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Essex & Suffolk Water signs Race at Work Charter

June 1, 2022

Essex & Suffolk Water has joined more than 800 organisations in signing up to the Business in the Community (BITC) Race at Work Charter.

The Charter is an initiative designed for businesses to collectively commit to improving equal opportunities for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees in the UK.

It builds on the findings from BITC’s 2021 Race at Work Survey, which found that while 76% of employers said that race recruitment and progression was a priority, only 46% had set targets to improve the racial diversity of their boards.

The survey also found that while 99% of employers have a zero-tolerance policy on racial harassment and bullying, Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees are twice as likely than White employees to have experienced or witnessed racist harassment from managers, customers, clients, and colleagues.

The Race at Work Charter calls on businesses to: 

  • Appoint an Executive Sponsor for race.
  • Capture data and publicising progress.
  • Ensure zero tolerance of harassment and bullying.
  • Make equality in the workplace the responsibility of all leaders and managers.
  • Take action that supports ethnic minority career progression.
  • Support race inclusion allies in the workplace.
  • Include Black, Asian, Mixed Race and other ethnically diverse-led enterprise owners in supply chains.

Launched in 2018, the Race at Work Charter builds on the work of the 2017 McGregor-Smith Review, which found that people from Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse backgrounds are still underemployed, underpromoted and under-represented at senior levels.

Michael Nicholas, Diversity and Inclusion Manager at Essex & Suffolk Water, said: “Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of our organisation, and we are working hard to make sure that we have an ethnically diverse workplace. We believe everyone at Essex & Suffolk Water should be treated fairly and with respect, regardless of their background or any other differences. We’re very proud to sign the Race at Work Charter and we’ll be using our network for Black, Asian, Mixed Race and ethnically diverse employees to help us deliver our commitments to the charter.”

Sandra Kerr CBE, Race Director at Business in the Community, said: “We would like to thank Essex & Suffolk Water for publicly committing to be an inclusive and responsible employer. By signing up to the charter, they are joining over 800 businesses who are working together so that the UK can have one of the most inclusive workplaces in the world. By taking collective action, we can break down workplace barriers, raise the aspirations and achievements of talented individuals regardless of their ethnicity and deliver an enormous boost to the long-term economic position of the UK.”

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