Two major employers have apologised for their historical links to the slave trade and promised to donate to charities representing black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups.
Pub chain Greene King and Lloyd’s of London, one of the world’s biggest insurance firms, made the commitment after their roles in the save trade were exposed in a database held by University College London.
We don’t have all the answers, so that is why we are taking time to listen and learn from all the voices, including our team members and charity partners, as we strengthen our diversity and inclusion work,” – Nick McKenzie, Greene King
Greene King was founded in 1799 by Benjamine Greene, who was one of 47,000 people who benefitted from a government compensation package when slavery was abolished in 1833.
He received a sum equivalent to £500,000 in today’s money to give up three plantations in the West Indies.
Lloyd’s of London founder subscriber member Simon Fraser was paid almost £400,000 in today’s money to surrender his estate in Dominica, the UCL database also revealed.
Speaking to The Telegraph, which first reported the story, Greene King chief executive Nick McKenzie said the company would make a “substantial investment to benefit the BAME community and support our race diversity in the business as we increase our focus on targeted work in this area.”
He said: “It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s. We don’t have all the answers, so that is why we are taking time to listen and learn from all the voices, including our team members and charity partners, as we strengthen our diversity and inclusion work.”
A spokesperson for Lloyd’s told the paper that the organisation was sorry for the role it played in the 18th- and 19th-century slave trade.
“This was an appalling and shameful period of English history, as well as our own, and we condemn the indefensible wrongdoing that occurred during this period. We will provide financial support to charities and organisations promoting opportunity and inclusion for black and minority ethnic groups,” the spokesperson said.
Lloyd’s also intended to review “organisational artefacts, to ensure that they are explicitly non-racist”.
Organisations across the globe have altered their branding and issued statements to reflect their support of the Black Lives Matter movement and reiterate their commitment to diversity and inclusion.