The power behind the reaction to the tragic death of George Floyd in the US and the ripple effect it has had worldwide is devastatingly sad to observe and highlights the fundamental systemic failures of our society to treat every human being on the planet as an equal.
Personally, as a business leader and on behalf of my brand Pip & Nut, racism has never been and never will be tolerated. What the events over the past week demonstrate to me is that we must go way beyond just saying, passively, that racism is unacceptable and instead play an active role to eradicate racial discrimination from our society.
“It’s not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” Angela Davis
Seeing the influx of brands stepping up to the cause, I myself have a degree of cynicism as to whether all these words will turn into action and I recognise that so many of you reading this right now may be thinking exactly the same about how Pip & Nut will translate our words into action. Which is why I’m writing to you today. To make some solid commitments publicly as a business leader so you, our community, my team, my investors, my peers, can hold me accountable.
As a member of the B Corp community, the triple bottom line - People, Planet and Profit - runs through our brand DNA. Yet, if I challenge myself properly about what we’ve done to minimise racial inequality and discrimination, I am disappointed in how little I’ve done to lead the business to be more inclusive both internally but also within the wider food and drink industry, an industry which is predominantly white. And, personally, as a business owner, I’ve never stepped back and fully recognised how my own white privilege has contributed to the success I’ve had in building the brand or truly recognised how difficult it is for people of colour to achieve the same.
This has to change.
There are short term and long term plans I’ve committed to below but I recognise our job will never be complete.
Founder of Pip & Nut
We’ve already made a start and will keep doing:
- Training on diversity - Continue to train all new starters on our diversity policy.
- Equal Opportunities - Uphold our equal opportunities policy & ensure all job descriptions have an equalities statement.
- Hire our interns using methods that reduce unconscious bias that encourages a more diverse pool of candidates.
- Partner with charities - Continue to work with charities that support vulnerable and minority groups.
- Volunteer days – continue to offer our team 2 volunteering days per year to volunteer for a charity of their choice. As part of this initiative, we’ll organise team volunteering with our partner charities that help support underrepresented and vulnerable communities.
- Continue our ‘One from you, one from us’ donation on our website that allows you to donate a jar of peanut butter to Hackney Foodbank which we then match with another jar. Hackney Foodbank helps feed those people in it’s local community who suffer from food poverty. Around 40% of the population of Hackney come from Black and Minority Ethnic groups
But there is so much more we can and will be doing…
Within Pip & Nut
- Educate our team - We are providing a copy of Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race to everyone in the Pip & Nut team. We are going to host a discussion for the team to share what we learnt in July. And, in future ensure our book clubs include fiction and non fiction that better educate our team on issues of race and racism, and/or celebrate fiction authored by a person of colour.
- Learning & Development - Ensure myself and the senior leadership team within the business, read and educate ourselves on diversity to ensure we are always improving on what we are doing. Introduce more formal training for the wider team on diversity ensuring it is part of everyone’s personal development plans every year.
- Pip & Nut is donating £5,000 between the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust & Black Lives Matter UK (BLMUK) to help lift up the next generation of black people and help keep the voices of those fighting black inequality as loud as possible.
- Match Donations - Donations that my team make to charitable causes that help fight racial inequality and discrimination will also be match funded by the business.
- Charitable Limited Edition – Funds are required now to keep amplifying the Black Lives Matter movement but in the next 6 months things will continue to be challenging for the most vulnerable people within the community. As of this week we’ve decided to give a % of profits from our next Limited Edition to support Food banks in the UK. More details to be announced in August.
- Review and improve our recruitment methods - This will include ensuring our equalities statement is on every job description; all language is accessible; unconscious bias methods are used within our recruitment process and third party recruitment agencies have policies in place that foster opportunities from minority backgrounds.
- Pay the London Living Wage for internships and employees – while we’ve always paid all our interns and employees the minimum wage, as a minimum, we want to step this on an ensure all employees and interns earn the London Living Wage to ensure our job opportunities are accessible to all.
Within our industry:
- Be representative across our social media & website using all genders, race and ages.
- Work with a diverse group of influencers with a balance of genders, race and ages when engaging with them on marketing activities.
- Speak only on panels that have a balance of genders, race and ages and if not look at replacing my speaking place with someone that will better diversify the panel to encourage a richer conversation and amplify different voices.
- Goal setting - This is just the start and as a Founder, with my senior leadership team, we will look to update our community with our results and annual plans providing tangible goals on how we will improve diversity and inclusion in our business and industry as a whole. This forms part of our B-corp annual report which we will publish annually in December.
What you can do
Follow these accounts, listen & share:
Read and educate yourself on black history, inequality and white supremacy:
- Layla F Saad’s Me and White Supremacy: How to Recognise Your Privilege, Combat Racism and Change the World
- Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me
- Reni Eddo-Lodge’s Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
- Crystal M. Fleming’s How To Be Less Stupid About Race
- Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want To Talk About Race
- Claudia Rankine’s Citizen
- Akala Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
Subscribe and listen to these podcast that dive into important conversations about racial equity and justice:
Conversations with Nova Reid
Momentum: A Race Forward Podcast
Pod Save the People
The Diversity Gap
Donate what you can to causes that help tackle institutional inequality:
Black Lives Matter
Black Lives Matter UK
National Bail Fund Network
Reclaim the Block
Black Visions Collective
The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust
Stop Hate UK
Make sure our MPs are aware that they need to act by signing a petition:
Justice for George Floyd Petition
National action against brutality petition
Amend the British school curriculum to teach about racism and British history petition
Email your MP with this letter from The Black Curriculum to address the lack of Black history on the curriculum in UK schools