The message for this year’s International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge and speaking out for what’s right is something I believe in wholeheartedly – it’s one of the reasons I became Britvic’s global sponsor for its Diversity & Inclusion strategy.
Diversity, inclusion and belonging are everyone’s business. As a man in a position of power I recognise my privilege, and choose to use it to put these at the top of Britvic’s agenda and bring about meaningful change.
In my role as executive sponsor, I’ve spent a lot of time listening and I want to recognise the considerable work that has already been done by our Diversity & Inclusion groups.
Our B-Empowered group supports women in the workplace, and I am delighted to be attending a virtual event organised by my colleagues to celebrate International Women’s Day.
On Friday we had a no-agenda, totally open virtual session with all the women at Britvic Ireland. The conversation, vigorous, authentic and heartfelt, unearthed some uncomfortable truths and will lead to improvement actions. Listening drives understanding, commitment drives action which in turn enables progress.
Grassroots activity is fundamental, but we know that action also has to come from the top. Historically the manufacturing industry has been male-dominated and to make a difference we need to start with leadership.
That’s why, in 2018, Britvic made a public commitment to having at least 40% women in senior leadership within three years. 2020 was a year unlike any other but being able to announce in our annual report that we had achieved this target was a proud moment.
While we celebrate this achievement and the personal achievements of my colleagues in Ireland and around the world today, there is much more to be done.
Having a workforce that represents the communities we serve is not only the right thing to do but the only way we can hope to thrive as a business. With this in mind, I choose to challenge how Britvic recruits, trains and retains women and will be working with our Diversity & Inclusion groups this year to bring about further change.