Race Equality Matters is pleased to announce that CDS Co-operatives have been awarded Bronze Trailblazer status!


CDS Co-operatives have been recognised and celebrated as an organisation that is committed to achieving racial equality in the workplace. Their continued determination toward impact with the firm engagement from employees and colleagues represent a true commitment to results which makes them a trailblazer for change. This has been decided by an independent panel of judges, in which 100% voted that CDS Co-operatives should receive the status and 77.8% said CDS Co-operatives is the type of organisation they would like to work for.


CDS Co-operatives was awarded the Bronze Trailblazer status after being awarded a Trailblazer for #Mynameis in our first round. Judges unanimously voted that substantial evidence of colleague engagement with a thorough and inclusive approach demonstrated real impact. CDS Co-operatives demonstrated impact through the personally written accounts by ethnically diverse colleagues about their experiences and the impact of the organisations campaign activity that truly highlighted meaningful change. The organisation successfully implemented a zero tolerance to racism policy that represented meaningful change alongside facilitating Tea Break conversations that allowed colleagues to have an open and honest dialogue. CDS Co-operatives demonstrated to judges a dedication to creating a safe space and environment that values all colleagues with the full support from stakeholders, their Board, CEO and leadership.

Why Tea Break and #Mynameis?

CDS Co-operatives reflected on why their organisation and ethnically diverse employees would benefit from #Mynamis and Tea Break. They shared:

At our online team meeting to launch #MyNameIs I showed the video of Victor that I had seen at a REM meeting as it had a big impact on me. This was also the case at our team meeting which was held on Zoom. Some people were emotional, and it opened up a powerful discussion on life experiences. Some people who never normally speak at meetings were keen to share their experiences.

Actionable points:

  • In 2020, CDS Co-operatives created an EDI group which they have continued to strengthen and incorporate into core business meetings and decisions. They include an EDI subject in all staff meetings.
  • They have bi-monthly EDI meetings, staff forums and also do Teabreak Tuesdays monthly where the subject is determined by the views of the team with an opening for further discussions in future Tea Breaks should it feel needed.


Feedback from an Ethnically-diverse Panel


  • Judges considered CDS Co-operatives implementation #MyNameis campaign activity, and the D&I efforts as not only positively impacting colleagues but opening up honest conversations and drawing out allies among their customer/client community too.
  • The application’s strongest areas were evidenced through the personal accounts and stories written by ethnically diverse colleagues about their experiences.


Impact and Ethnically Diverse Staff Endorsement


  • Bravery: CDS Co-operatives has demonstrated the empowerment of staff and through colleague accounts provided evidence of their initiatives encouraging staff to be brave and embrace their authentic identities at work. This element of storytelling allows colleagues and staff to truly understand the meaning in a name and what it means to that individual. It is not only related to ethnicity but also has historical, geographical and familial significance to that person, which is important to be honoured and respected.
  • Support: The continual strengthening of the EDI input and part time D&I network as well as the top-down support of initiatives that start with leadership and the CEO fully embracing and pursuing change, shows the building of a trust with the staff group that can be seen through their participation in the initiatives. Their work has also gained recognition from stakeholders and other organisations who have recognised the change as exemplary.


“I have since received a commendation from the Board. Our CEO is part of the G320 CEO group and they have asked if I could do a talk on what has been done across the company in order for them to also implement these tools.”


  • Ethnically diverse employee endorsement: CDS Co-operatives work and impact continues to be directed by ethnically diverse employees and informed by the EDI team. Further, CDS Co-operatives have plans to do an EDI Engagement Multiplier survey that will further inform their decisions and provide data to direct what they will do in the future.


“Staff felt that we ‘talked the talk’ before but they now believe we are ‘walking the walk,’ finally. The Board has also given a commendation on the good work done to date.”


Feedback from an Ethnically Diverse Panel


  • Judges praised the dedication of CDS Co-operatives in their use of initiatives and solutions to create a cultural shift within their organisation becoming an anti-racist organisation:

“Currently, they are in the process of finding their way to being an anti-racist organisation and have made good, they seem mostly to be in the process of starting initiatives and learning and identifying what they need to have in place.”

Next steps…


Moving forward, CDS Co-operatives seeks to develop:


  • Tea Break Tuesdays to encourage open and honest conversations around difficult subject matter,
  • A being a good Ally training workshop in response to their colleagues’ requests to address the difficulty they face in understanding how to engage in difficult conversations,
  • They also intend to take part in The Big Promise


CDS Co-operatives have demonstrated commitment and impact for change. Their #Mynameis and Bronze Trailblazer status echoes the impact felt by the organisation’s ethnically diverse employees who have shared their personal and inspiring stories. Celebrating our Trailblazer community will accelerate the change and momentum towards racial equality, through action not words.


Follow CDS Co-operatives Lead: Become a Trailblazer


If your organisation is driving change for Race Equality and you can demonstrate impact, endorsement from ethnic background employees and share future plans; register your interest for the next round of trailblazers.

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