Alfa joins alongside O2, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and EY among many others. By joining, Alfa will be a part of a vocal collective of changemakers, aiming to make racial equity a reality.
The Black British Network aims to enable roundtable conversations with members of the Black community and industry leaders to build better frameworks within organisations and society. Following these discussions, the Black British Network will compose The Black Paper, a manifesto for improving organisations’ approach to inclusion and diversity. Next, the video series Black British Stories will highlight Black people’s experiences in order to educate viewers and support change, and a portrait series titled Portrait of Black Britain – photographed by Cephas Williams – will make visible and amplify the contributions and identity of Black people in British society.
Andrew Denton, Alfa’s CEO, said: “The Black British Network represents an important step forward in the journey towards racial equity. Recently, alongside many other industry leaders, I signed Cephas’s Letter to Zion, joining forces to help dismantle systemic racism and create an equal playing field for the economic advancement of the Black community in the UK.”
Cephas Williams said: “Andrew is a friend and someone I have got to know personally over the past few years. The importance of friendship in this context is that being an ally is not just about thinking of ways to help people; being an ally is to build authentic relationships with others and through those relationships grow closer, firmly in the understanding of how you can support one another.
“It is true that many hang up the ‘garment of inclusion’ as soon as they leave the office, and approach any conversation outside of selling their product or service as a tick-box exercise. This often leads to initiative fatigue, with many well-meaning activities but no real systemic change. And so it is evident that to be a true ally, you must first be a friend and to be a friend you must have a relationship. This speaks to real change beyond notions of charity, and real empowerment beyond feelings of empathy. From conversations I’ve had with Andrew and the leadership at Alfa, and from tangible steps the organisation has now taken, I strongly believe they will be an instrumental part of the systemic change we are pushing to see.”
In his Letter to Zion, Williams said: “I will build an alliance in the UK, an alliance of Black people and our non-Black allies, everyone who is brave enough and forward thinking enough to stand with us, shoulder to shoulder to help create the change we need to see.”
Alfa is committed to its Environmental, Social and Governance objectives. It has adopted the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are designed to address the global challenges we face, including those related to inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. Alfa has chosen four goals in particular to help shape and develop its organisation: the commitment to quality education, gender equality, climate action and partnering, of which its partnership with the Black British Network is a key example.
Alfa has undertaken a number of initiatives in the past year to help address these goals. These include joining an external mentoring and coaching programme for its female senior leaders, with CEO Andrew Denton taking part in The Executive Challenge, a programme designed to give girls aged 12-16 access to industry leaders for mentorship and learning. As members of the Women’s Association, Alfa women took part in the photographic campaign For the Woman, designed to make women visible across industries and job functions.
Alfa maintains a highly active and wide-ranging CSR programme, with June 2021 designated “volunteering month”, during which people are encouraged to make use of their volunteering allowance, and spotlighting those colleagues who already volunteer.