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Black History Month

We celebrated Black History Month in October

In July 2020, Sainsbury’s committed to take action and stand together with our Black colleagues and customers to tackle racism and drive change. Since then, we have joined the Black British Network to help improve inclusivity and representation across the business, and have set new Black, ethnically diverse gender targets for 2024 to improve diversity in senior roles.  1,400 of our senior leaders have completed race fluency training, helping them to talk confidently about race and ethnicity and understand the experiences of our ethnically diverse colleagues. 

We have also recently adopted The Halo Code, the UK’s first Black hair code which protects employees who come to work with natural hair and hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.

As part of Black History Month, in October we pledged to donate over £1 million across several businesses and social enterprises that support the Black community.  The donations will go to organisations tackling racism, social mobility, food insecurity, and supporting Black education and businesses.  Any remaining funding will be invested through local partners tackling food poverty within Black communities.

 

 

One of the charities we are partnering with is Show Racism the Red Card, the UK’s biggest anti-racism educational charity. Our support will allow the charity to provide new educational resources to every school in England, Scotland, and Wales for the first time in its 25-year history - a total of 30,892 schools.

 

 

 

Paul Kearns, Deputy Chief Executive of Show Racism the Red Card (SRtRC) said: “This support from Sainsbury’s will mean that, for the first time in our 25-year history, SRtRC educational resources can be used in every school across England, Scotland and Wales. Teachers will have a bank of materials to help them focus on empathy building, increasing understanding, building resilience to racist ideas, and encouraging critical thinking among their pupils.

“This last year has reminded us of all the heart-breaking effects that racism can have on an individual, a family, a community, a nation, and the wider world. We will not solve this problem alone, we need to build alliances and partnerships, and working with Sainsbury’s to educate young people and supporting teachers will help to improve lives and effect positive change.”

As part of our Future Brands programme, Sainsbury’s is also working with smaller Black owned businesses, providing mentoring, advice, and guidance at critical stages as they grow, to get them supermarket ready.

We are also working with Black owned businesses to launch new ranges across our Health and Beauty category, as well as continuing to work with customer favourites such as the Black Farmer by selling his Jerk Sausages.  

In June, we launched Dr Shea Black Soap to provide our customers with a more diverse and inclusive offering - a multipurpose cleansing bar traditionally crafted in Ghana.

 

In October we launched brand Aaron Wallace, supported by our Future Brands team. Aaron Wallace is a Black male grooming brand that is passionate about good quality afro hair care for Black men.  There are 4 exclusive lines available from conditioners to beard oils, bringing a complete hair care system filled with natural ingredients. The brand launched exclusively across 196 stores and featured in our monthly PR newsletter to key press contacts and influencers, as well as having online media spend and in store POS for launch. The brand will also feature on space next year as part of an inclusive hair care proposition.

We are continuing our work with Wilfred Emmanuel Jones, more commonly known as the Black Farmer, for a second year in a row selling his Jerk Sausages in selected stores. You can also find his authentic recipe on the Sainsbury’s website here.

We are working to ensure our ranges reflect local communities and have added over 50 new products to our African and Caribbean ranges which are due to land in store from March next year. Products include a range of snacks, drinks, condiments, and spices.

Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s, said: “Making progress against the commitments we have made to our Black colleagues and customers is something that we are focused on all year round, but I always look forward to us coming together in October to show support and to celebrate the Black community. As one of the UK’s biggest retailers, we know we can use our size and scale to make a real difference to Black communities, driving education and long-term change in our society. We’re delighted that we can play our part and support through donations which have real impact.

“We all have a responsibility to help build an equal society, free from racial discrimination and as a business of 189,000 colleagues serving millions of customers each week, together we are committed to lead and enable positive change.”

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