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BJ’s, Delhaize America, Walmart Top Scorers in Corporate Equality Index

The 2017 Corporate Equality Index, which rates businesses according to their LGBT-related policies and practices, among them nondiscrimination workplace protections, domestic partner benefits, transgender-inclusive health care benefits, competency programs and public engagement with the LGBT community, includes a variety of food retailers and wholesalers, including three that received a perfect score of 100.

The food retailers that earned a 100 were BJ’s Wholesale Club, Delhaize America and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Other high scorers were Ahold USA (95), The Kroger Co. (95), Giant Eagle (85), Whole Foods Market (85) and Supervalu (80). Lower scorers were Costco (70), Winn-Dixie (45), H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (30) and C&S Wholesale Grocers (20). Among the companies that didn’t provide information to the index, Publix Super Markets and United Natural Foods Inc. each received an unofficial rating of 10, while SpartanNash got a zero.

“BJ’s Wholesale Club is committed to creating a diverse workplace through its values of Team, Community, Respect and Integrity,” said Chris Baldwin, president and CEO of the Westborough, Mass.-based retailer, which operates 214 clubs and 130 gas stations in 15 states. “Working to ensure a diverse and supportive culture, BJ’s offers a wide range of policies, services and practices that promote inclusion for all team members.”

“Delhaize America is committed to upholding a diverse and inclusive environment for all of our associates,” said Millette Granville, director of diversity and inclusion for Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize America, which operates more than 1,200 East Coast stores in 16 states under such banners as Food Lion and Hannaford. “We are proud and honored to have earned a perfect score in the Corporate Equality Index again this year, a true reflection of our mission of building a more inclusive company and stronger communities.”

"At Ahold USA. we strive to foster an environment of acceptance and openness among our associates through providing awareness and education," observed Subarna Malakar, VP, global diversity and inclusion at the Carlisle, Pa.-based grocer, which along with Delhaize America is part of international grocery conglomerate Ahold Delhaize. "An important step toward this goal was the formation in June of the People Respecting Individual Differences & Equality (PRIDE) business resource group. The group aspires to support Ahold USA and its divisions in providing inclusive and welcoming environments to shopr and work for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community."

“In this 15th edition of the Corporate Equality Index, we have seen the largest increase in top-rated businesses in the history of our survey, with 517 employers earning perfect 100 percent scores,” observed Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, which administers the index. “In addition, this year saw the CEI’s largest jump ever in businesses offering transgender-inclusive healthcare coverage — from 511 last year to 647 this year.”

Added Griffin: “While there is much to do and many key civil rights fights ahead, thanks to these private-sector leaders, the march towards greater equality is not slowing down. The LGBTQ community and the 887 businesses in the CEI will keep moving forward every day.”

In related news, Walmart has settled a lawsuit related to its denial of same-sex spousal benefits before changing its policy in 2014.

Based in Washington, D.C., the Human Rights Campaign is the United States’ largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual transgender and queer people.

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