During the Summer of 2020, following the murder of George Floyd and the global call to action from the Black Lives Matter movement, we recognised that we needed to do more to address structural racism. As part of this movement brands were asked to be transparent and publish diversity statistics.
In June 2020 we published a statement to acknowledge and support the Black Lives Matter movement, in which we highlight that Lush is a friends and family founded and owned business, based in Dorset, England with a small Board, which has no Black members. We also stated that Lush is a global company, and we are committed to embedding equity, diversity and inclusion in all Lush businesses across the world. However, having never collected formal company wide diversity figures before, we were unable to publish our statistics at that time, but we promised to collect these figures in order to be able to respond to the call for transparency. This report is our first step towards fulfilling that promise.
Before now we did not gather demographic information from Lush employees because we have never wanted to fall into the exercise of ‘box-ticking’, nor has it been the Lush way to set diversity quotas. Previously, our approach to diversity and inclusion was to make it clear, loudly and publicly, that our business and stores are places where All Are Welcome, Always. However, we have realised in order to be truly transparent and accountable to a diversity commitment, we need to gather this information.
We put into motion a diversity monitoring survey, in each area of the business (Lush UK&I Retail, Lush Ltd, Lush Manufacturing, Lush Digital and Cosmetic Warriors) to get a better understanding of what the makeup of our UK&I business is. The report surveyed all demographic data: providing a benchmark of where we are, an understanding of where representation is lacking and where we can make improvements.
Whilst all other areas of identity are important to equity, diversity and inclusion, we felt a separate report to delve into race and ethnicity was a way to stay true to why this survey came about in the first place – to respond to conversations about structural racism across wider society.
The survey was sent to UK&I employees to voluntarily complete. The response rate was 48.7% – 1,964 employees out of 4,030 employed at the time of surveying (July – August 2020). It’s worth noting here that at this point in time, the majority of our Retail staff were on furlough, so not obliged to do anything work related.
As well as conducting this UK&I company wide diversity monitoring survey, Lush embarked on a 100 day plan (June-October 2020) across all areas of the business to ensure that there were internal improvements for our staff and customers, and to begin the work to tackle structural racism.
2.0 A look at the demographic groupings
We have not embarked on gathering demographic data before and our aim for defining ethnicity, race and identity was to give room to employees to self-identify, whilst also enabling us to capture and reflect what race and ethnicity groups are represented at Lush.
As a guide, we based the survey definitions on the recommended ethnicity groupings from the UK Census. The groupings are as shown here.
We recognise that identity and language are complex, through the process of surveying we attempted to offer recognisable, familiar and comfortable definitions, by aligning with the UK Census and Office of National Statistics (ONS). However, we have taken learnings and feedback from this approach, and for future diversity surveying we will be looking at how the questions and criteria promote Lush culture, values and shared language, as opposed to simply aligning with ONS.
The aim to provide room for people to self-identify, using language and definitions that are comfortable and accurate remains the same, however we now have a more thorough understanding of how to capture and analyse demographic data, and how we want to communicate this.
UK and Ireland population statistics are an important benchmark when looking at diversity. If a company is attractive to applicants from all parts of society, then as a bare minimum a company’s diversity should reflect the diversity of wider society – we want to go beyond this.
- 1.0% of the UK population were from Other ethnic groups
- 2.2% of the UK population were from Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
- 3.3% of the UK population were from Black ethnic groups
- 7.5 % of the UK population were from Asian ethnic groups
- 86.0% of the UK population was White
National statistics are a point of interest and reference, they are useful for us to gather an understanding, and learn how our representation data compares to the wider demographics of the UK public. However we do not set limits to our hopes and aspirations for diversity within Lush. We will use diversity reporting to identify where representation at Lush is lacking, and to influence and inform how we attract talent and offer career opportunities, to build a stronger diverse business. We have begun this work with the creation of an Inclusive Recruitment Best Practice Guide.
3.0 Representation findings
The findings are based on survey responses, taken during July – August 2020, by 1,964 employees from across Lush UK&I combined companies. The response to the survey groupings are as follows:
For the purposes of this report, we have further analysed and clarified the information.
