Charity retailers’ providers told to prove ‘visible commitment’ to tackling racism

31 Aug 2022 News

The Charity Retail Association (CRA) will require all suppliers to the sector to show a "visible commitment" to anti-racism in order to be registered as corporate members of the organisation.

From April 2023, the CRA will ensure all registered suppliers are committed to an equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) policy or process which acknowledges the need to tackle racism.

Its statement reads: “Current suppliers have been asked to show a visible commitment, whether a policy or plan, or willingness to begin the journey. Going forward, all suppliers need to supply this to be able to work with the CRA.”

As part of its wider anti-racism plans, the CRA also encouraged its charity retail members to share data on employee and volunteer diversity.

'We are committed to dismantling racism in charity retail'

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said the organisation was aiming to lead the way in embedding this approach across the charity retail sector. 

He said: “We recognise that there’s much we can do, and we’re taking proactive steps to tackle inequality, racism and bias and make changes where they’re needed. 

“As the only membership association for charity shops in the UK, we are developing an anti-racism plan that will be shared with our members, alongside encouraging and supporting members to develop their own plans.”  

“One of the challenges we face when reviewing specific issues that need to be addressed is the lack of data we currently hold on employee and volunteer diversity. 

“We are therefore highlighting the need for this data and encouraging charities to gather and share this with us so we can create comprehensive reports that will guide further action and recommendations. We are committed to dismantling racism in charity retail and through ongoing learning and action we hope to see positive change across the sector.”

'We are committed to transparency in our EDI work'

CRA’s commitments also include amending recruitment practices, amending HR policies and procedures, and the release of a new staff handbook in September 2022 with policies across the board that promote equity, diversity and inclusion.

The organisation will also amend marketing imagery “to remove bias and promote positive racial representation”.

CRA has commenced an external pay gap survey, carried out a staff inclusion survey, and carried out a member-wide inclusion survey.

Staff and board received EDI training in April 2021, and this is now built into staff and board inductions. The chief executive and chair of the board received one-to-one EDI coaching in February 2021. 

The CRA states: “All training and coaching is ongoing and not considered complete.”

It adds: “We are committed to transparency in our EDI work, so this plan is shared and talked about regularly in our member communications.”

Specific member-facing actions include issuing guidance on dealing with racist incidents in shops and helping members report hate incidents.

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