The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s 2018 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) features a record-breaking 609 businesses that earned 100-point scores for their commitment to LGBTQ workplace equality. Sixty-five of those companies are from the food, beverage and grocery sector, including Ahold USA and Delhaize America (now sister companies since the 2016 Ahold-Delhaize merger) and BJ’s Wholesale Club, all of which have received high scores on previous indexes. Those businesses with top scores made it onto the organization’s Best Places to Work 2018 list.
“From cupboard staples to family restaurants, the companies behind the brands that feed America have demonstrated that LGBTQ inclusion for employees, their families and customers is a priority,” noted Deena Fidas, director of the Washington, D.C.-based foundation’s Workplace Equality Program.
“BJ’s is committed to improving the lives of all our team members through a diverse, welcoming and inclusive workplace,” said Carol Stone, SVP of human resources at the Westborough, Mass.-based warehouse club chain, which scored 100 for the second year in a row. “Integrity, respect and teamwork are at the heart of everything we do at BJ’s.”
“At Ahold USA, we strive to represent the many diverse communities we serve, and we are proud to support the LGBTQ community throughout the entire organization,” noted Subarna Malakar, VP, global diversity and inclusion at the Carlisle, Pa.-based grocer, which received a score of 95 last year. “It’s truly an honor to receive a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index, and we know our associates are proud of this important accomplishment.”
“Delhaize America and its local brands, Food Lion and Hannaford, are committed to upholding a diverse and inclusive environment for all of our associates,” observed Millette Granville, director of diversity and inclusion for Salisbury, N.C.-based Delhaize America, also a repeat 100-scorer. “This recognition is a true reflection of our mission of continuing to build a more inclusive company and stronger communities.”
Others in the sector to earn scores of 100 included Anheuser Busch Cos., Aramark Corp., Barilla America Inc., Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Inc., Brown-Forman Corp., Campbell Soup Co., Cargill Inc., The Coca-Cola Co., ConAgra Brands Inc., Constellation Brands Inc., Diageo North America, E&J Gallo Winery, General Mills Inc., The Hain Celestial Group Inc., The Hershey Co., Hormel Foods Corp., Kellogg Co., Land O’Lakes Inc., MillerCoors LLC, Mondelez International Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Pernod Ricard USA LLC, Tyson Foods Inc., and c-store operator Wawa Inc.
Among food retailers and wholesalers who didn’t score 100 were The Kroger Co. (95); Giant Eagle Inc. and wine and spirits distributor Young’s Market Co. (85); SpartanNash, Supervalu Inc. and Whole Foods Market Inc. (75); Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. (45); and C&S Wholesale Grocers Inc. and H.E. Butt Grocery Co. (30).
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which earned a 100 score last year, had its 2018 rating suspended, “pending remedial steps by the company,” after recent cases “pointed to significant enforcement gaps in Wal-Mart’s nondiscrimination policy, specifically with regards to sex and gender identity,” the HRC Foundation explained in its report.
Companies that declined to provide information and whose ratings were based on publicly available information and data submitted by unofficial LGBTQ employee groups or individual employees included Dollar Tree Stores Inc. (20), Publix Super Markets (no rating) and Sealed Air Corp. (20).
The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories: nondiscrimination policies, employment benefits, demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion, public commitment to LGBTQ equality, and responsible citizenship.