Our vision for the consumer FMCG sector has always been to achieve a truly level playing field.
We believe that if we create a world in which there is equality, fairness and support for everyone, big or small, powerhouse or visionary, we will all collectively benefit. This principle forms the foundation of our business – something we have always worked tirelessly towards. We are incredibly proud of the impact we have had, giving a stronger voice to the challenger and SME space since we launched, and are even more committed to continuing our work now and in the future.
But with the world’s spotlight firmly on inequality in recent weeks, the concept of ‘levelling the playing field’ has taken on an even deeper meaning for us. Any form of prejudice has no place in today’s world. We must work towards a fairer, more accepting and inclusive society. By limiting our own ability to accept and value our differences, we are stifling progress and building walls. Beyond policymakers, the onus is on us as individuals and businesses to effect change at the grassroots level.
We care greatly about inclusivity and fairness, and it’s what we have always championed. But the recent events and discussions have reminded us that we can and should do more to promote diversity in our sphere of influence: within our own business and across the FMCG challenger brand community.
After all, how can we participate in a Business-to-Consumer sector that doesn’t genuinely represent and reflect our richly diverse consumers? And this diversity is broad, from race, gender and sexuality to education, class and worldviews, to name a few.
Over the last few weeks, we have prioritised listening above speaking. We’ve been listening to our team, our colleagues and partners across the industry and, just as importantly, creating new conversations with those we have never met and whose paths we may otherwise have never crossed. We acknowledge that trying to understand the perspectives of others is the base level prerequisite to any meaningful and considered action.
With this, the team at Young Foodies has begun an open discussion about our beliefs, our tools for impact and how we can use our influence to effect positive change. Genuine change. We have also begun some discussions with our community members to better understand the role we play today and what more we can do moving forward.
Today marks the first step in our journey to share this with you all, starting with our beliefs and principles on diversity & inclusion.
- We believe that businesses should embrace diversity for the human argument more so than the economic argument, although both exist.
- We believe in establishing equal opportunities and fair treatment at every stage of a person’s life and career.
- We must listen and educate ourselves to understand where to focus our efforts; but action is the only thing that will move the needle.
- A long term, meaningful plan woven into the fabric of our business will have more impact than short term tactical change, but this won’t happen overnight.
- Even the most open of us have unconscious biases, but we can build awareness, processes and support each other in good faith to identify and minimise them.
- We may get things wrong on the journey, but this will not prevent us from action.
We recognise the potential impact Young Foodies can have, and we take that position seriously. We will move quickly, although we will not rush. We are spending the necessary time to ensure our long and short term initiatives are properly set up for lasting results.
Where we are directing attention:
- As a business, we are reflecting on how we hire, develop and support our team, from reviewing the language we use through to unconscious bias training, and we are making diversity and inclusion an active and regular conversation.
- As a service provider, we are investigating how we can embed our principles into our services, in full consciousness of our position as the leading specialist recruiter into challenger brands. We are exploring the use of anonymised profiles to remove bias, educating ourselves on how to challenge those looking for ‘cultural fit’, and widening our candidate attraction areas. We also recognise that we can do more to enrich our learning and development services to build the skills and tools across our community that promote diversity and inclusion.
- As an industry influencer and community leader, we are looking into how we can facilitate discussion, education and coordinate collaboration. From hosting discussion groups and events on diversity topics, to improving representation in our event panelists. Where we can amplify existing ideas and initiatives, we will.
- Finally, we are working through a way to measure change – only by auditing ourselves and being honest about where we are now can we understand if we are going in the right direction. Diversity isn’t fixed overnight, but in 6 month’s time we would love to have evidence of progress.
The purpose of this blog is to share with you the first steps in our journey as a business, a service provider, an industry influencer and as an accountable change-maker, to help achieve our ongoing goal of a more level playing field in every respect – diversity in business and diversity in the workplace. This is just the beginning and we will share regular updates on how we are getting on.
Many businesses and individuals are going through the same reevaluation journey. Some have answers but many more have questions. Now is the time to work together in good faith. The results will be greater if we collaborate.
So now over to you all. We are calling upon businesses in our network and beyond, whose beliefs align with ours, to please reach out. We may all have ideas, however big or small, and we would love to hear yours and collaborate with you on actions.
Thea & Chris