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Statement on the origins of BCT’s endowment and racial justice 

In July 2020, in response to the killing of George Floyd and an increasing global dialogue about racial justice and institutional racism, Barrow Cadbury Trust posted a blog by our chair, Erica Cadbury, on the findings of some historical research into the role of the Cadbury company (the profits from which form a part of the current endowment invested to fund our work) in slavery or related exploitation.  Whilst the establishment of the company post-dated the abolition of slavery in this country in 1833, enquiries revealed involvement in indentured labour on Sao Tome and Principe cocoa plantations.  You can read the blog here.   

 Since July 2020 we have continued to reflect on the legacy of colonialism and labour exploitation, as part of the origins of our endowment and we are planning to pursue this further over the coming months.  However, being transparent about the past is not enough, we must ask ourselves “what next?”  Therefore, as an organisation focused on social and racial justice, we will be looking at how that knowledge will impact on our work, on the groups and individuals we work with, and on broader society.   

Working on racial justice has been core to the Trust’s work for a number of decades, so we are pleased to take this opportunity to examine and develop our approach, strategy, and activities, in order to play as useful a part as possible in the ongoing conversations and actions around addressing structural racism.  In particular, we will integrate this into our strategic review, which begins in April.  We anticipate that it will involve looking closely at our governance, the diversity of our board of trustees and how we consult our stakeholders when taking strategic decisions.    It will also mean taking a hard look at all areas of our work, especially those where racial justice has featured insufficiently.  

A statement about the progress of these discussions and our next steps will be published on our website in due course.  Meanwhile, we stand in solidarity with all minoritised people and are committed to our own continuous improvement.   

Erica Cadbury (Chair) and Sara Llewellin (Chief Executive) on behalf of the Barrow Cadbury Trust Board and staff team.