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Taking Pride everywhere we work: Cargill celebrates LGBTQ+ inclusion around the globe

June 21, 2019

June is a historic month for LGBTQ+ people everywhere, as the global community recognizes the 50-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, which served as a major catalyst in the fight for equal rights regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. LGBTQ+ Pride events around the globe are honoring the sacrifices made over the years and celebrating progress, community and inclusion.

Cargill teams in several cities are right there beside them, showing that the company is a vibrant community where all employees can be their best.

Perhaps nowhere will Cargill’s presence be clearer than in São Paulo, Brazil, which hosts one of the world’s biggest Pride parades and is also home to a large Cargill office. More than 100 employees are expected to walk alongside family and friends, including some traveling from other Cargill locations such as Mairinque, Campinas and Uberlândia. Meanwhile, Pride month will be celebrated at more than 40 Cargill facilities across Brazil.

In Costa Rica, which is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its Pride parade in San Jose, Cargill is joining with other companies for a float that represents the firms’ shared vision for a diverse and inclusive work environment.

“I’m very proud to be part of a company that recognizes its employees just the way they are,” said Julio Cesar Hernandez, who organized Cargill’s participation in San Jose and who works as a shared services analyst. “Cargill’s participation in this event helps us feel safe and proud, and at the same time promotes tolerance.”

Cargill is hosting the corporate community at its office in Amsterdam for an event on behalf of Workplace Pride, an organization of about 80 companies. This year, Cargill is signing the “Declaration of Amsterdam” in support of its commitment to maintaining an inclusive environment for all LGBTQ+ people.

In other countries such as Japan, interest in community participation is growing. Yui Sato, leader of the local Cargill Pride Network and an operations specialist in the Tokyo office, said that although no employees there are known to have come out as LGBTQ+, that’s all the more reason to be visibly supportive and inclusive.

“We must have a workplace with psychological safety, where everyone is welcome,” she said.

Along with several co-workers, Sato attended the Tokyo Rainbow Pride event in April to learn, ask questions and build connections. She hopes to lay the groundwork for more involvement next year, when the world’s spotlight turns to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics.

Continuing to push forward

In Cargill’s headquarters of Minneapolis, a large group of employees is expected to represent the company at the Pride parade downtown on June 23. Yet Cargill’s presence at Pride events in the U.S. expands beyond Minneapolis – to events in other heartland cities like Wichita, Kansas; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The event in Grand Rapids will benefit Grand Rapids Pride Center, which offers an array of resources for the LGBTQ+ community in the surrounding region.

“By participating as a sponsor of Grand Rapids Pride Fest, Cargill supports the local LGBTQ+ community. Doing so also raises awareness and education at Cargill plants to support an inclusive workplace,” said McKenna Walbeck, who organized Cargill’s participation and who does supply chain planning for the company’s North American protein business.

In all, it’s about celebrating and supporting employees “bringing their whole selves to work,” said Erryn Williams, Cargill’s global inclusion and diversity strategy lead.

“This is a signature event for our LGBTQ+ and Allied employees. It’s important for us to be visible and inclusive both in the workplace and in the community,” she said.

Cargill’s support for fostering a safe and supportive environment everywhere it operates includes the company’s endorsement of the Equality Act in the U.S., to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Inclusivity also helped Cargill earn a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 15 consecutive years.

“We’re very proud of that accomplishment. The Human Rights Campaign continues to push all companies to keep making progress, because there’s still so much work to be done. We’re glad to be able to go along that journey with them,” Williams said.