.5% in either direction). Channel 4 have, however, been working hard to tackle this targeting a 50-50 gender balance in the top 100 earners this year. Currently women make up 49% of this group so reasons to be hopeful.

According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Future of Jobs Report April 2023, a majority of companies will prioritise women (79%), youth under 25 (68%) and those with disabilities (51%) as part of their DEI programmes. A minority will prioritise those from a disadvantaged religious, ethnic or racial background (39%), workers over age 55 (36%), those who identify as LGBTQ+ (35%) and those from a low income background (33%). So minorities working with minorities is pitifully slow progress.

Thanks for mentioning this Whitney fans. We’re all about investing in the next generation of diverse, talented, energetic live minds to keep our businesses vital. When you look specifically at Gen Z already in work, 68% of them according to Manpower, are not satisfied with their organisation’s progress in creating a diverse and inclusive work environment. 56% of Gen Z workers would not accept a role without diverse leadership. There is an assumption that gender inequalities are improving, but data suggests that fewer women than men are trained. Match this with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal numero 10: “Reduced Inequalities” and the urgency builds. We need to bump this up the priority list.

So what if you’re on the hunt for your first dream, creative job? The drawbridge is up for pretty much anyone who isn’t white middle-class or born without a nepotistic network. Yes it might be lowered for the annual intern or apprentice recruit but there’s still awfully high walls, the expense of working in London and difficulty finding the magic kingdom in the first place, especially if you are from a lower socio-economic background. The odds are stacked highly against you.

According to our pals at the WEF, analytical thinking and creative thinking remain the most important skills for workers in 2023. Creative thinking, another cognitive skill, although the fastest growing, ranks second, ahead of three self-efficacy skills – resilience, flexibility and agility; motivation and self-awareness; and curiosity and lifelong learning. Media, Entertainment and Sport put a high value on cognitive skills at 24% vs. engagement skills at 11%. Yet the Government keeps shouting about Maths and Science being the only subjects of any value.

So why are we banging on about this? Well, we think creativity relies on diverse voices and welcoming the next generation of problem solvers from the margins and the mainstream to mix it up and help tackle some of the biggest challenges in our lifetime. “Businesses predict the strongest net job-creation effect to be driven by investments that facilitate the green transition of businesses, the broader application of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) standards and supply chains becoming more localised, albeit with job growth offset by partial job displacement in each case. Climate change adaptation and the demographic dividend in developing and emerging economies also rate high as net job creators.” In laymans, going green and being creative is big business.

Who’s going to help crack the circular economy and prove that there is a sustainable future? We need to shift from profit to people and planet, a living system where the individual is valued for their unique skills and qualities, where every decision is made through a sustainability lens. A world where marketing may be less about selling products and more about delivering valued services. Check out B Corp brands like Lucky Saint and Tonys Chocoloney for inspo.

What if we could inspire creativity in the classroom to help solve some of the environmental issues which will directly impact the next working generation? Generation Alpha is the first generation where race, gender and sexual orientation shouldn't affect their opportunities, but the massive difference in wealth distribution will. Creativity is the greatest equaliser, we need governments and philanthropists to invest in arts and culture at grass roots and early education levels. Creative thinking is the way forward.

  1. Work directly with grassroots organisations who need your support like the Ideas Foundation who deliver powerful, award-winning educational programmes centred on creativity into the classrooms of schools and colleges who are usually sidelined

  2. Be part of evolving your company culture where DEI, sustainability and the next generation are at the heart

  3. Get carbon literate to understand where you can be part of the climate crisis solution

  4. Create a marcomms strategy with sustainability and creative experimentation at its core - we can help with that

  5. Work hard on keeping your unconscious biases in check, this is a life long project for all of us!

Thanks for reading and if you want to be brave and chat through any of these topics, drop us a line here. If you’re keen to find out more about the wonderful work of The Brief Doctor, check it out here.

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Lizzie Knights
Lizzie Knights
Jul 03, 2023

An interesting read with some very relatable points - I was only arguing last week about inclusion and how it's easy to talk the talk but this means nothing if you don't also walk the walk !

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