Mar 25, 2021
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Retail's diversity and inclusion charter: over 50 major names sign up

Mar 25, 2021

A new charter for the UK retail sector has seen many of the biggest and most prominent names signing up to make their workplaces more diverse and inclusive.

Photo: Public domain/Pixabay

The charter, created by the British Retail Consortium, has attracted signatories such as John Lewis, All Saints, Burberry, Boots and Superdry, who have made six key promises as part of their membership of the group.

It comes as a BRC/MBS/PwC report shows that many companies are falling down as far as diversity at boardroom level is concerned.

More than 200 retailers were looked at and it was found that almost 33% of boards, 32% of executive boards and 37.5% of those reporting directly to the board are women. But that still leaves around two-thirds male domination of the senior teams.

And the study also found that around 20% of retailers have no women on their boards at all and 15% have no women on their executive committees. For almost 70% of retailers, the key roles of CEO, CFO and chair are held by men. Just under 10% of CEOs are female and only 4.3% of retail sector chairs.

The situation was also bad when looking at the members of boards who were black or from an ethnic minority. The UK population has 12.5% of people from such backgrounds. But only 4.5% of boards, 5.8% of executive boards and 6% of direct reports included anyone from under-represented groups.

That’s despite diversity and inclusion being a priority for 84% of retailers, although less than half of retail employees agree D&I is important enough to their employers.

So what will the new charter do about this? The signatories have said they’ll all appoint diversity and inclusion executives; remove bias from recruitment; support career opportunity and progression for all; collect and contribute data on diversity; create a respectful and inclusive work environment; and ensure all line managers are responsible for supporting equity in the workplace.

Other charter signatories include Ann Summers, Argos, Asda, Bravissimo, Joules L’Occitane, MandM Direct, Matalan, Mountain Warehouse, Oliver Bonas, Reiss, Sainsbury’s, Seasalt, Starbucks Studio Retail, Superdrug, Ted Baker, The Fragrance Shop, Very Group, Watches of Switzerland, and The White Company.

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