Our Stance On Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

This stance defines how Counter Tools approaches equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) with our current partners and clients and those we have the opportunity to work with in the future. Included is our overall vision and key ways we will continue to address equity, diversity, and inclusion.

At Counter Tools, we feel it is important to provide this stance as conversations around race, discrimination, inclusion, justice, and equity have risen to the forefront of discourse in recent times. More specifically, with the COVID-19 pandemic, issues around police brutality, racism, and other systemic challenges, we believe it is key for organizations to be bold at this time and contribute to this important effort. We have given extensive thought to our approach in how we will better address equity, diversity, and inclusion, and we will continue to prioritize this as a focus going forward.

We want to acknowledge that we are not “experts” in this work and are putting careful consideration into what we do and put out there. We are continually learning, referencing credible sources, and looking at other organizations and entities for guidance on how to best engage partners and clients in this work.

This stance presents tangible ways we can help make change alongside our partners and clients. We have always been a strong believer in advancing place-based public health and want to operationalize our work through an equity, diversity, and inclusion lens. We have recently shared our COVID-19 statement, and this equity, diversity, and inclusion stance presents another immediate step in showing our commitment to our partners and clients and our drive for change.

About Counter Tools

Counter Tools knows that place has a profound impact on the health of individuals. The spaces where we live, work, learn, and play — our homes, schools, neighborhoods, and nearby stores — determine our access to healthy living. We recognize that not every individual or community has equal access to healthy spaces and opportunities. Structural elements (e.g., institutional racism, environmental injustice) along with industry targeting impact exposure, availability, and access to both healthy and unhealthy products.

At Counter Tools, our mission is to empower communities to become healthier places. We work with our partners to advance place-based public health and health equity through policy, systems, and environmental changes. We aim to reduce the detrimental impact of unhealthy products such as tobacco, alcohol, and non-nutritious food at the consumer’s primary point of exposure and access, the retail environment. We envision a nation where healthy living is equitable across communities and every person has access to healthful choices.

EDI Vision Statement

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are important to Counter Tools and core values in the work we do. A majority of our work focuses on tobacco, and we know that the tobacco industry specifically targets certain groups, such as people of color, youth, LGBTQIA+ individuals, and low-income communities. We strive to actively combat this industry influence on marginalized groups and strengthen our efforts to address equity both internally as an organization and externally with our partners and clients.

We want our work with our partners and clients to reflect the communities we collectively serve, address health disparities, and strive towards a more equitable world. We aim to continue to do work in service to our mission and vision, in that we empower and equip communities with the resources, knowledge, and understanding necessary to combat racism, health disparities, and inequality.

As an organization, we can uphold the status quo or help change it; we want to be a part of the change. Change starts from within, and we are holding ourselves accountable to improve as an organization. We also feel it is important to strengthen our efforts externally to address equity, diversity, and inclusion. The below outlines and explains the steps we will take and support we will give to our partners and clients so that we are all walking on a purposeful journey together.

Addressing EDI

The below are ways we, as an organization, aim to work with our partners and clients to address, act upon, better understand, and talk about equity, diversity and inclusion.

Contracting

  • Before and at the start of a new contract or renewal, we will talk with each state and come to an understanding on how equity, diversity, and inclusion fit into the larger context and what should be done under contract deliverables to fulfill these aims.
  • Throughout the contract period, we will check in with states to assess how much focus has been paid to equity, diversity, and inclusion and what the additional opportunities are.

Training

  • We will provide equity and disparities-related training in a tobacco, food and/or alcohol context.
  • We will continue to conduct webinars in our “Healthy POS Webinar Series” that express the importance of considering equity, diversity, and inclusion in all public health and place-based related work.

Providing Resources

  • We commit to sharing current research and findings on disparities and the impact of racism on populations as we acquire them.
  • We will continue to post content on our website, CounterTobacco.org, on how different populations and groups are affected by the marketing and sale of tobacco products in the retail environment.
  • During and after trainings, we will share any equity, diversity, and inclusion-focused resources that relate to what was discussed.

Sharing Data

  • We will provide more integration of data on disparities, neighborhood characteristics, and other relevant measures in our software tools, the Store Audit Center, Store Mapper and POST.
  • We will make sure information on race, ethnicity, age, gender and other aspects of diversity are included in all communication materials (e.g., infographics) we create as they relate to the material content.

Advocacy

  • We commit to calling out the effects of racism and seizing opportunities to publicly declare our stance and guide practitioners towards solutions. This may include providing letters of support, speaking up during external calls and webinars, and publicly advocating for groups and organizations working in this space over social media.

Consultation

  • We will provide personalized consultation on topics around structural racism and disparities, as it relates to place-based public health and the retail environment, for partners and clients who need this more in-depth support.

Partnerships

  • We strive to actively seek out and make strong partnerships with local and national organizations that align with our vision and do work around equity.

Operations

  • We commit to diversity when selecting our suppliers and vendors.
  • We commit to strengthening our hiring practices and diversifying our workplace when hiring additional team members in the future.

We hope the above provides insight into our strong stance on equity, diversity, and inclusion here at Counter Tools, and we are open and willing to provide discussion, dialogue, support, and work with our partners and clients in these areas on a continual and long-term basis. It takes the work of many allies and advocates and requires both small and large steps to make change. We want to do our part and look towards a better, more equitable future alongside our partners and clients.

If you have any questions on this stance and/or want to learn more about our organization, email us at hello@countertools.org.

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