Introducing our First CitizenSnap Report
Editor's note: Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent the following memo to all Snap team members on July 29.
Today we are releasing our first-ever CitizenSnap report, which explains the way we operate our business and support our team, our community, and our partners – as well as, more broadly, our society and environment. This report, which also details our diversity, equity and inclusion efforts and related data, reflects our belief that it is in Snap’s best interest to contribute to creating a society that is healthy and an environment that is clean and safe, so that our business is able to reach its full potential. We want to profit as a byproduct of the success of our team, community, and partners – not at their expense.
This means that we define our success in terms of our relationships and the way we treat our team, our community, and our partners. We strive to build win-win-win partnerships where all parties benefit from shared success. Corporate citizenship is not an accessory to our business, it reflects the way we do business.
We are headquartered in the United States, a country with a unique history of corporate personhood, with equal protection guaranteed by the 14th Amendment to its Constitution (ratified during Reconstruction following the Civil War). The US government and courts have made clear that businesses participate in society not simply as profit-maximizing machines, but rather as fellow citizens – with accompanying rights and responsibilities. Our responsibilities extend beyond basic compliance with the laws of the countries where we operate to also include a commitment to making a positive difference.
In the US, we have learned that we cannot move forward without acknowledging our past and recognizing that we are here today at the expense of other people. The wealth of our nation was built on stolen land and stolen labor: enslaved people laid the economic foundation for our national prosperity, as did the forcible taking of expansive lands from indigenous people. Our headquarters in Los Angeles sits on land originally belonging to the Chumash and Tongva.
To understand that African American families hold roughly one-tenth the wealth of white American families on average is, necessarily, an indictment of our behavior. As is the fact that Native Americans had a poverty rate in 2018 more than two-and-a-half times higher than that of white Americans. These facts do not reflect the values that we seek to realize.
It is clear that we have a choice: allow these inequities to be perpetuated in the United States – or do our part to better fulfill the shared values we seek to uphold as a society. It would be misleading to suggest that even our most strenuous efforts as a business are capable of creating broad societal change, given the massive and ongoing structural inequities and policies in the United States that invest unevenly in our citizens, but we will not stand idly by and do nothing. We cannot do it alone, but we will do our part.
We will use our voice, our corporate personhood, to advocate for the investments we must make in the future of our country – to alleviate poverty, provide educational opportunity, build the necessary digital infrastructure, and confront our history of injustice. These efforts begin inside our business, with the things that we can most directly impact, like our pay practices, hiring and inclusion programs, tax strategy, supply chain, and energy consumption. We want to ensure that all members of our team, our community, and our partners feel understood and appreciated – celebrated – for who they are: each person equal in their differences.
Please consider our first CitizenSnap report a “rough draft”, an explanation of how we are going about these efforts, and reflective of our desire to learn, grow, and iterate. There is no doubt that today we fall short of our aspirations. We have an overwhelming amount of work to do, and our team feels strongly that it is important to hold ourselves accountable publicly. We believe that the greatest long-term limitation on the growth of Snap is the success of our broader society, and we will invest accordingly.