Cincinnati-based Kroger Co. has announced its board of directors has been named a top 20 finalist for the 2022 NACD Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Awards.
The awards recognize boards that have improved their governance and created long-term value for stakeholders by implementing DEI practices.
“Kroger has worked to achieve great strides in creating an equitable boardroom,” said Peter Gleason, NACD president and CEO. “NACD is proud to honor the Kroger board of directors for advancing DE&I in their boardroom and throughout their organization.”
Kroger’s board holds management accountable for executing the company’s DE&I goals and encourages continued investments to achieve measurable change, including the development of a workforce that better reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of the communities served by Kroger.
“As America’s grocer, Kroger is driven to bring Americans together as an employer, grocery provider and community partner, representing ‘Our Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit,'” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO.
“We are proud to receive this recognition; however, our work continues. We will continue to listen, learn and act to transform our culture and our communities. I am especially proud of our employees who embody ‘Our Values’ and so honestly shared their insights that were instrumental in shaping Kroger’s Framework for Action.”
In 2020, Kroger established the Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan to accelerate and promote greater change.
The plan features five areas of focus:
- Create more inclusive culture: The grocer established a DE&I Advisory council that reports to senior leadership and aligns with the organization’s transformation and innovation focus. Kroger has also provided unconscious bias training to all company leaders, and nearly half a million associates have completed training courses in DE&I.
- Develop diverse talent: The grocer established a two-way mentorship and advocacy program between various associates who represent diverse talent and senior leaders. This two-way mentorship program supports the professional development of these associates and provides leaders with more opportunities to listen, learn and act, further accelerating organizational change.
- Diverse partnerships: The grocer is committed to building an inclusive, equitable and sustainable supply chain through its award-winning Supplier Diversity & Inclusion Program. In 2021, Kroger spent $4 billion with diverse suppliers and has promised to increase that spend to $10 billion annually by 2030.
- Advance equitable communities: In 2021, Kroger allocated $5 million to The Kroger Co. Foundation to establish a new Racial Equity Fund with the mission to lift up communities of color by building sustainable partnerships that create more equitable, inclusive and stronger communities. In 2022, Kroger contributed an additional $5 million to the fund and has directed a total of $5.1 million in grants to nonprofits advancing meaningful change.
- Listen and report progress: Since the development of the Framework for Action plan, company leaders have engaged in one-to-one conversations with local and national community influencers, as well as organizations, policymakers, trade associations and chambers of commerce, seeking insights and guidance to transform Kroger’s culture and the communities it serves.
To learn more about the gala and other award finalists, visit the NACD DE&I Awards site. Winners will be announced Dec. 7 at the NACD DE&I Awards Gala at Gotham Hall in New York City.