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HEINEKEN UK shows commitment to racial equality by signing up to the Race at Work Charter

5 May 2021

The UK’s leading pub, cider and beer business, HEINEKEN UK, has joined over 600 employers in signing up to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter, an initiative designed to improve outcomes for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees in the UK.

Launched in partnership with the UK Government in 2018, the Race at Work Charter builds on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which found that people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds were still underemployed, under promoted and under-represented at senior levels.

The Race at Work Charter is a public commitment to improving the experiences of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic employees in the workplace. It sets out five actions for signatories like HEINEKEN UK to take:

  • Appointing an Executive Sponsor for race.
  • Capturing data and publicising progress.
  • Ensuring zero tolerance of harassment and bullying.
  • Making equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers.
  • Taking action that supports ethnic minority career progression.

The announcement coincides with the launch of HEINEKEN’s Brew A Better World commitments for the next 10 years, which specifically call out the company’s journey to be inclusive, fair and equitable.

Jane Brydon, HR director for HEINEKEN UK says: “We want every single one of our 2,300 colleagues in the UK to feel a deep sense of belonging and inclusiveness. Signing up to the Charter is not only a public sign of our commitment, but more importantly, it’s a clear signal to all our colleagues that we’re serious in driving racial equality.

“Race and ethnicity is one of five areas we’re tackling as a business, alongside LGBTQ+, age, disability and gender. HEINEKEN UK is on an exciting journey to be truly inclusive.”

HEINEKEN UK’s customer collaboration manager, Tomi Oyewumi, is also the lead on the Race and Ethnicity Task Force. She says: “It’s hugely exciting to be leading the Task Force which will shape the way HEINEKEN UK embeds inclusion and diversity into the way we do business. From making sure policies are fit for purpose through to ensuring we show true representation amongst our colleagues, prospective colleagues and the way in which HEINEKEN is viewed externally, publicly signing up to the BITC’s Race At Work Charter is a milestone to be celebrated.”

This year, research carried out by Business in the Community (BITC) on the second anniversary of the landmark Race at Work Charter launch reveals:

  • 76% of employers say that action on race recruitment and progression is a strategic priority but only 46% have set targets to improve the racial diversity of their boards.
  • 99 per cent of employers have a clear zero-tolerance policy on racial harassment and bullying but only 38 per cent of employers have commissioned a review into bullying and harassment in the workplace – down from 45% in 2019.

Sandra Kerr CBE, race equality director at Business in the Community, said: “We would like to thank HEINEKEN UK for setting out their commitment to being an inclusive and responsible employer. By signing up to the charter, they are showing that they aspire to have one of the most inclusive workplaces in the country. Together we can break down barriers in the workplace, raise the aspirations and achievements of talented individuals and deliver an enormous boost to the long-term economic position of the UK.”