New HRC Report: Food, Beverage and Grocery Sector Setting the Pace on LGBT Workplace Equality

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Food, beverage and grocery companies continue to set the pace for corporate LGBT inclusion, according to the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, released today by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization.

This year, 851 companies actively participated in the annual CEI report, which rates companies based on whether they have inclusive benefits and protections that support workplace equality for LGBT employees. A full breakdown of the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) scores for the food, beverage and grocery sector, including 33 Fortune 500 companies, can be found here.

A record-breaking 407 companies nationwide earned 100-point scores in the 2016 CEI, 24 of which are from the food, beverage and grocery sector. One new sector participant this year was WhiteWave Foods Co. of Denver, Co., which entered with a perfect score of 100.  Additionally, Brown-Forman Corp. of Louisville, Ky.; and Diageo North America of Norwalk, Ct., improved their 2016 scores, obtaining perfect scores for the first time.

“We once again are pleased to see the inclusive work being done by these familiar household brands, and your neighborhood stores, to ensure fairness for their LGBT employees,” said Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Foundation’s Workplace Equality Program. “From your neighborhood grocery store to the brands in kids’ lunchboxes, the companies behind our most familiar household brands are also companies that have led on equality for LGBT employees. From equitable benefits to inclusive non-discrimination policies, food and grocery chains are invested in attracting and retaining top talent – proving that an equitable workplace for all employees is simply smart business.”

HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) is  America’s premiere benchmarking tool for LGBT workplace equality, and in 2015, for the first time in its 14-year history, required that top-scoring companies have a global non-discrimination policy or code of conduct that specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The results of this year’s CEI showcases how hundreds of U.S.-based multinational companies are not only promoting LGBT-friendly workplace policies in the U.S. but helping to advance the cause of LGBT equality around the globe.

“Our nation’s top companies continue to rise to the challenge of creating workplaces that are fully LGBT-inclusive,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This year’s CEI demonstrates yet again that America’s most successful companies continue to set the standard for inclusion, and understand that the fight for LGBT equality is a global endeavor, to be pursued with resolve and urgency.”

The CEI rates companies and top law firms on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:

  1. Non-discrimination policies
  2. Employment benefits
  3. Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBT diversity and inclusion
  4. Public commitment to LGBT equality
  5. Responsible citizenship

The full report is available online at

The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is the educational arm of America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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