A year after the assassination of George Floyd brought the discussion of race and diversity into the boardroom, Natalie Campbell, chief executive of British bottled water producer Belu, said: “I don’t think [businesses] get it when it comes to racing. ”
In this video interview, Campbell, who has worked with brands like Marks & Spencer and Virgin Media to build resilience and was an advisor to the Royal Foundation, says companies are guilty of promises they don’t deliver. Since Floyd’s day, “everyone wants to talk about race,” she says, “but the variety in boardrooms hasn’t improved.
Video produced by Phil Clark Hill
“Everyone has a statement of what they are doing to make their workplaces fairer, more diverse, or more inclusive,” she says. “It doesn’t matter, because at the moment these are just words, not actions.
“People now know that the space occupied by people who look the same, sound the same, have the same education, the same work experience … this environment is probably not conducive to ultra-high productivity. And I do not want to talk only about men, because in fact all women are one and the same. ”
“There are many places in places where it is actually very beneficial to be a woman.”
Companies are making improvements in limited areas, but the understanding of diversity must extend beyond gender, but also to other sectors of society. “People are successful when it comes to gender, binary gender in particular, so there are more women at the table,” she says.
“I don’t think they understand about the race. They don’t understand when it comes to disability. And they don’t get it when it comes to going beyond binary genders. I don’t think they understand at all when it comes to young people. ”
Meanwhile, the week that the hospitality sector celebrated its highly anticipated Freedom Day, Campbell says the pandemic presented Bel with a unique opportunity that relies entirely on restaurants, pubs and hotels and donates 100% of its profits to WaterAid.
Campbell, who joined Belu in early March 2020, says the company’s sales fell from £ 6 million to zero in its first three weeks. “It was one of those moments when you can run in terror,” she says. Instead, the company took the time to rethink its long-term strategy.
She says it’s vital that hospitality “remains open and safe.” She says the government should make sure that “establishments do not open and close, and there is no yo-yo effect, and that they reach the kind of power that means they are a viable business.”