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90 Days of Learning: A Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Journey

90 days is just the beginning

90 days ago, we discovered the distance between where we thought we were as a company, and where we actually stood.

The truth is that not all voices were being heard, and not all people were being seen. It’s thanks to our BIPOC members of staff, who were brave enough to speak up and hold us accountable, that we were able to determine the work we needed to do in order to dismantle any systemic racism within our organization.

This is the place we started from almost three months ago. We were committed to going in with our eyes open so we could make the significant, structural changes that had to happen in order for us to be who we say we are. This is only the beginning of the journey, but the learnings and growth we’ve experienced so far demonstrate what’s possible when we work together.

The diversity census

During these 90 days, we launched our first ever diversity census. The results from this helped us realize that hiring and promoting BIPOC talent must be our priority to ensure that our staff base is as diverse as the communities in which we operate.

Our census showed us that we have great opportunity to increase Black representation in our US shops, our Vancouver support and administration teams and at our senior leadership level.

Here are the raw numbers:

Lush North America companywide*

  • 6% Black
  • 46% Other POC**
  • 66% White

*Respondents were allowed to multiselect racial ethnicities

**Other POC represents the percentage of staff who identified as Hispanic, Latinx, Latin American, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, South Asian, East Asian, Indigenous, Native American, Alaska Native, Caribbean, West Asian, Arab, North African, Middle Eastern, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or Mixed Race.

 

Lush North America Senior Leadership

  • 0% Black
  • 21% Other POC
  • 79% White

 

Lush North America Home Office (Total)

  • 5% Black
  • 37% Other POC
  • 56% White
  • 2% did not disclose/opted out

 

Lush North America Home Office Management

  • 0% Black
  • 28% Other POC
  • 70% White
  • 2% did not disclose/opted out

 

Lush North America Retail (Total)

  • 5% Black
  • 34% Other POC
  • 59% White
  • 2% did not disclose/opted out

 

Lush North America Retail Management

  • 6% Black
  • 35% Other POC
  • 59% White

 

Manufacturing and Distribution (Total)

  • 7% Black
  • 56% Other POC
  • 35% White
  • 2% did not disclose/opted out

 

Manufacturing and Distribution Management

  • 13% Black
  • 39% Other POC
  • 48% White

 

Through the census work we have been able to identify a gap in our ability to recognize, understand and connect with the BIPOC staff and customers. We will focus on hiring, developing and promoting Black candidates to leadership roles throughout our business.

Our first-ever diversity census, which showed us that hiring and promoting BIPOC talent must be our priority.

Four statistical charts showing the percentage of racial representation across different areas of the business

Product training and innovations

We engaged BIPOC voices and formed a Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity board that hold space for honest, open dialogue between staff at all levels. Through this, we learned that our products have not been as accessible to our BIPOC customers as we would like them to do be. This resulted in a development of training materials to help staff recognize the needs of Black skin and hair. It also helped us realize that we needed to create new product ranges for Black skin and hair, which are coming.

In addition to this, after completing an audit of all product names, Lush UK will be renaming select products to remove any culturally insensitive language. Those name changes will be reaching the North American market in the coming weeks.

Anti-racism training

At the same time, we embarked on companywide anti-racism training focused on dismantling systemic racism and we learned that this training needs to be paired with accountability to create lasting, meaningful change.

Stronger policies

We reviewed our anti-racism and anti-discrimination policies and discovered that we needed to create stronger definitions of what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior to ensure a safe space for all employees—one where all not only are welcome but also feel welcome.

Removing barriers

We learned that true diversity, equity and inclusion cannot exist as a program or activity but must be ingrained into our way of being. We have begun the work to review our entire employee lifecycle and address the barriers that prevent our staff from thriving and progressing in the company. We’re doing this work hand-in-hand with a diverse group of staff from across North America.

We learned that creating space to celebrate and elevate Black culture is an important part of building an inclusive community, and we’re excited to have launched a digital cultural hub for our staff.

Giving back in our communities

We engaged our Black staff in a participatory grantmaking process to select grassroots, community-based groups to receive a total of $250,000 in Charity Pot funds. This highly collaborative process allowed us to understand the importance and impact of partnering with organizations creating change in our employees’ neighborhoods and communities.

We donated $250,000 USD to Black-led organizations at the center of the Black Lives Matter movement, focused on building community alternatives to end harm and violence, to empower Black people to exercise their right to vote, to protect and defend the health and human rights of Black trans people and to ensure that Black youth activists and organizers have a vote.

Amplifying Black voices

Listening to our staff and leaders on the frontlines, we have developed a campaign which echoes calls from the Black Lives Matter movement and uplifts demands for systemic change. We learned that amplifying Black voices means centering Black experiences, and we will launch our campaign, which calls for the end of police brutality and white supremacy, in all Lush shops across North America.

Moving forward

But our biggest learning is that 90 days is not enough. We have begun the work to create a long-term Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity strategy that will ensure continued learning, growth and systemic change.

We are committed to removing egos, unlearning and listening to the voices that matter. We can’t promise that we’ll always get it right the first time. But we can promise that our commitment will not waver. Each action, each acknowledgement, and our collective effort will pave the way for more progress tomorrow.

To the members of our Belonging, Inclusion and Diversity Advisory Board, thank you for your guidance, commitment and passion in moving this work forward over these first 90 days.

To our staff, we hear you. We see you. We stand by you, in solidarity and support. To our customers, partners and suppliers, our work ahead is ambitious.

But we have momentum and we will accomplish this together.