The list is a guide to Britain’s most gay-friendly workplaces, showcasing the achievements of employers taking part in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI). This index is the UK’s leading annual benchmark of best practice on how employers support lesbian, gay and bisexual employees.
The Co-operative Group has been involved with Stonewall since 2001, and as well as taking part in the index, is a Stonewall Diversity Champion. This year the organisation was ranked 26th
Taking part “allows us to measure against other organisations how we are doing on providing a supportive and inclusive working environment for LGBT colleagues,” said a statement from the Group. “Despite the challenges faced by the business during 2014, our Respect network continued to do an excellent job in support and promotion of our LGBT colleagues and externally with our local communities.”
Respect is the Co-operative Group’s inclusive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network which is made up of a dedicated LGBT Steering Group from across the organisation’s family of businesses. The network provides voluntary support to raise awareness of LGBT community initiatives, local pride events and charities such as the George House Trust and Albert Kennedy Trust.
In previous years, the Group has features in the top five employers; this year Stonewall altered ranking requirements and pushed the boundaries with employers in terms of activity providing greater levels of equality in the workplace.
“This year we made it harder than ever,” said Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s chief executive. “The new criteria are stringent yet succinct; pushing top performers to new heights while also providing a strategic framework for employers who are beginning to consider the business benefits of creating an inclusive workplace.
“By participating, you’re actively demonstrating your commitment to sexual orientation equality.”