Greene King has apologised for its historic links to the slave trade and pledged to donate money to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

The pub company was founded in the early 19th century by Benjamin Greene, one of 47,000 people who benefited from the UK Government’s decision to compensate Britons when slavery was abolished in 1833.

The Telegraph reports Greene received nearly £500,000 in today’s money when he surrendered rights to three plantations in the West Indies.

Details of the sums are set out in a University College London (UCL) database, though Greene King does not mention its past links to slavery on its website.

Nick Mackenzie, Greene King’s CEO, told The Telegraph: “It is inexcusable that one of our founders profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s. 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.”

He added that Greene King would make a “substantial investment to benefit the BAME community and support our race diversity in the business as we increase our focus on targeted work in this area.”

According to UCL, Lloyd’s of London, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank, HSBC and Lloyds Banking Group also benefited directly or indirectly from the slavery payments.