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Stonewall Gold Employer 2022

Unilever UK recognised for LGBTQI+ inclusion

Awarded Gold Employer (top 100) and 3rd place in the Retail/FMCG category by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index. Unilever has also been shortlisted as one of the ‘Top 10 inclusive companies’ by The British LGBT Awards.

Unilever has been awarded Gold Employer by the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index and shortlisted as one of the ‘Top 10 inclusive companies’ by The British LGBT Awards, recognising our work to further LGBTQI+ inclusion and create a safe and supportive space for LGBTQI+ employees in the UK.

Highlights include:

  • Growing our internal proUd network to over 300 employees across the UK and Ireland, including allies of the community. In 2021 despite the challenges of Covid-19, the network tripled in size and ran a series of virtual events from Drag Bingo to educational panel sessions. Already in 2022, proUd have run a series of events to mark LGBT+ History Month and are looking forward to a physical presence at Pride events across the country in June.
  • Launching new policies to support LGBTQI+ employees, including a new fertility policy that supports all employees experiencing fertility challenges, and is fully inclusive of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This includes Bupa support for the IVF medical process.

    Our transition/change of gender expression policy was launched in 2021 to ensure that we are giving employees who are trans and non-binary or questioning their gender identity, a safe space where they can be themselves and a workplace where they feel supported. Alongside the policy, Bupa support has been made available to colleagues and their families who require support on their journey.

    We have rebranded our paternity leave policy to a partner leave policy, in acknowledgement of all families and removing gender suggested norms.
  • Supporting the wider LGBTQI+ community through partnerships and advocacy: Unilever is entering its 3rd consecutive year of partnering with Switchboard LGBT+ Helpline, with over £100,000 being jointly-donated with Superdrug to the charity in the last two years. Unilever has raised awareness for this vital service by featuring Switchboard’s name and number on products like Close-Up, Vaseline, Lynx and Simple, that end up in thousands of homes across the UK.

    In 2021, Unilever signed on to be a member of TeamPride, a consortium of world-leading brands supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign to make sport more inclusive for the LGBTQ+ community. Unilever has also signed up to the LGBTI+ Refugee mentorship scheme in partnership with TENT to support refugees in settling in a new country and progressing their careers in a new industry.
  • Diversifying our recruitment and supply chain: Unilever has been recognised for its work on recruiting diverse talent through our partnerships with myGwork, the LGBTQI+ Talent Network and National Student Pride. Unilever has also committed globally to spending £1.7 billion annually with diverse suppliers, including those that are LGBTQI+ owned.
  • Participation in workplace equality indices: Identifying areas where Unilever is leading the way in equity, diversity and inclusion, and highlighting areas where we are still able to improve further. In 2020 Unilever was identified as Workplace Pride’s ‘Most improved LGBTQI+ inclusive private-sector organisation globally’.

Tyler Lee, Chair of the proUd network said: “I’m so pleased that Unilever has been acknowledged externally as a Top 100 employer, helping us to recruit more diverse talent to the business. For the network this is incredible recognition of the work we do and will allow us to identify areas where we can continue to push and do more to support Unilever becoming a beacon of LGBTQI+ inclusion.”

Richard Sharp, Vice President of HR for the UK & Ireland said: “Diverse people and different points of view make us stronger as a business – they make our decisions better, they bring creativity and innovation, and they make our workplace a more interesting place to be. It’s great that our progress is being recognised and I hope this indicates to current and future LGBTQI+ employees that Unilever is a place that welcomes, supports and values you.”

Employee stories

David Mason, Safety Science Leader

David smiling at camera wearing glasses, a yellow t-shirt and a rainbow lanyard

I’ve worked at Unilever for over 10 years and love the commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion; particularly the authentic way in which senior leaders show genuine support and allyship. I’m a safety scientist working at our Colworth site in Bedfordshire (home of the Magnum, Cornetto and Viennetta ice cream!) where I run our local proUd group. It's great to have a friends and allies locally, but it’s even more rewarding to be part of the wider Unilever proUd network, getting to know Unilever colleagues from all over the UK, as well as our sites around the world.

Austin Key, Unilever Future Leaders Programme

Austin smiling at camera wearing a black t-shirt

Since joining Unilever in 2019 I have truly seen the commitment of the company to continue to strive in its commitments to Diversity & Inclusion. The proUd network welcomed me very quickly and I have been able to get involved in supporting the UK & Ireland network which has been an incredible experience. As well as partnering with other LGBTQI+ charities, Unilever has consistently run events such as educational lunch & learn sessions to continue to educate and raise awareness as well. A highlight for me has been raising money for the National Aids Trust as part of the Red Run with fellow Unilever employees!

Lucy Hibbert, Global ED&I Manager

Lucy smiling at camera wearing a black jumper

I joined Unilever in Sydney, Australia in 2017 and at the time was so impressed with Ben & Jerry’s campaign supporting the marriage equality act which was only passed in December of that year. I feel very privileged to now be working in Unilever’s global Equity, Diversity & Inclusion team focused on our LGBTQI+ pillar of inclusion. As a passionate ally, I believe that corporate organisations have a huge role to play in advancing LGBTQI+ rights. We want people to know that Unilever is a safe space where anyone can be their true and authentic selves and thrive at work. We have grown our global proUd network to over 1000 people and this network of caring, engaging and committed individuals makes my job a dream!

About the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index

The Stonewall workplace equality index is a benchmarking tool for employers to measure their progress on lesbian, gay, bi and trans inclusion in the workplace. Unilever last submitted to the index in 2019 where we ranked 370th. However in 2022 we are delighted that we have moved to 59th in the UK as well as receiving a Gold Employer award. Unilever have also ranked 3rd in the Retail/FMCG category.

About The British LGBT Awards

The British LGBT Awards were founded in 2014 with the aim of shining a spotlight on role models, organisations & allies who are working towards bettering the needs of the LGBT+ community. Unilever has been shortlisted as a top 10 employer, with the winner announced at the awards ceremony in June 2022.