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Brewery and pubs giant champions minorities in major inclusion drive

PUBLISHED: 12:22 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 12:22 29 January 2020

Village Greene members outside a Greene King pub  Picture: CATERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Village Greene members outside a Greene King pub Picture: CATERS PHOTOGRAPHY

Caters Photography

Bury St Edmunds-based Greene King is leading efforts to stamp out bigotry at work by taking a leading role in promoting diversity in its ranks.

The pubs and brewery giant - which employs around 38k people across the UK - has thrown its considerable weight behind organisations fighting prejudice around sexual orientation, disability, race and gender as part of an inclusion and diversity drive.

The firm said it wanted to make its business a place which is "fully inclusive for all its team members" and can help all of them achieve their full potential.

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It will become a member of four organisations which represent the key areas it is championing, joining Stonewall's Diversity Champions Programme for its LGBT+ community and Women in Hospitality to support women and developing their careers. It is also signing up to Business in the Community's Race at Work Charter and the Business Disability Forum.

Team members are forging ahead with their own employee-led groups, including the launch of Village Greene - its LGBT+ group which was recently recognised at the Rainbow Honours Awards - and Team 47 women's network. Groups for race and disability are expected to be launched in the coming months.

HR boss Andrew Bush said they wanted to build and nurture an inclusive culture.

"We welcome all walks of life through our pub doors every day and want to celebrate the diversity of our teams that are representative of the people we serve," he said.

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"It is important we create a work place where people can be themselves, have a sense of belonging and feel valued for their individual skills and abilities. Just as we want our customers to feel at home in our pubs, we want our people to feel like they can be their true self at work."

Jesse Ashman, client account manager at Stonewall, said they were "delighted" the company had joined its Diversity Champions Programme to demonstrate its commitment to championing lesbian, gay, bi and trans equality in the workplace, and "excited" to be working with it to support its LGBT inclusion activities.

Tea Colanianni, founder and chair of Women in Hospitality, said it was "fantastic".

"With a rich 200-year heritage and over 38,000 employees, Greene King has shown that it is committed to embracing diversity in its many forms. It's fantastic they will join us in collaborating with the wider hotel, tourism and leisure industry to make an even bigger impact."

Diane Lightfoot, chief executive of Business Disability Forum, said it was looking forward to working with the employer to make it a "disability-smart" organisation.

Greene King is the first hospitality company to become a signatory to Business in the Community's Race at Work Charter.

This will involve the appointment of an executive sponsor for race, and the capture of ethnicity data and publication of progress against this. It also means a board-level commitment to zero tolerance of harassment and bullying, with all managers making it their responsibility to support equality in the workplace and the career progression of ethnic minorities.

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