Two people having a pint in the pub

Calling time on racism

At Greene King, we’re guided by our purpose – to pour happiness into lives – and a clear set of values. Core to our values is creating an inclusive environment for all our team members, providing everyone with the opportunity to have a fair and equal chance to fulfil their potential and creating a welcoming environment for all our customers.

A proud employer of 40,000 people from all backgrounds across England, Scotland and Wales, our pubs, restaurants and hotels serve many different communities. Pubs play a unique role in bringing people together which gives us the opportunity to drive positive change across the country. Notwithstanding our values and policies as a modern business, we know there is much more we need to do to promote inclusion and diversity and eliminate racism in our company, the pub and brewing industry and society more broadly.

Our company’s heritage, with our founder’s links to Transatlantic Slavery in the 1800s, means we are uniquely placed to drive this change and make a significant difference across the hospitalitysector. After handing over the Greene King business to his family, Benjamin Greene went on to profit from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s. This is inexcusable. While we can’t change our past, we can determine the present and the future; racism and discrimination have no place within our company or broader society.

We know we have much more to do and learn and we have spent the past year listening to our colleagues, customers and wider stakeholders to hear their views. This has helped us to recognise that different groups face difficult and nuanced challenges. While we have much to be proud of, especially through our work on social mobility and helping people from disadvantaged backgrounds to build a career in hospitality, we know we haven’t made enough progress for our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues or in creating welcoming environments for all parts of society.

Our ambition is to embrace and value our Black, Asian and minority ethnic colleagues and the wider community and increase their representation within the hospitality sector as a leading and truly antiracist organisation.
We commit to creating a caring, sustainable internal culture at Greene King in which all people who experience racism in society feel included, supported and enabled to thrive, regardless of their race, ethnicity and background. And we additionally commit to working with all stakeholders, collectively leading the charge against racism to build a future that is both inclusive and equitable – so that we all win, learn, and celebrate together, with the communities in which we operate.

Our Calling Time on Racism plan sets out four long term commitments to drive cultural change in the way we recruit and develop our people and ensure that our pubs, restaurants and hotels are welcoming to everyone and we deliver on our ambition to become an anti-racist organisation. And we want to work with the wider sector to play a lead role in championing change across hospitality.

Included in our commitments are pledges to double the number of Black, Asian and minority ethnic team members from 5% to 10% by 2030; create 1,000 job opportunities for young people in our business through our partnership with the Prince’s Trust over the next five years with 40% of participants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by year five; we will regularly bring a more diverse group of voices into our business to help us understand and shape our future and our brand development; and partner with Slave Free Alliance to fully analyse risks in our business and wider supply chain around modern slavery with an agreed strategic plan to implement.

Actions speak louder than words. We have nominated a board sponsor for race, an executive board-level steering group to drive the programme and we will report on our progress annually. We also have the support and engagement of our employee-led group Unity who are already providing valuable input. We are developing new partnerships with external organisations and are signatories to Business in the Community’s Race at Work Charter and the ‘If Not Now When?’ campaign.


Our commitments:

  1. Our senior leadership team will fully embrace antiracism in philosophy and practice, leading the journey of racial inclusion and representation across the organisation
  2. Establish and embed a sustainable culture of inclusion, celebration of difference and courage across the business
  3. Enhance the customer experience and leverage the Greene King brand and assets to promote racial inclusion and drive entrepreneurial opportunities for those who experience racism
  4. Ensure that our community activity reflects the diversity of the communities we serve, being a driver for change on race diversity locally


By 2022 we will:

  • Welcome more diverse talent into the business and into leadership positions, with a particular focus on the Black community through a full inclusion working group review of recruiting practices committed to the active sourcing of underrepresented candidates. Leadership team and senior manager shortlists to include at least one person from the Black, Asian or minority ethnic background community, with a comply or explain clause in search briefs
  • Embed everyday inclusion in our culture, irrespective of geography or role level through a calendar of activity that supports education and learning, external partnerships and the promotion and growth of our Employee Led Inclusion Groups
  • Work alongside our partners International Slavery Museum and Slave Free Alliance to deliver webinars on transatlantic slavery and modern slavery to Greene King team members
  • Work alongside our charity partner, Macmillan Cancer Support, to support projects directly linked to cancer care for people from ethnically diverse communities
  • Transform Greene King into an antiracist organisation by committing to activity including reverse mentoring, springboard programmes and foundational / leadership inclusion training
  • Develop awareness and deepen understanding so that leadership teams are informed and accountable for creating and inclusive culture across the business through a continuous inclusion narrative at all levels
  • Partner with Slave Free Alliance to fully analyse risks in our business and wider supply chain around modern slavery with an agreed strategic plan to implement
  • Rename our pubs with names which have racist connotations or an association with Transatlantic Slavery to ensure our venues are warm and welcoming to all
  • Establish an annual Insight report/review on Greene King and the broader pub market, to understand and begin to track our progress in building pubs and experiences which welcome all
  • Publish a commitment in all our managed premises explaining our anti-racist ambition and our zero-tolerance approach to all forms of racism and discrimination. Support with a training programme for team members.


By 2025 we will:

  • Understand the identities and career journeys of all employees across the business by following a data led approach and embedding a culture of storytelling that highlights success and establishes role models
  • Strengthen accountability, resources and policies through continuous review cycles supported by an inclusion impact assessment process
  • Maintain and develop our existing partnerships that address barriers to progress and legacy issues faced by the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities, including through our Releasing Potential programme, in line with our overall aspiration goal of achieving 10% Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation by 2030
  • Measure and reward for delivery of these priorities through the creation of a diversity data dashboard that drives true insight
  • Building on Greene King’s tenanted and leased model, develop and activate an entrepreneurship programme for Black, Asian and minority ethnic people
  • Have a clear understanding and tracking of Greene King, and the wider pub industry’s progress in creating welcoming environments for all
  • Have regular input from a diverse range of voices across our brand development, helping us evolve existing brands and offers to become the most welcoming pubs in the UK.


By 2030 we will:

  • Double Black, Asian and minority ethnic representation in the business to 10%
  • Create and evolve into a senior management team that closely reflects the diverse communities in which Greene King operates, by educating our teams on inclusive hiring practices that increases representation, supported by clear and achievable career pathways to develop our diverse talent. Increase Black, Asian and minority ethnic leaders from 6% to 12%, senior managers from 3% to 10% and managers from 4% to 10%
  • Develop and enhance partnerships, such as with the Prince's Trust, that address barriers to progress and legacy issues faced by the Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by creating 1,000 job opportunities for young people in our business over the next five years, with 40% of participants from Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities by year five
  • Leverage Greene King’s assets and influence to advocate for positive change locally and nationally by leading the development of a sector wide strategy on race diversity and inclusion


Click here to read the report