Diversity & Inclusion ~ A Focused Journey for Spell
We are committed to ensuring the unique lived experiences and perspectives of our local and global team, our stakeholders and wider community are acknowledged and championed; it’s these lived experiences and perspectives after-all, that form the tapestry of our organisation, and humanity as a whole.
From age, race, physical or mental ability, ethnicity to gender identity, we strive to build and nurture a culture that is open, honest and inclusive.
We understand that a diverse and inclusive culture does not happen without effort and commitment, and it can not be achieved passively. Recently we have shared in a collective awakening and acknowledge our responsibility to play an active role in dismantling the racial, physical, mental, sexual and gender inequalities in our society.
You never forget the moment you truly drop into a truth.
Before you drop in, it feels obstructed from view, but once you see it – it can never be unseen. And so it was for us in 2020, in the weeks and months following the murder of Mr. George Floyd as awareness rippled out around the world, putting into motion a process of self-examination for our founders and leadership team. We are currently examining, through our own individual research as well as seeking external training, our own prejudices and conditioning and how that affects our organisation. What this examination has exposed is a passive non-racism and underlying lack of awareness around our white conditioning that we as a white owned brand cannot hide from any longer. We realise we can not demand change outwardly in our society until we examine and challenge ourselves inwardly.
A Note from Co-Founder Elizabeth Abegg:
It’s my responsibility as one of the leaders of this business, to learn, take action and try to implement change from the inside out. We operate our business here on Bundjalung Land and I acknowledge our extraordinary privilege and want to use that privilege to support our First Nations People and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander run organisations local to our community and around Australia. We are committed to using our platform to amplify black and brown voices, to sharing what we learn to raise others up, we’re committed to being vocal around issues of racism, even though I know at times we may get it wrong. I want to create a space where our BIPOC community can safely pull us up when we get it wrong.
We are committed to engaging with more women and men of colour, and as part of our broader diversity and inclusion efforts, more women and men of varying age, gender, sexuality and abilities across our business. We are committed to engaging with experts in areas of diversity, inclusion and cultural awareness to help us identify areas in our policies that need work. We as a business are committed to doing the work to better understand how to partake in dismantling the underlying racism and other prejudices or inequities within our society. So what does this mean? Since June 2020 the below is what we have been working on. We invite you to let us know how you think we can be doing better and what you’d like to see in 2021 and beyond (Email Us).
OUR ACTIONS AND COMMITMENTS:
1. Implementing a Diversity Board and Charter
We are employing experts across a spectrum of fields to work with us to operate from a best practice framework when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Our board is to be formed and operating by the end of 2021. Board members will be a combination of Spell team and external stakeholders who represent different diversity groups within Australia, (offering expertise in race, gender, disability etc) and we will develop a fully fledged suite of charter and policies based on collective input.
2. Implemented an Employee Assistance Program
Our mental health is as important as our physical health, and we implemented an internal EAP program to encourage our team to acknowledge the importance of checking in on their mood, resilience and emotional intelligence and support those who experience personal hardships.
3. Implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan
Respect, educate and immerse ourselves in the culture of our First Nations people and continually explore how we can honour the traditions and creativity from Aboriginal culture, particularly paying respects to the People of the Bundjalung Nation on which we run our business. The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program contributes to advancing the five dimensions of reconciliation by supporting organisations to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We are in the 1st stage of our RAP which is the ‘REFLECT’ stage. This stage can be up to 18 months and we are using this time to reflect with the immediate action plan in points below:
- Our Carbon Offset partner being an Indigenous run organisation
- Forming our RAP working group and working on the reflect stage
- Our co-founder taking part in a blak allyship course with Dixie Crawford
- Engaging local Indigenous people to educate our team on our local area through a cultural awareness course
- Seeking out Indigenous partnerships when it comes to our content creation and lifting up aspiring industry members
- Solidifying relationships with local Aboriginal Owned not-for-profit as part of our giving back program
- Working on creating ongoing collaborative work with Indigenous creatives - including a Spell apparel collaboration
- Education - We are committed to seeking training and education in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history via our local community leaders for our team in the areas of cultural awareness and communication. We understand this education must come from multiple sources and multiple voices. These training workshops are already underway but as this is an everlasting journey, we will continue to engage with Aboriginal owned businesses to gather knowledge as part of our professional development strategy.
- Researching to partner our local giving back funds to an organisation that uplifts Indigenous women in need
4. Policy Updates
Updates to our policies include but are not limited to:
- Implement a Code of Conduct that incorporates and recognises the Traditional Owners of our land
- Review of our modern slavery policy, and publish our Modern Slavery Statement on our website. Although this is a voluntary statement, we have followed the structure outlined by the Australian Modern Slavery Statement Act legislation.
- An update of our Anti Discrimination/Anti Bullying and EEO Policy
- Incorporate a recruitment framework outside of our usual recruiting processes that enables us to connect with talent within local communities that cater to Indigenous groups, those with disabilities and transgender.
- Work toward Spell being a workplace who has completed Cultural Awareness Workplace Accreditation.