British Luxury Sustainability Report

The Case Studies: Burberry

Protecting employees’ and workers’ human rights and creating a diverse, inclusive workplace are central to a thriving, successful business, and Walpole's Sustainability Report highlights the importance of advocating for equal and respectful working conditions, with an emphasis on labour rights, fair pay, and promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Today we take a look at how Walpole member and founding Signatory of the Walpole British Luxury Sustainability Manifesto Burberry is creating a diverse and inclusive culture within the organisation.
18th May 2021
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British Luxury Sustainability Report The Case Studies: Burberry

Diversity, equity and inclusion are essential to fulfilling Burberry’s purpose and core to the organisation’s values."

The company seeks to develop a diverse workforce with unique perspectives and foster a culture that champions colleagues’ differences and nurtures a sense of belonging. To achieve this, Burberry takes a holistic approach to helping its colleagues to thrive, providing them with a range of tools and resources, underpinned by inclusive policies to support their overall wellbeing. Ultimate responsibility for these efforts sits with Burberry’s Executive Committee, formally accountable for advancing diversity and inclusion within the organisation.

The business benefits of diversity and inclusion are clear. When colleagues are empowered to speak out

and reach their full potential in a supportive, inclusive environment, they are more engaged, committed and effective in driving results.

Attracting and retaining diverse talent and fostering an inclusive culture enables us to be more creative in everything we do and open opportunities for our colleagues, customers and communities, making a more meaningful contribution to the world around us.”

Burberry’s global Diversity and Inclusion Strategy is focused on valuing and embracing differences and creating an environment where everyone feels they belong, has a voice and can reach their full potential.

The four pillars of the strategy include attracting and retaining diverse top talent, fostering an open and inclusive culture, education and raising awareness and implementing a global approach. Goals include specific hiring targets to increase representation at all levels in the US and UK, and all hiring and internal succession planning shortlists to consist of at least a 50/50 gender split and at least 25% ethnic diversity. The organisation is also committed to closing the gender pay gap, committing to significantly narrow it in the UK by 2025.

Most recently, Burberry adopted the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles. The Executive Committee has incorporated formal diversity and inclusion targets within its objectives and the company is sponsoring programmes and participating in activities and cultural events to embed diversity and inclusion in colleagues’ ways of working. Burberry has also expanded its creative arts scholarships and its Foundation’s in-school Burberry Inspire programme internationally.

Taking a balanced view

Strengthening recruitment and interviewing approaches to attract diverse candidates and develop and advance underrepresented groups starts with delivering training to influence mindsets and help ensure objectivity.

All senior leaders globally, including retail leaders, have completed inclusive leadership training. Since 2020, all colleagues are required to complete unconscious bias training, helping them recognise the assumptions and beliefs that can influence their decision-making. In addition, all members of the Talent Acquisition team have undertaken specialised training on mitigating unconscious bias in recruitment. In 2021, the company will build on this to roll out allyship training globally to encourage meaningful allyship alongside existing programmes.

Listening to employees

Listening to diverse perspectives both in and outside the company is vital to measuring progress and advancing its diversity and inclusion journey. In particular, Burberry leverages its employee engagement surveys and open forums. In the past six months alone, it has facilitated more than 30 open forums, engaging more than 1,700 colleagues around the world and creating spaces to share experiences and provide feedback. Burberry’s Internal D&I Council and external Cultural Advisory Council, formed in 2019, help oversee these efforts, as part of their role in helping optimise and guide the company’s approach.

A recognised commitment 

Burberry maintained a leading position in the FTSE 100 for women in leadership for a third consecutive year, according to the 2020 Hampton-Alexander Review, and was included in the Bloomberg 2021 Gender-Equality Index for the first time, scoring 10 percentage points more than the company average.

Burberry is also the first luxury company to partner with organisations including the Business Disability Forum, Investing in Ethnicity and the Stonewall Diversity Champions Programme, and one of the first luxury companies to join The Valuable 500. The organisation also works with charities to further inclusion in the workplace and in communities.

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