// Marks & Spencer will take action to ensure the company addresses issues of diversity
// The initiative came after Black Lives Matter protests took place internationally
Marks & Spencer chief executive Steve Rowe has reportedly pledged to take “urgent action” to address racism and diversity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
He wrote in a message to staff that the actions taken by the retailer so far were not good enough and it will consider a “much overdue review of our approach to diversity and inclusion”.
After the killing of George Floyd in the US sparked BLM demonstrations across the globe, Rowe told employees that he hoped the incident would be “a catalyst for the world to face into the challenge of systemic racism and take meaningful action,” Retail Week reported.
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Rowe said that as a “privileged white man” he has been spending time reflecting a lot on what has happened and what M&S needs to do about it.
He added that for M&S to be able to say it was “truly diverse and inclusive” it needed to reflect that as an employer, including how and where it recruits; as a retailer, including the ranges it carries and store layouts; and as a business with stores in many communities.
As part of its ambitions to be an active participant in the neighbourhoods where it trades, M&S has expanded the range of organisations it supports through its Sparks loyalty programme.
M&S it to back the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust and The Black Curriculum. Rowe said the partnerships are being starting with a direct donation.
“To all of our black colleagues and to any colleague who has faced prejudice, ignorance or injustice, I may not always get it right but I am with you all the way in mind and in heart,” Rowe said.