We’re proud of every You in Unilever, not just during this Pride month but every day.
And while Pride month is associated with carnivals and sparkle, celebrating tolerance and acceptance, current events also remind us that that change comes from taking a stand.
The genesis of Pride month is no exception. The first march on 28 June 1970 was held to mark the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots – a series of demonstrations in New York – and to concentrate the efforts of the LGBTQI+ community on their human rights and help establish places for gay men and lesbians to be open about their sexual orientation without being arrested.
We pride ourselves on being a diverse and tolerant business, but there is still much to be done to make it a tolerant and inclusive world.
It’s also why – alongside our online celebrations to mark Pride – we’re taking action. We’re taking a stand. We’re signing our name. We’re working to make our LGBTQI+ colleagues and consumers as proud of us as we are of them. Here are six initiatives we’re supporting.
Signing the Declaration of Amsterdam
On 19 June, our CEO Alan Jope will sign the Declaration of Amsterdam – a global statement of support for LGBTQI+ rights. “The Declaration of Amsterdam has a strong symbolic value for us,” says Frank Galestien, who works in Unilever’s Foods & Refreshment team and is organising some of our Virtual Pride events in the Netherlands. “Signing the Declaration is something that makes us extremely proud. It links clearly to Unilever’s purpose to allow everyone to bring their whole self to the workplace. This is a very important signal on how much inclusivity is valued,” he adds.
Sense-checking our resources with Stonewall
Stonewall works with institutions and organisations to create inclusive and accepting cultures. They will work alongside Unilever to audit our policies and procedures. We will be able to access their resources and training and participate in their Global Workplace Equality indices to benchmark how we are progressing on LGBTQI+ inclusion in our workplace.
Promoting inclusion in our business and beyond
We’ve joined Open for Business, a coalition of leading global companies to show we mean business on taking action on LGBT+ inclusion globally.
Introducing proUd, a support network for Unilever’s LGBTQI+ community and allies
Launching a proUd network of employees
We’re introducing a new Global Employee Resource Group called proUd. Its mission statement is clear. “We will be a beacon of inclusion for the LGBTQI+ community and allies, amplifying their voice in society and at Unilever, to enable them to be their true, authentic selves,” says founding member and executive sponsor Alex Owens, who is a VP in Unilever’s Market Analytics team.
“We hope members will be open to helping us shape its objectives and events. Everyone is welcome to join, whether they identify as part of the LGBTQI+ community or are an ally. And if people want to seek a support network in confidence – we will respect that too.”
Bringing support and advocacy to Teams calls
We’ve created a selection of four Pride backgrounds to bring vibrancy and advocacy to our MS Teams calls. Colleagues can pick a background, upload a photo, unmute and let the conversations begin.
Alex Owens, founding member and corporate sponsor of proUd chose Unilever London HQ as his Pride background
Celebrating Pride globally and virtually on 26 June
We’ll be hosting Global Virtual Pride, with activities taking place in our business hubs around the globe. Guest speakers and webinars will provide insight and understanding, and virtual DJs and dance lessons will be on offer to help us celebrate the day.
Continuing to listen, learn and bring change
Events will also be held to promote understanding and support diversity and inclusion throughout the year. These include a 21-day Allyship Challenge sponsored by the US team to encourage allies to be visible and impact change, and a training session in the UK to support people who want to ally and have more open conversations.
All these initiatives are just the beginning. Unilever will not tolerate any form of racism or discrimination. Our diversity as people is what makes us stronger. Inclusion for all is what will make us better.