Leading businesses including Sainsbury’s, KPMG, EY and ITV have pledged to update annually on black inclusion commitments and have urged others to join them.
In a move, led by Audeliss and INvolve, the diversity and inclusion specialists, leading businesses have pledged to update annually on their progress to drive black inclusion, to put an end to the ‘repeating cycle of disengagement and inaction’.
In an open letter, published today in The Sunday Times, top business leaders from Zendesk, KPMG UK, ITV, BT, MOBO, PwC, Schroders, Sainsbury’s, Sodexo, Tesco, John Lewis, M&S and EY, have pledged to fix the current unfair system, outlining their ‘responsibility and duty’ to take ‘long term sustainable action’.
Acknowledging that ‘what gets measured gets done’, the leaders are also calling for other companies to commit to reporting on the actions they have taken to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Commenting on the commitments, Suki Sandhu OBE, founder and CEO of INvolve and Audeliss said, “I’ve been banging the drum about ethnicity representation and inclusion in business for over nine years, and the time for platitudes and excuses has passed.”
“People want to see change, and they want to see it now.”
“I want to be a better ally for the black community, so this was my chance to put words into action.”
“Many businesses don’t know what to do and I’m not saying these commitments offer all the answers, but they do give concrete building blocks of where you can start.”
“I hope other CEOs will sign the letter and make these commitments in the coming weeks so they too can be bold and intentional in their support of ethnicity.”
In signing the letter, business leaders have committed to reporting on the sustainable and long-term actions they are taking as UK busineses to black inclusion in their annual reports, demonstrating action on the points below:
- Diversifying the face of our organisations: Setting targets for diverse candidate slates for every position and holding recruiters accountable for presenting diverse shortlists. More specifically, setting targets on black talent in our candidate slates.
- Measuring: Investigating the specific challenges and barriers faced by black talent in our organisations, starting to track ethnicity data and conduct focus groups or listening sessions to properly understand the experiences of our black and minority colleagues.
- Joining us on our journey of learning: Educating ourselves on the experiences of black people in the workplace and in society at large.
- Starting the conversation: Being vulnerable with our people. Admitting we haven’t done enough and that the work is just beginning.
- Elevating black voices: People know discrimination and racism are a lived, everyday reality now – but do they know what forms it takes every day in the workplace? We must start these conversations. We will also do more to celebrate black leaders and talent in our organisations and the wider business community.
- Committing to specific actions: We’ve posted on our corporate Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, but now we must show what our organisations look like truthfully and what more we are doing to change it.
The letter follows the release this week of INvolve’s EMpower Ethnic Minority Role Model lists which celebrated business leaders who are breaking down barriers at work and are working hard to smash the ceiling for ethnic minorities in the UK, Ireland, Europe and people of colour in the United States and Canada.
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