World Day of Social Justice is celebrated by the UN every 20th of February. In this article, we will explain a little bit of the history of the day and go in depth about how and why it is important for your brand to get involved.
What is World Day of Social Justice?
World Day of Social Justice came to fruition on the 26th November 2007 when the United Nations General Assembly approved the idea for a day that promoted social justice globally.
The United Nations website explains the meaning behind this day stating the following: “Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants. We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.”
All United Nations celebrate this day annually on the 20th of February. Individuals are encouraged to think about how social justice affects them, their nation and people around the world. Companies often take this opportunity to show their support for social justice issues.
How are companies getting involved?
On World Day of Social Justice, companies can show their support and promote social justice in a variety of ways.
Many companies will make public statements about the issues of inequality and the importance of social justice or create content to be shared on their internal and external platforms, like a blog and social media channels. Some even create events to increase awareness or raise money for philanthropies.
This is also a great opportunity for companies to create, present and implement plans for how they will uphold the standards of social justice. For example, a company can make a plan to hire a more diverse workforce or promote the different nationalities of people in their company by celebrating different festivities throughout the year.
Here are just 5 examples of how small businesses around the world spent World Day of Social Justice:
Svitac (Firefly) Bosnia, a multi-ethnic youth arts and education program in Bosnia, organized age-appropriate activities where their students could learn about social justice.
A group of geography researchers at the University of Birmingham decided to celebrate the holiday by hosting lectures throughout the day about different social issues and collecting donations for a local charity that supported social justice.
Live Green Smart, a radio station that discusses all things green and eco-conscious, created a video called “Voices of Youth on Social Justice” where they interviewed young-adults around the world about their opinions on social justice.
The Boston 100 kept their message short and sweet and encouraged their clients to “do something to help others” in honor of the day.
Finally, Fiinovation, a consulting company, shared their own plan and tactics for promoting social justice.
Why is it important for my company to get involved?
Companies that service or support issues that are related to social justice can promote themselves by getting involved. For example, Partners In Health, a company that provides healthcare around the world posted a blog on World Day of Social Justice promoting the holiday while also promoting their own services and asking for donations.
Unfortunately, many companies that provide unrelated products or services may make claims like “we are a business, not a charity” thinking that it doesn’t really matter if their company gets involved in social issues at all.
Of course, showing your support for the greater good of society is always a good idea for companies. This shows customers that you care and people are more inclined to support a company that they feel is making a difference.
A study by Sprout Social published in Adweek proved that the majority of consumers (about two-thirds) actually prefer when brands take a stand on social and political issues.
We are increasingly seeing brands do this. Just last month Gilette published their “A Best A Man Can Be” commercial that brought light to the masculine culture, bullying and sexual harassment; furthermore, just two years ago Airbnb created their Superbowl ad promoting diversity after receiving claims of racism.
Of course, there is always a bottom line involved. Companies that take a stand and support social issues, in the right way, have an opportunity to make more money. For example, The Guardian published that Nike sales increased 31% after publishing the ad featuring Colin Kaepernick. There was a huge risk involved with this because of the controversy of the issue.
Supporting a day that promotes global social justice, is much easier to get behind because not only is it less controversial, but with the World Day of Social Justice on the calendar, there is an easy way to join the conversation that will already be happening.
For startups, positioning your business in a positive light from the beginning can make or break. Chiming in on a day like today can show your customers and stakeholders that you are a business with a heart– one worth supporting.
The Diversity Council Australia summed it up best when they said the following:
“Though social justice is often seen (thanks to its name) as a social issue, there’s a lot there for business to be concerned with. Prosperous coexistence" ...? Show us a C-suite that doesn't want that. Not to mention tackling, ‘barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.’”
What can I do?
Individuals and companies alike can do several things to show their support for World Day of Social Justice. As mentioned above, there are several companies that are already taking a stand and you should definitely follow their lead.
If you are not part of a company or if you simply want to do more on your own, here are a few things that you can do:
As recommended by Medium.com, you can:
Post about the movement on social media
Contact your friends and organize events at schools
Volunteer for organizations working for social justice and equality
Attend events and follow up with the stories of the people working for social justice
Additionally, Mic.com recommends you:
Call out injustice when you see it
Put your money where your mouth is (aka support the right companies)
Call your senators and representatives
Go out there and let your voice be heard on the 20th of February 2019!
As President of the General Assembly, John W. Ashe, said, “We must look forward to shaping a global sustainable development agenda that [includes] the eradication of extreme poverty as its center, inclusive of all actors, governmental and non-governmental alike, with the contributions of stakeholders from the private sector…”
Feeling good after reading this and wondering what other causes you can get behind this year? Last year, OneCoWork supported issues such as World Aids Day, World Diabetes Day, and Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Read these blogs to find out more about how you can get involved in making our world a better place.
Bre Gajewski is a Marketing Intern at OneCoWork, having just graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Alabama, in Public Relations.