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Our Racial Equality Charter - a 12-month update

01 October 2021
Feature Healthcare

In August 2020, we shared our Racial Equity Charter, outlining the commitments we were making to our team members, customers and patients to make Boots a more diverse, equitable and inclusive place to work and shop. The Charter outlined three key commitments intended to help us bring about permanent change within our organisation.

  1. Ongoing colleague education and development on diversity, equity and inclusion
  2. Create a workforce that reflects the customers, patients and communities we serve
  3. Build brands and services which reflect the communities we serve

One year on, we want to update you on our progress. 

We are committed to ongoing colleague education and development about diversity, equity and inclusion.

  • We continue to use the power of conversation to raise awareness and educate ourselves through one-to-one conversations, team meetings and functional listening sessions as well as listening sessions with our BAME business resource group members led by our Boots Executive Racial Equity Champion.
  • Our BAME business resource group (BRG) has led a series of activities during the past year to raise awareness among our team members about the history and lived experience of people from BAME backgrounds, including activities and sessions during Black History Month and South Asian Heritage month.
  • To raise awareness of bias and discrimination, team members have undertaken mandatory Unconscious Bias and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion learning modules.  Our Senior Leaders have taken part in ‘Inclusion in Action’ workshops which aimed to build their knowledge and awareness of key concepts like privilege and allyship as well as their role in enhancing a culture of allyship and anti-racism within the organisation.
  • Our Managing Director, leading from the top and recognising the opportunity to learn more about the views, feelings and lived experience of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues first-hand, was the first of our Executive team to begin a reverse mentoring relationship. Based on the success of this relationship, in September 2021, we are launching a reciprocal mentoring programme, ‘Inclusion in Action Partnership’, so our senior leaders and team members can connect to learn more about different lived experiences and help enhance a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion within the organisation.
  • To foster a stronger culture of advocacy within the organisation, we dedicated a section of our Autumn Leadership conference to inclusive leadership and the importance of this in creating an environment where team members can be themselves, share their views and be at their best.
  • To celebrate the cultural diversity of our workforce, on World Day for Cultural Diversity in May 2021, we held a company-wide day of activities. Our team members across the business, many dressed in traditional dress, took pride in sharing personal stories, recipes and traditions from their culture with each other.
  • We have reiterated to our team members our zero-tolerance stance on harassment and prejudice of any kind and continue to encourage team members to report instances of abuse without fear of repercussion.

We are committed to creating a workforce that reflects the customers, patients and communities we serve.

  • We continue to gather team member diversity data and have seen improvements in response rates over the year and remain committed to continuing to gather this essential data.  While we still don’t have sufficient data yet, as participation increases, we’ll use this to establish benchmarks against which to measures the success of our initiatives and interventions in bringing about change.
  • We commissioned external research into how we might attract a more ethnically diverse set of candidates to join the Boots Support Office in Nottingham and we continue to review our recruitment processes on an ongoing basis, including the language used in our job descriptions.
  • Acknowledging and championing the right of our team members to work in a safe and respectful environment, caring for customers and patients without fear of being verbally or physically attacked, posters are now displayed in all Pharmacies reiterating our zero-tolerance approach to prejudice and discrimination of any kind. 

We are committed to building brands and services that represent the communities we serve.

  • In support of both the NHS flu and COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, we worked with our BAME BRG to create customer messaging aimed at addressing vaccine hesitancy within the BAME community.
  • To enable more inclusive patient service and advice, we’ve trained our Pharmacy teams to recognise skin conditions on all skin tones and shades.
  • We’re working with experts and businesses in our communities to learn how we can best support and meet our customers’ needs.  As a result, we’ve increased our diverse product offering; including introducing diverse skin tone plasters, over 155 products for wavy and curly hair and have recently expanded our textured haircare offering from 200 to 600 stores across the country. In addition, we’ve extended our No7 product range by 60%, adding additional colours to suit a broader range of skin shades. 
  • We know the needs of our customers are constantly changing. To keep up with this, we’ll continue to adapt and acknowledge those needs by reviewing our Boots Brand products throughout the year. And we’re educating and helping to develop our marketing and commercial team through dedicated diversity, equity and inclusion training modules, so they’re best able to represent the communities we serve.
  • We’ll champion minority owned and inclusive brands all year round with dedicated space on boots.com and increased marketing and communications support. Our aim is to ensure minority owned brands grow and thrive at an accelerated rate.
  • To celebrate modern life, all imagery used by the Boots brand will reflect our diverse customers in a positive way and we’ll work with suppliers to ensure their imagery does the same.

One year on, whilst we know we’ve got a lot more to do, we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made and thank all our team members for continuing to make Boots a welcome and diverse place to work, visit and shop.

 

 

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Boots UK is the largest pharmacy-led health and beauty chain in the UK and its purpose is to champion everyone’s right to feel good. With 2,336* stores and a team of around 52,000* colleagues, of which approximately 6,600* are registered pharmacists, the Boots brand has been at the heart of local communities across the UK since 1849. Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care and being the first choice for pharmacy, beauty, healthcare and wellness, alongside offering its innovative portfolio of product brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle, Sleek MakeUP and YourGoodSkin.

Boots UK is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) – a global leader in retail pharmacy, impacting millions of lives every day through dispensing medicines, and providing accessible, high-quality care. More company information is available at boots-uk.com.

*As of Aug. 31, 2020