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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Food, beverage and grocery companies are setting the pace for LGBTQ workplace equality and inclusion, with many big names in the convenience store industry counted among them.
According to the 2017 Corporate Equality Index (CEI), a new report issued by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, Wawa Inc. scored the highest among c-store chains, earning a 2017 CEI score of 100. HRC is the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization.
This year, 1,043 companies — including 156 Fortune 500 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 LGBTQ employees. A record-breaking 517 companies nationwide earned a score of 100, 72 of which are from the food, beverage and grocery sector.
"From cereal staples to family restaurants, the companies behind the brands that feed America have demonstrated that their LGBTQ workers and families are a priority when it comes to ensuring equality across their policies and benefits," said Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Foundation's Workplace Equality Program.
In addition to Wawa, other c-store industry players earning a score of 100 are: Tyson Foods Inc., E&J Gallo Winery, Diageo North America, The Coca-Cola Co., MillerCoors LLC, Kellogg Co., General Mills Inc., Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., ConAgra Foods Inc., Campbell Soup Co., Mondelez International Inc., PepsiCo Inc., and The Hershey Co.
Also appearing on this year's list are Mars Inc. (with a score of 90), Constellation Brands Inc. (80), and Dr Pepper Snapple Group (55). CHS Inc., the parent company of Cenex Zip Trip convenience stores, also ranked among the top companies with a 2017 CEI score of 20.
"Even in the face of relentless attempts to undermine equality, America's leading companies and law firms remain steadfast and committed to supporting and defending the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people," added HRC President Chad Griffin. "The unprecedented expansion of inclusive workplaces across the country and around the globe not only reflects our progress, [but] it helps drive it. As we enter a new chapter in our fight for equality, support from the business community will be more critical than ever to protect our historic advancements over the last decade and to continue to push equality forward for workers, customers and families around the world."
The CEI rates companies and top law firms annually on detailed criteria falling under five broad categories:
- Non-discrimination policies
- Employment benefits
- Demonstrated organizational competency and accountability around LGBTQ diversity and inclusion
- Public commitment to LGBTQ equality
- Responsible citizenship
To view the full 2017 Corporate Equality Index report, click here.