Sainsbury’s has announced it is joining the Black British Network as one of many initiatives to improve the representation and experiences of its Black colleagues. The Black British Network was founded by campaigner Cephas Williams and strives to bring lasting systemic change for the Black community by working closely with UK businesses.
Sainsbury’s will take part in several round-table discussions with other British businesses and Black colleagues, to evolve and understand best practice, improve inclusivity and representation, and translate learnings into tangible solutions, behaviours and processes that can be implemented across every level of the business.
Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s CEO said: “At Sainsbury’s we share Cephas’ commitment to tackle racial injustice and inequality in our society and are proud to be part of his alliance. His inspirational letter to his son Zion powerfully expresses exactly why we want to be a truly inclusive retailer, where all our colleagues can fulfil their potential and all our customers feel welcome when they shop with us. To achieve this, it’s important that we stand up and take action against racism, by supporting our Black colleagues and customers across the country. We all have a responsibility to help build an equal society, free from racial discrimination and there’s still a long way to go. An issue of this scale can’t be solved by us alone, but by working with the Black British Network, together, we can be a positive force for change.”
Cephas Williams, founder of the Black British Network said: “My conversations with Simon have been meaningful, we both share the desire to build relationship, understanding that only through relationship can real change happen. This is not a conversation of charity, but of change, this is not a conversation for leaders to sit back and watch, but for them to also roll up their sleeves and work together with the Black community to ensure this doesn’t start and end with statements and quotes, but with tangible actions and iteration. This is made authentic and meaningful through relationship and conversation. From getting to know Simon, I see he shares these views and also shares the understanding that we have long way to go. Systemic racism will not be solved overnight and will take a lot of work from leaders like Simon and leading organisations with influence like Sainsbury’s to stand with the Black community and work with us to bring about the change we need to see.”
Sainsbury’s is actively committed to doing more to support Black and ethnically diverse colleagues and has taken several steps over the last 12 months including:
- Training 1400 senior leaders and the Sainsbury’s board in understanding and fluently talking about race and ethnicity
- Tripling its investment into the development of ethnically diverse colleagues
- Completing an ethnicity pay gap review and published the results and actions
- Making sure all head office roles are advertised externally, giving access to more Black talent
- In October, it supported several initiatives in store and online to celebrate Black History Month – an opportunity for colleagues and customers to recognise and learn more about Black history, Black culture and the invaluable contributions Black people have made to the world we live in today
- Working hard to improve and extend its range of over 26 Afro hair products available in hundreds of stores and online
- Making changes to how shades are labelled across lingerie and hosiery and is in the process of updating product labelling for items including footwear and cosmetics. It is also looking at expanding the range of skin tone shades available to customers
For more information on the Black British Network and ‘Letter to Zion’ see link below: