The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Chicago Steering Committee today announced that Barilla will receive the HRC Corporate Equality Award at the HRC Chicago Gala on Saturday, November 18, 2017, at the Fairmont in Chicago. The award recognizes Barilla's exceptional growth and commitment to equality for the LGBTQ community.
"Barilla has made huge strides and become a real leader for LGBTQ inclusion," said Deena Fidas, director of the HRC Workplace Equality Program. "Barilla is an example of the transformational progress that companies can make when they put effort and investment into improving inclusion for LGBTQ employees and customers. We are proud to recognize Barilla's leadership with the HRC Corporate Equality Award."
Barilla has earned a perfect score of 100 for three straight years on theHRC Foundation's Corporate Equality Index ( CEI ) — the national benchmarking tool on corporate LGBTQ-inclusive policies and practices. Barilla has become a global corporate advocate for equality, partnering with LGBTQ organizations in Italy and the USA; including marching in the Milan, Italy and Chicago, Illinois Pride parades.
"At Barilla, we are deeply committed to fostering and maintaining diversity and inclusion companywide, including our LGBTQ colleagues. As a family-owned business, we value the voice, perspective, and individuality of each and every one of our employees, partners and customers. We are grateful for this honor from HRC and will continue to work hard to create a culture that ensures that every person, no matter who they are or who they love, is treated with respect and dignity, both throughout Barilla and within the communities where we all live and work," said Claudio Colzani, CEO of Barilla.
Barilla's welcoming environment is the result of the company's ongoing efforts to identify and remove barriers for LGBTQ employees. After the company's chairman made insensitive comments about featuring LGBTQ families in company advertisements in 2013, Barilla did more than issue an apology statementthey worked to address core diversity and inclusion issues to create a more inclusive environment for employees and consumers. The company formed a Diversity & Inclusion Board of internal and external advisors, named their first-ever Chief Diversity Officer, created new affinity groups, and implemented a plan to become one of the leading international companies on LGBTQ inclusion. In addition to these meaningful and impactful internal changes, Barilla debuted 12 episodes of the While the Water Boils video series, hosted by YouTube star and LGBTQ icon Hannah Hart, that won an Inclusive & Creative Disruptors Award. Most recently, CEO Claudio Colzani joined more than 270 executives in signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion pledge, committing to advancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
"On behalf of the HRC Chicago Steering Committee, we are excited to award Barilla the 2017 Corporate Equality Award," said Victor Lim, co-chair of the HRC Chicago Gala. "Barilla's journey toward LGBTQ inclusion should inspire other companies and individuals to examine how they too can become leaders to create positive change."
The award will be presented at the HRC Chicago Gala & Auction on November 18, held at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park in Chicago, IL. The event is HRC's largest fundraiser in the Midwest and directly supports the LGBTQ-rights organization's work. To purchase tickets or for more information, please visit www.hrcchicago.org/gala .