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Conversations on race

gharry eccles
Gharry Eccles, UK Regional Vice President of Cereal Partners Worldwide (CPW) writes for about Nestlé's new Eradicating Racism Network.

Last year more than a 100 motivated and passionate people at Nestlé UK and Ireland, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, came together to talk about race. The Eradicating Racism Network (ERN) formed from these conversations, to help lead learning events and look at how racism impacts our people across the business and in their lives.

I am a proud member of this network. Throughout my early life and during my career, I have experienced racism and so know first-hand how it feels. Equally I have been fortunate to work for companies which have made a difference by having inclusive cultures. That why, when this network was started, I decided to step forward with others to make a real difference.

Our purpose as the ERN is to educate and empower an environment at Nestlé, and beyond, where everyone of all races and religions can thrive.  Together we will challenge and educate each other to promote and accelerate inclusion, creating an organisation that is diverse and anti-racist.

We have taken a 360-degree approach, starting with our leadership to create the right environment in our business, hosting educating and learning events, looking at how we attract and retain a multi-racial talent pipeline and being a force for good in our wider community.

In October 2020 the network held its very first learning day and more than 800 colleagues joined the session to listen, learn and begin our journey of making change.

Last month, to mark Stephen Lawrence Day, we held a second event attended by around 760 colleagues to come together to learn about cultural racism. It was a privilege to take the time to listen and learn from both internal colleagues and external speakers.

I was proud to share our learnings and journey to multiculturalism as a speaker at a D&I in Grocery conference in April. And during the last month we shared our commitment to D&I with 65 of our suppliers with the aim to help them create a diverse and inclusive workplace.

At Nestlé UK and Ireland, we’re catching up to where we should be on our conversations on race, but I know Nestlé can do and will do more, and we will get there. It’s through engagement with our people this change happens, and this network is championing that change.