Now is clearly a time of huge pain for Bla(c)k communities, but it is hugely inspiring to see that despite that pain a global moment of change is being seized and long overdue changes demanded. We know that as a predominantly white business we have undoubtedly benefited from white privilege and the structures in place that make it easier for us to flourish.
We know that white sorrys are not enough - what is needed now is genuine willingness to examine and change the structures we have influence over, to ensure that Bla(c)k people can thrive within these systems. As such we are taking a long hard look and are listening to what we need to do both inside our business, as well as what we can do to be an ally to those courageously fighting for change in wider society.
We wanted to give an update on the steps that have been taken so far in the past two weeks (date of writing is 9th June 2020), what steps will be taken next and the undertakings that we are making as an international company to do better.
Directors and senior management are consulting daily with Black and POC colleagues from across the business, to have the necessary, frank conversations - to listen and to learn.
This has highlighted what work we must do as a company, and in which directions, and has provided the basis for a refreshed and more focused ongoing commitment to doing better in regards to diversity and inclusion within Lush.
At our UK headquarters, three working groups have been formed that are led by Black colleagues:
Principles - to guide the business on what true inclusivity looks and feels like.
100 day action plan - a commitment to be shared both internally and externally, with updates on the actions we are intending to take within the next 100 days and report against this to check progress is being made. You can read the 100 Day Plan here, which was published on July 8th 2020.
- An awareness and fundraising campaign. - a product is being invented as we speak, the entire sales value of which (minus the sales tax that has to go to the government) will become a fund for Bla(c)k-led groups active on these issues. Of course, where the money from any charity product goes is vitally important, so this is another thing we are currently consulting on, with preference going to grassroots groups working on the root causes of structural racism. At the same time we will consult with groups to see if our website and shop windows could be put to use by them, in a campaigning and educational role, either in the short or longer term.
In addition to this, the Australia and New Zealand business has formed a working group to ensure our action plan is adapted to specifically address local issues both internally and in the wider local communities.
As a brand we are being asked to publish our diversity and inclusion statistics. At this time we do not have this information from the UK business, however they are working on it. Whilst we do not currently have company wide figures, we can say that Lush is a family owned business based in Dorset, England, with a small Board which has no Black members.
In our Australia and New Zealand business, we asked our Leadership and HQ teams to self identify and at the time of publishing, 75% had responded. You can view the diversity findings here.
Lush is a global business, of which some countries are wholly-owned and run by the UK-based parent company, whilst other countries are licensed and run by partners. Whilst working to make meaningful improvements in wholly-owned territories, they will also undertake to use their Licensor influence to require our partners to also take necessary steps to embed genuine diversity and inclusion in the business. The business will also pledge that any new territory licenses that are negotiated, and when existing partner licenses come up for renewal, it is ensured that diversity and inclusion is firmly written in as a core requirement and expectation of anyone running a Lush business anywhere in the world.
Whilst we know that the work we need to do is mostly internal, we also always wish to play a role in wider society. With all our hearts we know that Black Lives Matter and that for too long it has been a call that has not had enough white voices raised in support. We want to ensure that we do not fall into silence on this issue and that our future actions can earn us your trust. We want the company that white privilege has helped us build to not just become much more inclusive but to be a vehicle for Black voices to be heard. We welcome collaboration and participation as we deliver against this.
With love, support and hope for the future.