Pub company Greene King has announced a partnership with the International Slavery Museum to raise awareness and education on the slave trade.
The move follows a report in The Telegraph earlier this year highlighting that its founder Benjamin Greene, after creating the brewery in 1799, went on to own cane sugar plantations in the West Indies, where he profited from slave labour, and argued against its abolition in the 1800s. Following the report the brewer updated its website to reflect this.
As part of the partnership, Greene King employees will be able to take part in online workshops on understanding transatlantic slavery, and the museum will also work with Greene King on exploring Greene's history.
The partnership begins with financial support by Greene King for the National Museums Liverpool's Black History Month programme and will be followed by initiatives over the coming months as part of Greene King's wider inclusion and diversity programme.
Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: "There is no place for racism or discrimination anywhere in society and I am proud to be at the beginning of this exciting partnership.
"We're working hard to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce with increased opportunities for people from minority ethnic backgrounds, but equally we don't want to lose sight of the past.
"It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and while that was nearly 200 years ago, we can't pretend it didn't happen. We want to educate and work with the International Slavery Museum to learn more about the past and better inform our choices for the future."
Richard Benjamin, head of the International Slavery Museum, said: "The move by Greene King to support Black History Month and commit to working with the International Slavery Museum on educational and transformative initiatives is a positive step in the right direction. Reparative justice must acknowledge past abuses and respond to their continuing legacies.
"We hope that more institutions and businesses in the UK with the same historical links to slavery can be equally as transparent about their origins. We are therefore pleased to work with Greene King, to share our resources and knowledge, and to help them become a more diverse and inclusive employer, one that can be the model for best business practice."
Greene King made a commitment in June to accelerate its diversity ambitions and significantly invest in initiatives to support more young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds to succeed in hospitality careers.
The partnership is part of a wider inclusion and diversity strategy, which includes aims to lift the percentage of young people from Black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds entering the business from 24% to 40% in five years through its partnership with the Prince's Trust, which will also include mentoring and talent programmes.
Other initiatives include:
- A data-gathering exercise among the company's 38,000-strong workforce to capture ethnicity insights, inform decision-making and progress on the company's inclusion and diversity agenda;
- Implementation of a ‘comply or explain' diversity target with partnering recruitment agencies;
- A new employee-led race diversity group.
Greene King operates around 2,750 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Wales and Scotland, of which around 1,700 are retail pubs, restaurants and hotels, and 1,050 are tenanted, leased and franchised pubs.