From John Lewis & Partners
BLACK HISTORY MONTH – OUR STATEMENT OF INTENT
Published – THURSDAY 1 OCTOBER 2020
TO ALL OUR PARTNERS AND CUSTOMERS
It’s been four months since the killing of George Floyd, a moment that impacted the world in a way we couldn’t have imagined. It started a number of uncomfortable conversations and led the John Lewis Partnership to reflect deeply on the role we can play to make sure Black voices are lifted and listened to.
Black History Month feels like the right time for us to share what we’ve been doing at John Lewis and Waitrose to turn this moment into a movement.
Over the last few months we’ve taken the time to hear from our Black Partners who’ve bravely shared their experiences. We’ve listened carefully to every word. As an Executive Team we committed to provide a safe space for our Black Partners, and by doing so we now have a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. We now have a dedicated team in place working towards improving the experiences of Black Partners.
Over the coming months, we’ll work with Partners from all under-represented groups as we create a new Diversity and Inclusion strategy and set associated targets, to deliver on our commitment to build a truly inclusive business for our Partners, customers, suppliers and the wider community.
We are not waiting for our strategy to be set to take action. As we said before, there’s no place for discrimination in the Partnership and we’re taking action to make sure Black Partners feel they can be themselves, always. We’ve launched a Kindness Rules statement in all our shops and across the Partnership letting our customers and Partners know that we will not tolerate discrimination or racism in any way.
We know that our leadership has an important role to play, so we’ve started a reverse mentoring scheme where 176 leaders have been paired with Black Partners who are providing mentorship, guidance and support.
We’re working hard to improve what we offer to our Black customers too. We’ve taken the time to hear from them and have launched a Black Partner Advisory Group. Its aim is to look at our products in fashion, food and beyond to make sure they’re inclusive and representative.
We know there is still so much more to do and this is going to take relentless focus over time. These are just the first steps and they’ve helped us to understand what we need to do. We are not perfect, and don’t profess to be, so please bear with us while we learn and improve.
This Black History Month we are focusing on education and sharing. There will be many opportunities for us to hear from our Black Partners and we’ll be celebrating the contribution they make across the Partnership.”
Black Economics Says –
The brand sells general merchandise as part of the employee owned mutual organization, known as the John Lewis Partnership, the largest co-operative in the United Kingdom. John Lewis calls it workforce partners – so when referring to Black Partners they mean their black staff, including those in Waitrose.
It is great to see this statement and realise that they are making every effort to be inclusive and ensure staff learn from each other. This should lead to greater harmony and inclusion. May other companies follow suit.
John Lewis recently launched an initiative to promote their Pop up Shop opportunity to black owned businesses.
This initiative managed by GBExchange and promoted by Black Economics has gone much better than they expected. Several Black-owned businesses now have been approved and have dates to appear in stores around the UK during October, November 2020 and many more are waiting for dates next year in London.
We wait to see if this will translate into more products from black companies being made available to the public in their stores all year round. This is our ultimate aim, in getting involved. It is time that more of our products are made available to mainstream customers. They have been missing out on so many unusual and standout items from our talented designers and creators.
We call on other stores to make similar overtures to black-owned businesses. John Lewis has set an excellent example. Small and large shops need to take this on board. We have heard of too many rebuffs. When we are turned away, you block or slow down our economic growth.
Check out our directory of black owned businesses. BlackBizApp.net