The letter also calls for the creation of an anonymous platform where employees can report instances of racism and discrimination, and for protection against retaliation.
“Our employees have courageously raised their voices to people in positions of power; they have called out the fact that we are not representative of the communities we profit from and we lack the leadership, processes, and goals that will enable us to get there,” the letter reads.
The letter also asks the company’s Supervisory Board to “investigate whether we have the right approach and behavior from our (chief human resources officer) to tackle this issue within Adidas.” It adds that employees believe it is “important that our approach to tackling these issues is modeled by our highest ranks of leadership, especially in HR where its purpose is the health and performance of the organization.”
“Adidas and Reebok have always been and will always be against discrimination in all forms and we stand united against racism,” the company said in a statement to CNN. “Our Black employees have led the response that we will continue to implement together and that we have committed to as a company. We are now concentrating our efforts on making progress and creating real change immediately.”
She did not respond directly to a request for comment on this story. However, Adidas said Parkin is currently working with a coalition of employees on the company’s global diversity and inclusion commitments.
“You have all seen our announcements over the past several days that outline what we are committed to do to confront the cultural and systemic forces that sustain racism,” Parkin said in a statement that was released to Adidas employees last week. “We know we must do more to create an environment in which everyone feels safe, heard and with equal opportunity to advance in your careers.”
The company also acknowledged in last week’s announcement that its actions might be “too little, too late.”
“We’ve celebrated athletes and artists in the Black community and used their image to define ourselves culturally as a brand, but missed the message in reflecting such little representation within our walls,” the company’s statement reads.
Some Adidas employees believe the company’s actions are insufficient. They are calling on leadership to make an explicit apology for racism within the company and to be transparent about the additional steps it plans to take.
“All of the Brand’s commitments to date are symptomatic change, and fails to recognize and unearth why our employees continue to experience racism and discrimination,” the letter reads. “Public apology and acknowledgment is required as the start of anti-racism work and is the foundation for any of our ‘actions’ as a company can effectively land.”
In her statement to employees this week, Parkin said she “should have chosen a better word” during the meeting and apologized if she had offended anyone.
“As the Executive Board Member responsible for HR, it was my responsibility to make clear our definitive stance against discrimination, and this I did not,” Parkin said. “My team and I are fully committed to improve our company culture to ensure equity, diversity and opportunity. That’s a promise. That is my promise.”