My Column

Businesses must invest in equality

  • Date: Monday 15th June 2020
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The death of George Floyd in America has resulted in a huge wave of grief and a fresh outcry for racial justice. Across the globe, people are protesting against institutional racism, calling for reformative change and shouting about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Here in Scotland, thousands have joined in protests and taken to social media to show their support. Many brands are also posting messages of solidarity and looking at ways that their own business can change and improve.

Just one example of a company which is taking real progressive steps forward is Barclays. The banking giant made the decision last week to drop the name of a slave-owning tobacco lord from its new Northern European Hub development on the banks of the River Clyde in Glasgow.

It will no longer be named ‘Buchannan Wharf’ – the name associated with Andrew Buchannan, a plantation owner and the Lord Provost of Glasgow in the 18th century – and is instead being named ‘Barclays Glasgow Campus’.

Some of Scotland’s most famous streets, buildings and monuments are named after individuals who were involved in slavery, but their links have come under fresh scrutiny after a statue depicting slaver Edward Colson was pulled down in Bristol last week. I commend Barclays for making this change, a positive step forward from Scotland’s slave trade past.

Approaching a topic as sensitive as racism is never easy, but Scottish businesses have a moral and social responsibility to actively ensure that they are doing all they can to eradicate and prevent the problem, while also promoting and investing in the creation of an equal environment.

Brands should be implored to speak up about causes that matter, but only if they are willing to pledge how to tackle it in the long-run to provide real change.

There are ways that Scottish businesses can show that they support the Black Lives Matter movement and steps that they can take in the fight against racism. Donate to causes such as the George Floyd Memorial Fund and movements fighting the oppression of black people in the US, or to UK charities like Show Racism the Red Card and the Coalition for Racial Equality and Rights in Scotland.

But the most important element isn’t just the saying, it’s the doing. Actions speak louder than words.

It’s essential to look within your business and at your own workforce – what is the makeup of your employees? How many BAME people are working at senior levels? Is your hiring process rigorously inclusive and what processes do you have in place for tackling racism? Remember to also look at your suppliers. Question whether the values of the companies you work with align with your own. Commit to educating your staff and investing in resources which will inform your workforce and encourage inclusivity.

Show your support on your business’ social media and be an ally to the movement. Social media is a powerful tool and often brands have a lot of influence, so use it effectively. But again, don’t just join the bandwagon and virtue signal because you will be called out for it.

Take a look at social media over the past few weeks and it’s littered with examples of businesses – and we’re talking some of the world’s biggest brands here – who’ve posted in support of #blm. And then have had to make a hasty retreat when people posted pictures of their boards or senior teams, showing row upon row of white faces and not a brown or black face in sight.

Scotland is a wonderful country which is enhanced by its rich diversity. Let’s be the driving force of change. Let’s create an inclusive and safe space for BAME communities to thrive within a business environment. Brands are reflected by the people who work for them. If a company does not have a diverse group of people working for them, there is not enough room for differing perspectives. Businesses like this – whether they like it or not – will be left behind. And rightly so.

Racism is not a new thing. It’s deep rooted in our past and continues to shame our society to this day. But when I see steps being taken by forward-thinking businesses in Scotland it starts to feel like we are heading in the right direction for change.

SIDE

Lockdown has changed everyone’s lives and I’m no different. For the first time ever, I had a bit of spare time on my hands. I’ve been using it to inform and educate viewers on my YouTube channel about fake gurus, or as I call them, ‘furus’.

I want to open your eyes to the tactics that these sharks use and how low they will stoop. There are literally millions of furus out there, especially phoneys operating within the ecommerce industry, and I’d love to expose them.

You know exactly the type I’m talking about. They want to sell you a course about how to buy a product and sell it online to make your fortune. Only thing is, you have to pay them several thousands of pounds to buy that course.

I’m sure you’ve seen the videos - ‘make money selling on Amazon’ or ‘make money selling on eBay’. Unfortunately, a lot of these videos are made by furus, so I have come up with a cunning plan to frustrate a few of these fraudsters.

We’re going to give 20 of you £200 to spend at online auctions. It’s your money, you can buy whatever you want. Then I want you to sell it online using a marketplace - eBay, Amazon, Facebook Marketplace.

All we want you to do is to create a video of you going through the process and upload it to YouTube. That’s it. You keep the stock and you can keep any money you make.

If we pull this off we will have 20 videos showing how easy it is to sell online - an ecommerce entrepreneurial video journey so to speak. That will definitely frustrate a few furus! 

Fancy taking part? Head over to my YouTube channel to find out more.

 

LAUGH

Is it lorne, square or slice sausage? Whatever you call it, Scotland’s favourite breakfast item is set to get its own flavour of crisps.

I had to laugh after reading that bosses at Mackie’s had unveiled their latest flavour - Lorne Sausage and Brown Sauce. Let’s not get into the red/brown debate, or should that be ketchup?

With claims that it really does taste like the real thing, I’ve no doubt that this proudly Scottish flavour is sure to be a hit with fans.

It’s not the first time that a brand has jumped on the popularity of the famous Scots dish, my regular readers will remember the Lorne sausage ice cream courtesy of Apex Hotels.

With a limited run of 150,000 packs set to hit shelves, it will certainly be on my shopping list.

 

WEEP

Edinburgh Zoo has provided the nation with its fair share of ‘animals do the funniest things’ related laughs over the years. Jealous penguins slinging poo at the pandas was a particular highlight.

However, it’s no laughing matter that the leading attraction recently announced their potential permanent closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Similarly, the Highland Wildlife Park in Kingussie has been struggling. The wildlife conservation charity revealed that it has had to borrow £5m in order to stay afloat during lockdown.

Despite signalling that outdoor attractions would be able to open safely by the end of June, the First Minister has quashed calls to give the green light, over fears that coronavirus could run wild.

Let’s hope that this delay to open doesn’t result in an industry wide extinction.

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