Press release

13 Jan 2021 London, GB

EY joins the Black British Network as a Founding Member

EY will host round table discussions and participate in the Black British Network’s (BBN) photography and video series to document the experience of Black people, increase their visibility and showcase their positive contributions to society

Press contact
Rupa Sudra Bharadva

Manager, Media Relations, Ernst & Young LLP

Communications professional for EY UK. Mum of two, works part-time. Passionate about supporting women in business.

  • EY will host round table discussions and participate in the Black British Network’s (BBN) photography and video series to document the experience of Black people, increase their visibility and showcase their positive contributions to society
  • EY UK Chair Hywel Ball has also signed the BBN founder’s ‘Letter to Zion’ to show EY’s commitment to advancing Black and racial equality 

EY has announced its support of the Black British Network. Founded by Cephas Williams, the Black British Network works closely with UK businesses to help bring lasting systemic change for the Black community.

As a founding member, EY will join and support the Black British Network in a number of round-table conversations this year. These events will focus on how companies can support their people and create a culture where Black people can progress and develop their careers. It will be a forum for companies to compare their experiences, share insights into what has worked and what hasn’t, and to walk away with tangible actions to help change collective thinking, behaviour, processes, and understanding of the issues faced by the Black community.

The Black British Network is also planning a series of videos, titled ‘Black British Stories’, which will feature Black EY employees talking openly about their personal experiences and their hopes for the future. The aim of the videos and a photographic series, which is planned to be the largest collection of imagery of Black British citizens in the UK, is to document their experiences, contributions and to increase their visibility. 

Hywel Ball, EY UK Chair, says: “Creating long-lasting and meaningful progress, where we achieve racial equality and a society where everyone feels that they belong, requires concerted and collective effort across business, government, organisations and individuals. Changing the narrative is a crucial part of this and we are committed to working with the Black British Network, and taking action in our own organisation, to accelerate this agenda.”

‘Letter to Zion’ and EY’s commitment to advancing racial equality

The creation of the British Black Network follows Cephas Williams’ letter to his son Zion. In the open letter, he writes to his newborn son after the killing of George Floyd in the US and how he envisions a better future for him and the Black community. Hywel Ball, has signed the letter on behalf of EY to show the firm’s support and commitment to advancing Black and racial equality, joining a number of other UK and global companies.

Cephas Williams, founder of BBN, says: “I wrote ‘Letter to Zion’ in the hope that it would capture the hearts and minds of leaders in this country to work with me for the long run, through the Black British Network, and commit to a collective approach to seeing the change we so desperately need. It’s great to be adding Hywel Ball to the list of executive allies and EY as an organisation to the list of founding members today. If as a collective group of people, we can come together and unite our efforts to change the landscape for the black community, then nothing we set out to achieve will be impossible for us.”

Tackling racial inequality

Diversity and inclusion, and in particular, race continue to be key priorities for EY. Last year, EY published its commitment to anti-racism in the UK outlining new actions the firm is taking to create lasting cultural change at pace, especially for Black employees. These actions include recognising the importance of representation at senior levels in the firm and a target for 15% of its ethnic minority Partners to be Black by 2025. 30% of the work experience places on the EY Foundation’s Smart Futures/Our Futures programmes will also be offered to Black young people for the next five years from September 2021. Additionally, EY has set a target of offering at least 30% of places on its school leaver pathways to Black alumni from the Smart Futures and Our Futures programmes this year.