29 more uk business leaders sign letter demanding action on black inclusion in response to #blacklivesmatter

More major UK business leaders have signed an open letter which demands action now for #blacklivesmatter with agreed actions for clear and positive change. The total number of signatures now stands at over 70.

The new additions to the signatories include leaders from Microsoft UK, Balfour Beatty, O2, Fidelity International, National Grid, Virgin Money, Compass Group, Aviva, Santander, Reward Gateway and IMImobile.

The letter is instigated by diversity and inclusion in business campaigners Audeliss and INvolve, led by Suki Sandhu, OBE who are ensuring companies are held accountable on taking action. In signing the letter, business leaders commit to reporting on the sustainable and long-term actions they are taking to address Black inclusion in the workplace. These actions, which will be documented in an annual report from signatories, include;

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.

Suki Sandhu OBE, Founder & CEO of Audeliss and INvolve, said: “Even though the protests have subsided for now, the issues remain pressing and we must do more when it comes to driving Black inclusion in business. Organisations must step up and hold themselves accountable when it comes to turning well-intentioned aspirations into clear, concrete actions for change.

“It’s fantastic to see more and more signatories going beyond solidarity with #blacklivesmatter and recognising that Black lives still matter by committing to creating a workplace where Black and other ethnic minority individuals have an equal opportunity to thrive.”

Speaking about joining the commitment to action change, Dominic Blakemore, Group CEO, Compass Group PLC said: “At Compass we are proud of the rich diversity in our business and signing this open letter highlights our continued commitment to encouraging greater inclusivity and equality for Black and ethnic minority employees. We respect people’s individual contributions and recognise that together we can create a culture where everyone’s backgrounds and experiences can make a real difference.”

The full letter of commitment and full list of signatories can be read here. All of these signatories are calling on other business leaders to commit to reporting on the actions they have taken to respond to the Black Lives Matter movement.

If your business is interested in joining us in committing to clear actions, then please contact [email protected].