Diversity and Inclusion Manager Susan Doughty explains why it’s important and how Fonterra is working to provide a workplace that’s fair for all employees, regardless of gender.
Giving people a fair go is an inherent part of our Kiwi culture and it’s something we hold onto as a co-operative.
We work hard to ensure that all of our 22,000 employees around the world feel valued, respected and encouraged to fully contribute in a safe and supportive environment. We set high standards for ourselves when it comes to diversity and inclusion because it’s the right thing to do and it helps drive better business performance.
While we track progress internally, we also recognise the importance of external benchmarking. The Gender Tick is something we didn’t hesitate to jump onboard with. It’s a fantastic initiative because it promotes the importance of gender equality and helps keep organisations accountable. The programme looks at five key areas including gender inclusive culture, flexibility and leave, women in leadership, gender pay equality and ensuring a safe workplace.
We’re delighted to be one of the six foundation members and look forward to sharing our experiences with other businesses that are starting out in the accreditation process.
In addition, Fonterra is also currently working to gain the Rainbow Tick, which is awarded to workplaces that are inclusive and welcoming for people of diverse sexuality and gender identity.
These certifications help show our people, customers and the wider world that we are an inclusive organisation that reflects the communities in which we operate.
It’s also part of our contribution to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we will share more on that in our upcoming annual Sustainability Report.
How we are promoting gender equality
When it comes to promoting gender equality, it starts with having the right strategy, targets, policies and initiatives.
There are things we’re doing well, like having a diversity and inclusion policy and framework in place, promoting flexible working, offering additional parental leave entitlements, playing a lead role among Kiwi businesses to tackle family violence and reducing our gender pay gap in New Zealand from 4 per cent to 2 per cent this year.
But there are also areas where we can do better. The number of women at our senior leadership level has sat at around 30 per cent over the past couple of years, and it’s not good enough.
To help address this, our Board has approved an aspirational target to increase the number of women in senior leadership to 50% by 2022. Selection decisions will continue to be made on merit, but setting targets is important to help drive change. We are committed to ongoing measurement to track progress, and were among the first companies in New Zealand to sign up to the Champions for Change diversity reporting framework.
We have a real focus on gender balanced recruitment, flexibility, leadership development and addressing unconscious bias to help accelerate progress. Pay equity is another priority and we look forward to hosting the 2018 Equal Pay Awards in November as we continue the conversation, and concrete actions, to close the gap.
Throughout our Co-op, we have an amazing reservoir of untapped talent – both within our employee and our farmer base. We’re excited about what we can achieve together by fostering a truly inclusive environment where our people can be themselves and perform at their best.