CEOs in action
NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, U.S. -- Chief executive officers of several agricultural companies have joined CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, a collaboration of more than 150 CEOs who are pledging to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

By joining the group, the CEOs vow to take action to make their companies places where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcomed and employees feel empowered to discuss inclusion and diversity. The initiative was launched on June 12 with CEOs representing more than 50 industries in all 50 U.S. states, representing millions of employees worldwide.

Agriculture company CEOs participating include Juan Luciano, Archer Daniels Midland Co.; Sean Connolly, Conagra Brands; David W. MacLennan, Cargill; Andrew Liveris, The Dow Chemical Company; Ed Breen, DuPont; Jeff Harmening, General Mills; and Irene Rosenfeld, Mondelez International.

“A key success factor for businesses today is an inclusive culture and a diverse workforce that can drive innovative thinking among people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” said ADM’s Luciano. “At ADM, we take very seriously our commitment to these ideals both within our company and the broader agricultural industry. Working with other organizations in the newly-formed CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion group will enable us to collectively advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace by sharing best practices and working toward common goals.”

As a member of CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion, ADM will share its experience from creating a workplace culture that values open mindedness and multiple perspectives from people of different backgrounds and experiences. In addition, the company’s annual employee diversity and inclusion training, and numerous support programs, are examples to build upon within the wider business community.

Building an inclusive workplace at ADM also extends to the broader agriculture sector. ADM founded and currently leads the Agriculture Diversity & Inclusion Consortium – a cross-functional council representing industry, academia, NGOs and legislative bodies – that is working to grow the pipeline of diverse talent within the industry. With the world’s population expected to exceed the available food in the next century – and the number of jobs in agriculture outpacing available workers to fulfill these roles – the consortium is identifying ways to build an inclusive workforce with the skills, capabilities and competitiveness to make American agriculture a leader for generations to come.

Cargill’s MacLennan said diverse teams deliver better business results and create connections beyond the workplace that foster better understanding. Joining the initiative is just the latest in Cargill’s efforts in advancing inclusion and diversity. In recent months it became a founding member of Paradigm for Parity, a coalition of more than 40 companies that pledged to achieve gender parity in management by 2030.

The company received a perfect score in the Human Rights Campaign’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index, a rating based on workplaces’ LGBT friendliness. For Cargill, it is the 14th straight year with a prefect 100 score.

The U.S. Department of Defense in June named Cargill a 2017 Employer Support Freedom Award recipient, which is considered the highest honor given to U.S. employers for support of military employees.

Each CEO who has signed on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion has committed to taking the following steps to increase diversity and foster inclusion within their respective organizations and the larger business community:

  • Continue to cultivate workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion. Companies will create and maintain environments, platforms and forums where their employees feel comfortable reaching out to their colleagues to gain greater awareness of each other’s experiences and perspectives.
  • Implement and expand unconscious bias education. Companies commit to rolling out and/or expanding unconscious bias education within their companies in the form that best fits their specific culture and business.
  • Share best known—and unsuccessful—actions. Companies commit to working together to evolve existing diversity strategies by sharing successes and challenges with one another.

For a full list of participants, click here.