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Parma, Italy, November 4, 2013 – Pledging to build on its corporate commitment to diversity, Barilla Group today announced steps to establish a more active, global leadership position on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility.
“Diversity, inclusion and equality have long been grounded in Barilla’s culture, values and code of conduct. They are reflected in our policies and the benefits we provide to all employees, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation,” said Chief Executive Officer Claudio Colzani. “At the same time, we are committed to promoting diversity further because we firmly believe that it’s the right thing to do.”
The steps include:
- A newly-established Diversity & Inclusion Board, comprising external experts and advocates who will help Barilla establish concrete goals and strategies for improving diversity and equality in the company’s workforce and culture with regard to sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights and multicultural and intergenerational issues. Individuals who have accepted positions on the Board to date include, David Mixner, a prominent global leader in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community and Alex Zanardi, a Paralympic gold medalist.
- Appointment of the company’s first Chief Diversity Officer, Talita Erickson, a Brazilian-born attorney who for the past year has served as General Counsel to Barilla America.
- Participation in the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) created by the U.S.-based Human Rights Campaign to measure and rate large companies on their policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) employees.
“I am encouraged by Barilla’s commitment to seek outside guidance and advice on these crucial issues and pleased to be a part of it,” said Diversity & Inclusion Board member David Mixner. “I am also impressed with the willingness of the Chairman and company to listen and learn from LGBT community leaders and work towards improving diversity, inclusion and equality.”
Barilla will also launch a global online contest in 2014 designed to engage people on diversity, inclusion and equality. Entrants will be asked to create short videos that represent the multifaceted nature of pasta, which will be submitted to the web community to be liked, shared and voted. The videos will be then judged by an expert panel and the winners will receive awards.
The new measures are based on recommendations the company heard during recent face-to-face meetings with civil and human rights leaders who advocate for inclusion and equality in Italy and the United States.
“We’re grateful to those who took the time to share their perspectives with us, and to get to know Barilla as a company. As a socially responsible company that serves and respects diverse consumers, we know we have to expand our commitment,” said Luca Virginio, Barilla’s executive director of communication and external relations. “Our goal is to do better by becoming a global corporate citizen and leader in diversity and inclusion, internally and externally.”