Following is a message that was shared with all Alcon associates globally.
Over the past two weeks, all of us at Alcon have been working to process and grieve the injustice that’s all too common among black lives in the United States. We have watched the horrifying death of George Floyd, which comes on the heels of the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, and many before them. Like you, I am outraged and angry at the persistence of racism and discrimination and loudly condemn it.
For me, personally, this has been a week of learning. I’ve received dozens of notes from Alcon associates, most encouraging us on our journey, and some with challenging insights. I’ve had conversations with a number of you directly and also discussed this topic with the leadership team and several of our Board members. And on Friday, African Ancestry Cultivating Excellence (AACE), one of our employee resource groups, hosted a conversation that was honest, instructive, and most importantly, essential. Thank you all for engaging in this important dialogue.
As a new company, I have asked us to think of Alcon much like a start-up where we can create a new culture driven by our noble purpose of innovating products that help people see brilliantly. To succeed, Alcon must be a place where we listen to truly understand everyone’s unique perspective and where we all take the time for impactful dialogue, even when it is uncomfortable and difficult. We must be a place where everyone feels heard and valued for their unique perspective and experiences—not only because it helps strengthen our ability to serve customers and patients—but importantly, because it’s the right thing to do.
Following on from last week’s communications from the executive team, it feels important to outline some of our intended actions. We commit to review and improve programs that strengthen diversity and our culture. These include our support for minority-owned suppliers, our talent acquisition and talent management processes, and our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). We will further the efforts of the Alcon Foundation and Alcon Cares that support the needs of the communities we serve, and provide eye care programs, education and other services to underserved populations around the world. In the coming weeks, we will also begin reporting annually on ethnic and gender diversity at Alcon. I look forward to providing you with updates on our programs and metrics.
I often say we are fortunate to be in a business where we can wake up every day and know we are making a difference in peoples’ lives. In the context of these challenging times, I would remind us that durable change requires deliberate and sustained action. That’s how we will build a more inclusive culture that delivers a bright outcome for everyone.