Our diversity and inclusion vision is to be ‘the most inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop’. We will achieve this aspiration by recruiting, retaining and developing diverse and talented people and creating an inclusive environment where everyone can be the best they can be and where diverse views are listened to. This will enable us to anticipate and accommodate the needs of our diverse customers, reflecting the communities we serve.
Four Operating Board Sponsors lead our diversity strategy; Peter Griffiths (gender), Angie Risley (race, religion and belief), Tim Fallowfield (disability, age and carers) and Sarah Warby (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender). Our Board Sponsors form our Diversity Steering Group which leads our strategy, meeting regularly to govern progress. Over the last few years we have conducted extensive listening with colleagues in our business which has also informed our strategy. We have over 150 Diversity Champions who support the agenda in every part of our organisation.
We are taking active steps to support talented women to develop their careers in management where, like in many organisations, women are under-represented. Our women’s mentoring scheme gives colleagues confidence that we support their career aspirations and that gender is no barrier to fulfilling their potential. We are also members of the Everywoman network, which gives colleagues access to a range of robust development tools. Many of our colleagues have signed up to the Inspiring the Future campaign, sharing their career experience with state school pupils to raise aspirations and challenge gender stereotypes in job roles from an early age.
We are Champion members of Race for Opportunity. 14 per cent of the population of England and Wales and 10 per cent of the UK workforce is from a BAME (Black Asian Ethnic Minority) background. This compares with 14 per cent of all Sainsbury’s colleagues. We are working to increase the representation of BAME colleagues at senior manager grades by encouraging talented colleagues to progress within the business; for example, through our participation in Race for Opportunity’s cross-organisational mentoring circles as well as our own internal mentoring circles.
We aspire to take a leadership approach to disability, with our Paralympic commitment helping to create a legacy of greater inclusion for people with disabilities. We sit on the Paralympic Legacy Advisory Group and take an active role in the Government’s Disability Confident campaign. We are Partner members of the Business Disability Forum and our ‘You Can’ programme has attracted over 23500 people traditionally considered ‘harder to reach’ into jobs with Sainsbury’s.
We are one of few FTSE 100 companies with a carers policy and have worked with Carers UK for 15 years. Every summer we get behind Carers Week, with many Sainsbury’s stores across the country hosting events to raise awareness of local support and community groups. We have also invested in licences of Carers UK’s Jointly App for all our colleagues who are juggling work with caring responsibilities.
We are members of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme and 2014 saw us launch Proud@Sainsbury’s, our LGBTA (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allies) colleague network. The network has two co-chairs and holds quarterly events which bring together likeminded colleagues and help inform our strategy. Last year we participated in 28 Pride events across the UK including London, Brighton and Manchester and hope to attend even more this year.