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UPDATE 1-American Express to invest $1 bln in diversity push

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Oct 29 (Reuters) - American Express Co said on Thursday it was investing $1 billion to advance racial and gender equality, the latest in a line of U.S. companies pledging to promote social justice after a series of race-related protests earlier in the year.

The New York-based credit card issuer said it has achieved 100% pay equity for its employees and would continue to do so, as well as promote practices to hire and retain underrepresented colleagues, including Black, Latinx and female colleagues.

The company also said it intends to double its spending on diverse and minority-owned suppliers in the United States to $750 million annually, as well as provide grants to non-profit organizations by the end of 2024.

Several U.S. companies, including large banks and financial firms, had pledged billions of dollars to promote racial equality after the killing of George Floyd, a Black man, by Minneapolis police sparked protests across the country earlier in the year.

Earlier in October, JPMorgan Chase & Co said it would commit $30 billion to address racial inequality over the next five years, marking one of the largest corporate pledges related to race since the death of Floyd.

Other companies that have rushed to take a stand include Home Depot Inc, Procter & Gamble Co and Coca-Cola Co. JPMorgan Chase & Co recently made a $30 billion commitment over the next five years. (Reporting by Ambar Warrick in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Shounak Dasgupta)

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