Consumer Goods and Retail

Sector Overview

Some of the UK’s largest employers sit in this sector, including high street fashion, major supermarkets and the manufacturers of the products on their shelves. There’s a wealth of opportunities available regionally and at head office locations.

Many of the organisations working with Stonewall have developed LGBT network groups to ensure inclusive environments for their LGBT staff. While networks offer social and peer support for staff, they also provide an integral business resource to help steer the organisations’ diversity and inclusion practices. Year on year we’re also seeing more of these organisations supporting their staff to attend Prides across the UK.

While these organisations realise it’s important to support their staff, they also meet thousands of customers every day. As a result, many in the sector are also now taking steps to assess the LGBT customer journey and ensure the needs of LGBT communities are being met.

What staff in the sector told us
“The workplace culture in my organisation is inclusive of trans people” – 56% of LGBT employees said yes
“I would feel comfortable disclosing my sexual orientation to my colleagues” – 60% of LGB employees said yes
“Senior managers in my organisation demonstrate visible commitment to trans equality” – 47% of LGBT employees said yes
“If I was a victim of homophobic and biphobic bullying and harassment, I would feel confident in reporting it to my employer” – 83% of LGB employees said yes

2018 Workplace Equality Index statistics

83% of organisations sent internal communications about LGBT awareness raising events, including LGBT History Month and the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia
67% of organisations have allies actively participating in LGBT network group activities
67% of organisations have demonstrated their commitment to LGBT equality on their website or on social media

In Focus

Consumer Goods and Retail - Heather Ducharme

Heather Ducharme, Sustainable Sourcing Manager, The Body Shop

How did you come to work in the consumer goods and retail sector?

I worked for many years on environmental sustainability issues in government and in nongovernmental organisations, before making a leap into cosmetic retail. I work on ensuring our natural materials are sourced sustainably and ethically. The job involves quite a lot of meetings and paperwork, but I do also get to travel to amazing places around the world to actually meet the people who work directly with the raw materials that end up in our products.

As an LGBT person, what’s it like working in the retail sector?

My experience in an office role has been very positive. But I imagine LGBT people’s experiences might vary widely depending on which part of the sector they’re in, how they identify, and their self-expression. For example, parts of the mainstream cosmetic sector still emphasise a very conventional, youthful, feminine appearance, so some people might struggle in a frontline retail position.

What’s it like being LGBT in your role?

Being out at the office in the UK is great. It’s amazing to work somewhere that being a feminist, environmentalist, bisexual, immigrant, and activist aren’t just accepted, but valued. But it can be more complicated when I visit suppliers around the world. Seventy-two countries still have laws criminalising homosexuality, so I have to be aware of local laws and attitudes and cautious with what I say about my family life.

Are you involved in the LGBT network at The Body Shop?

Yes! A small group of motivated employees launched the company’s first formal LGBT employee network in the UK on International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia this year. We had an amazing turnout at our launch events. I hope we can ‘go global’ to help support LGBT colleagues internationally.