We acknowledge that by simplifying the groupings into these narrow terms we run the risk of losing detail on the reality of culture, identity, language, and lived experience. Grouping the information in this way is only for the purposes of communicating our diversity, race and ethnicity representation statistics, and it cannot fully define Lush staff.
- 2.0% Black Lush UK&I Employees
- 2.1% Self-Identified as Other Ethnic Group Lush UK&I Employees
- 3.7% Asian Lush UK&I Employees
- 4.4% Mixed Ethnicity Lush UK&I Employees
- 87.8% White Lush UK&I Employees, of which 18.9% are not of British nationality
639 of 1,964 (32.5%) of Lush UK&I employees who completed the survey confirmed their job role as a management position.
It is important to note that self-identification was used throughout the survey. In accordance with this, employees were asked to confirm their management positions based on the following criteria:
‘We pride ourselves on internal progression within Lush, and will continue to nurture and invest in your development. That being said we must work on increasing management opportunities to those underrepresented groups. By confirming if you are in a position of management, we will gather a better understanding of the progression. In this case, management is defined as directing, leading and supporting others.’
You can find the full breakdown of how Lush UK&I managers responded to the survey groupings in the table above. For the purposes of this report, we have continued to use the Lush groupings to communicate management diversity and representation statistics.
- 1.1% Black Lush UK&I Management
- 1.4% Self-Identified as Other Ethnic Group Lush UK&I Management
- 2.5% Asian Lush UK&I Management
- 4.2% Mixed Ethnicity Lush UK&I Management
- 90.8% White Lush UK&I Management, of which 14.4% are not of British nationality
4.0 What now?
We acknowledge that the data is not complete and this report is our first effort at taking a snapshot of where our company is. This initial survey and report has given us room for learning about who is represented and who works at Lush UK&I, and a better position to approach demographic surveying in future.
Diversity enriches our lives and our business, and our future aim is to regularly capture Lush’s global diversity and representation data.
We can see from this report we have some way to go to improve race and ethnicity diversity at Lush UK&I. We believe that multiculturalism within any business can play a vital role in the development and growth of the brand. Our experience shows that diversity makes for broader, more stable and profitable business, meaning there is not just a societal reason, but also strong business reasons to get this right.
What we have learnt from the resurgence of the Civil Rights movement and the Black Lives Matter movement is that demographic data can reveal the reality and evidence of structural racism and inequalities. We are not shying away from listening, evolving and becoming a part of the effort to disrupt racism.
As part of our future strategy we want to invest in and elevate employee voice and make evidence based decisions. The diversity monitoring survey will be a part of this approach to gather evidence. We will use this information to analyse and compare alongside the responses to our Lush Listens engagement survey (details below). This way we are capturing both who makes up Lush, and how they experience Lush as a workplace.
The Lush Listens engagement survey is one part of championing employee voice, where all employees are asked to evaluate and comment on their experience and life inside Lush.
In 2017, we began an employee ownership scheme, Lush Employee Benefit Trust (EBT), across all of Lush’s 22 Group countries (those owned by Lush Ltd), where 10% of company shares are held on behalf of the staff. Because the EBT functions across continents and cultures, this gives Lush not just a global reach, but an accessible way to collaborate with employees.
We understand diversity as one pillar of our commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. To accompany the above surveying aims, we have identified four areas of action and opportunity that we see as ongoing work to improve equity, diversity and inclusion:
- Ensuring safety, wellbeing and transparency through policy, guidelines and practice.
- Building on representation, innovation and creativity through products, recruitment, retention and mentoring.
- Providing knowledge and toolkits through learning and development.
- Creating meaningful connections through lived and shared experience with the EBT and the Lush Community Network.
We do not want to remain silent in the face of structural racism. However we understand that a large part of this is doing the required internal work. We now feel in a more informed position to approach this work understanding the intersectionality of identity, and celebrating all the ways in which the People of Lush are human.
This will be the company we want it to be.