Watches of Switzerland Group has become one of 55 UK retailers to pledge to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) new ‘Diversity & Inclusion charter’ in a bid to end sexism, racism, and other forms of workplace discrimination.
The BRC said that the charter’s signatories pledge to remove biases from recruitment practices, support career opportunities and progression for all and create a respectful and inclusive work environment, among other points.
The body released news of the charter at the same time as a report, created in conjunction with the MBS Group and PwC.
The report considers diversity across areas such as gender, race and ethnicity, LGBTQ+, disability, social mobility and age.
Based on findings such as that one in five companies have no women on their board, it concludes that the UK’s retail sector is a long way from diverse enough.
Watches of Switzerland Group non-executive director, Tea Colaianni, commented in the report: “Over my 25-plus-year career I have often been the only woman or one of two women on many boards. I have had to find my voice and learn how to use it in male-dominated work environments.”
Watches of Switzerland joins other signatories such as John Lewis Partnership, Argos, Ann Summers, Starbucks, the Co-operative Group and WHSmith.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail revolves around the customer, and to serve the needs of a diverse country, we need a diversity of ideas, experiences and backgrounds across our businesses.
“Five years ago, the BRC set out a vision for ‘Better Jobs’ and aspired for retail to be a diversity and inclusion leader. The data collected by PwC and The MBS Group in our ‘Diversity and Inclusion in retail’ report shows there is so much more to be done if we are to reach this goal.
“Nonetheless, I am confident about the road ahead. The first step to achieving change is acknowledgement and understanding of where the challenges lie.
“Now, we must act. I am proud to see so many retailers pledge to better their businesses and create equal opportunities for all and I am excited to see what the future holds once greater diversity and inclusion is achieved.”