Tesco joins the Black British Network

Tesco has announced its support of the Black British Network. The Network was founded by campaigner, Cephas Williams, and aims to bring UK businesses together to help bring lasting systemic change for the Black community.

Tesco will join and support the Black British Network in a number of round-table conversations. As part of the partnership, senior business leaders, including Tesco UK CEO Jason Tarry and Black colleagues, will take part in the discussions to understand how organisations including Tesco can improve the inclusion and experience of Black colleagues at every level of their business.

Jason Tarry, Tesco UK CEO, said: “Cephas’ letter to his son Zion set out very powerfully and personally his commitment to breaking down the social barriers and tackling the systemic racism that Black people face. As the UKs largest private sector employer and being present in every post code in the UK, we are uniquely placed to join forces with him to do this in the communities in which we live, work and serve.”

Cephas Williams, founder of the Black British Network, said: “To welcome Tesco on board this journey with me is both encouraging and a real step toward systemic change. However, this does not happen overnight and will take real long-lived dialog and action to create the transformation we need to see. To really shift the dialog around systemic racism and the economic advancement of people in the Black community, organisations must put aside the competitive nature that comes with all things commerce and prioritise the change that's needed at this pivotal moment in history. From getting to know Jason, I saw just that. It was evident that his interest was to understand and to use the brand and economic leverage of Tesco to create meaningful change, not just now, but for the long run.”

Over the last 12 months at Tesco, inclusion, particularly race inclusion, has been a focus for the business and has included some of the following initiatives:

● Executive-led listening sessions with colleagues from under-represented backgrounds
were held throughout 2020 to truly listen and understand their views

● In partnership with Arrival Education, Tesco’s Executive Committee participated in a mentoring programme to support young, diverse talent outside its business. This gave them the inspiration, insight and skills to drive meaningful change in developing socially and ethnically diverse talent within Tesco

● Tesco’s ‘This is Me’ campaign asks all colleagues to voluntarily share their diversity data. This will help Tesco better understand the diversity of its workforce, make more informed and inclusive decisions and put plans in place where they are needed most

● Tesco’s first diversity internship was launched, which will see an increase in the diversity of colleagues joining the business this summer: 45% being from ethnically diverse backgrounds compared to 14% the year before

● To help it support young ethnic talent more effectively, Tesco introduced Diverse Talent Communities which are sponsored by the Executive team. Initially, these communities will focus on helping colleagues from ethnically diverse backgrounds to accelerate their career at Tesco through bespoke career planning, increased visibility and senior sponsorship

● Tesco developed a series of masterclasses for all Tesco senior leaders. Focusing on bias, race equality and privilege, these are supported by self-led resources to help further build inclusive behaviours across our business

● Attracting diverse external talent is essential and the refreshed Tesco Careers website now incorporates an augmented writing tool ensuring unbiased language is always used. Tesco is focused on hiring diversity at a senior level, by working with our partners to demand diverse shortlists

● Tesco partnered with Add Psalt which helps Black-owned businesses bring products to market

The creation of the Black British Network follows Cephas Williams’ letter to his son Zion. In the open letter he writes to his new-born son after the killing of George Floyd in the US and how he envisions a better future for him and the Black community.

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