Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. While the majority of Americans support the Equality Act, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender, many companies have also stepped up to openly express support for the community.
The food industry, for the most part, has been an ally. In the 2016 Corporate Equality Index, 24 food brands were awarded a perfect score when metrics were based on whether these companies offered inclusive benefits and protections that support workplace equality for LGBT employees.
Here are four iconic companies that give back to the LGBTQ+ community year-round and celebrate Pride in unique and inspiring ways.
1. General Mills
General Mills has long been a leader in LGBTQ+ workplace equality, once again earning a perfect score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index. This designation was achieved, in part, by the efforts of General Mills’ large network of LGBTQ+ employees and allies, as well as Betty Mill’s Family. Betty’s Family works tirelessly to create and promote a workplace where anyone can be their authentic self. As General Mills transitioned to the Work with Heart flexible work model, their network advanced key programming to create space and connection opportunities for the community at General Mills.
This year’s support highlights include:
• Supporting voluntary LGBTQ+ Self-ID and sharing pronouns within the North American company to advance the company’s diverse talent community.
• Celebrating Pride Month, National Coming Out Day, and other vital moments with events that engage over 1,000 employees.
• Building their diverse network by expanding to Europe and connecting internationally with events like Movie Fest and Mumbai Virtual Pride.
Each year General Mills shows its dedication to Pride Month. In 2019, they began flying the LGBTQ+ flag at their headquarters. In partnership with Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, this was a visible sign of solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community. Betty’s Family also hosted a series of events to celebrate Pride Month and National Coming Out Day, including an ally training program, lunch and learn sessions on queer history and culture, and an end-of-month gathering. These events provided an opportunity for employees to connect, learn more about the LGBTQ+ community, and celebrate the diversity of General Mills.
The Hershey Company has long been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community, and this year they too achieved a perfect score on the Corporate Equality Index (CEI). This report rates employers on how they provide crucial protections to LGBTQ+ workers and their families. The Hershey Company has shown a steadfast commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all employees through its policies and practices. This includes ensuring non-discrimination across all business entities, providing equitable benefits for LGBTQ+ workers and their families, supporting an inclusive culture, and engaging in corporate social responsibility.
The Hershey Company Pride efforts have included support for the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), which works to promote equality for LGBTQ+ people. The company has also sponsored the National Equality March, an event that advocates for full federal equality for the LGBTQ+ community. The Hershey Company has provided products and volunteers for various HRCF events and their financial support. The company’s perfect score on the CEI is a testament to its commitment to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.
3. Ben & Jerry’s
Vermont-based ice cream purveyor Ben & Jerry’s, a pioneer of creative, inventive flavors, has a long and proud history of supporting the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for justice. Known for outspoken activism and cleverly-named pints (hello, Cherry Garcia), Ben & Jerry’s was the first company in Vermont to offer full benefits to same-sex couples — and that was in 1989. LGBT Equality is one of the ideas listed on the “Issues We Care About” section of the company’s website, along with racial justice, democracy, and more. The team not only cares about equality here in the States, but it’s also been an ally for the community abroad, from Germany and Ireland to Australia and New Zealand.
Chobani has long championed diversity, inclusion, and equity. “Since day one, diversity and inclusion have been a foundational part of our ethos, our policies, and our guiding voice. And will continue to be as we move on the path forward,” the company cites on its website. Holding leadership of all levels accountable, transforming D&I councils into task forces, funding, and establishing the company’s first-ever, fully paid, internship program dedicated to underrepresented groups, specifically young adults of color with a focus on Black youth, are just a few of the ways Chobani’s culture demonstrates inclusivity.
5. Impossible Foods
Impossible Foods launched its first-ever Employee Resource Group (ERG), Impossible PRIDE, in 2018. “Impossible Foods empowers employees to make an impact, both in thought and in action. Our goal for Impossible PRIDE was to follow that same lead and ensure diversity and acceptance at all levels of the company,” the group’s co-chair Jared Levan said on the company’s website. The Impossible PRIDE ERG “empowers all employees to make an impact, both in thought and in action.”