IMPALA, the pan-European independent music companies’ trade body, has adopted a 12-point diversity and inclusion charter.
Published in full today (Oct. 21), the charter sets out a dozen commitments based on European fundamental rights which cover gender, ethnicity, religion, belief, disability, age and sexual orientation, political beliefs and more.
As part of the ongoing process, IMPALA will roll out initiatives and projects intended to make change sustainable longer term, with targets of 5-10 years.
“Not discriminating isn’t enough. We must be anti-discriminatory and consciously inclusive,” reads a statement issued Wednesday morning.
Following today’s big reveal, guidance and training for members, surveys to gauge diversity and other measures will be put in place, the goal of which is to promote inclusion and diversity across the European independent sector.
Those commitments include the mapping and sharing of examples of best practices across Europe; the appointment of a diversity advocate for the lobby body’s board and each of its committees; and the launch of a new program of European and national awards to cast the spotlight on those in the music space working on diversity and inclusion.
IMPALA’s charter was prepared by a diversity task force, with veteran British artist manager and label executive Keith Harris OBE appointed as adviser.
IMPALA’s charter was produced by a special diversity task force with Keith Harris OBE as adviser. Focus is pragmatic, building on European fundamental rights covering ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, disability etc, with a view to the long term. pic.twitter.com/Ws6ECCO7UN
— IMPALA (@IMPALAMusic) October 21, 2020
Work on it kicked off in June following a rescheduling of IMPALA’s board meeting to respect #BlackOutTuesday, and pressed on with weekly task force meetings chaired by Eva Karman Reinhold from SOM, the Swedish independents organization, and Paul Pacifico from AIM in the U.K.
“Inspiring change is a vital part of IMPALA’s mission and this is what our charter seeks to achieve,” comments Helen Smith, executive chair of IMPALA. Very much “a European approach,” she continues, “we have focused on fundamental rights within a broad and pragmatic package which can be rolled out on a voluntary basis and adapted to each country. Keith Harris’ input has been invaluable and our ongoing collaboration will help us measure and adjust as we proceed, to ensure we achieve structural and lasting change.”
IMPALA’s membership covers some 30 European countries, all of whom are culturally different. There’s no “one size fits all” solution, notes the trade association, though localized steps can be applied in each market.
National association and company members will be invited to use its charter’s principles in their own work on a voluntary basis and adapt, should they choose.
“We will speak out and use the power of the music sector’s voice as a catalyst for change,” reads an IMPALA statement. “IMPALA wants positive change in terms of our diversity. We believe that this is the right thing to do, and that diversity will grow and strengthen our sector. IMPALA will help make the case that diversity is good for business and creativity.”
According to the organization, 99% of Europe’s music companies are micro, small or medium-sized independent enterprises and self-releasing artists. Collectively they produce more than 80% of all new releases and account for 80% of the sector’s jobs.
Read the charter here.