Ariel’s Rogers Says Firms Must Work on Equality in Business Ties

Ariel Investments Co-Chief Executive Officer John Rogers said companies can work toward racial equality by becoming reliable customers of Black-owned businesses.

“Access to capital is important, but I actually think equally important is access to customers,” Rogers said Thursday at the Bloomberg Equality Summit.

Ariel’s Rogers Says Firms Must Work on Equality in Business Ties

He cited McDonald’s Corp., where he’s been a board member since 2003, to illustrate how major companies can promote Black-owned enterprises. In 2019, the fast-food giant spent almost $1 billion with Black suppliers, Rogers wrote last year in an op-ed for Fortune.

By becoming a customer of those businesses, “ultimately you’re able to build big businesses that employ hundreds of people and create a real wealth in specific communities,” he said Thursday.

A group of Black former McDonald’s franchisees recently brought a class-action lawsuit against the company, saying it engaged in discriminatory practices. The company denied the allegations.

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