The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)
The Home Depot logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Home Depot)

Home improvement retailer Home Depot announced it will prepare racial equity and deforestation assessments in response to shareholder proposals from the company’s 2022 annual meeting of shareholders. The assessments will expand on the information shared in the company’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) report on the progress of the company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs, sustainability and environmental efforts, and actions taken to combat deforestation. Home Depot said both assessments will be conducted by a third party firm with “recognized expertise.”

Home Depot’s ESG efforts include proactive initiatives and goals around three pillars: focus on people, operate sustainability, and strengthen communities. The company said the planned assessments will help the retailer benchmark its DEI and responsible forestry programs, highlight the ways the company is upholding its commitments, and potentially identify opportunities to enrich its efforts.

Home Depot said it has numerous initiatives designed to increase the diversity of its workforce, promote inclusion, amplify support for diverse suppliers, and enrich the communities it serves. In 2020, Home Depot added an explicit focus on equity to promote fairness, combat bias, and ensure associates and business partners have access to the resources they need to succeed at work. In 2021, the company spent $3.3 billion with Tier I diverse suppliers and recently announced a goal to spend $5 billion annually by 2025.

In terms of sustainable forestry initiatives, Home Depot works with suppliers that adhere to set standards of forest management and tree species selection. To help protect endangered forests and support efforts to preserve timber for future generations, the company first issued its Wood Purchasing Policy in 1999. The deforestation report, together with the company’s plan to participate in the CDP forests survey, will provide greater transparency and highlight the company’s efforts to ensure its sustainable forest operations drive positive change, according to Home Depot.

Home Depot expects to publicly release its reports on these assessments by the end of its fiscal 2023 year.