Two of Britain’s largest companies have vowed to pay money benefiting Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities after their roles in the slave trade were revealed.
Insurance giant Lloyd’s of London and pub chain Greene King said they will devote large sums to projects assisting BAME communities, after they were named in a database of companies connected to slavery compiled by University College London.
Greene King was founded in 1799 by Benjamin Greene, who became one of 47,000 people who benefited from compensation paid to slave owners when slavery was abolished in the British empire in 1833.
Greene surrendered rights to three plantations in the West Indies in return for what amounts to £500,000 in today’s money.
While Greene King’s past connections to slavery are not mentioned on the company’s website, chief executive Nick Mackenzie told the Daily Telegraph the company would update its site on 18 June, while he also offered an apology for that chapter of the pub chain’s history.
“It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s,” he told the paper.
“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.”
Mackenzie said Greene King would make a “substantial investment” to benefit BAME communities and work to support its own race diversity.
With regard to Lloyd’s, the database shows that Simon Fraser, a founder subscriber member, was given £400,000 in today’s money to give up an estate in Dominica.
A Lloyd’s spokesman told the Telegraph: “We are sorry for the role played by the Lloyd’s market in the 18th and 19th century slave trade.
“We will provide financial support to charities and organisations promoting opportunity and inclusion for black and minority ethnic groups.”
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