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Food company commits to workplace diversity and inclusivity

Mondelez Philippines supports its LGBTQ+ employees in many ways, and becomes a member of Philippine Financial and
Inter-Industry Pride.

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Mondelez Philippines supports a diverse and inclusive workplace. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF MONDELEZ

Mondelez Philippines continues to commit to making its workplace diverse and inclusive, as well as safe for LGBTQ+ employees.

The food company — whose portfolio includes well-known products such as Tang powdered beverages; Eden cheese, mayonnaise and sandwich spread; Cheez Whiz spread; Oreo cookies; Tiger energy biscuits; BelVita breakfast biscuits; and Toblerone and Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates — is among the very few companies that address the concerns of employees from marginalized sectors.

Mondelez’s support for the LGBTQ+ community is communicated through their campaigns like this one for Oreo.

“Even in this day and age, we still need to overcome several forms of inequality and unconscious bias around the world. We must change this. Achieving equality in all forms is everyone’s responsibility and requires collective action from all of us,” Ashish Pisharodi, country director of Mondelez Philippines, said.“Our dream is to build a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world, socially and economically. We choose to believe we are stronger through our diverse, inclusive and connected community; to act by doing what’s right and treating everyone with integrity and fairness, and to create a culture that fosters a true sense of belonging.”

The company, which employs about 450 people in the Philippines, with a manufacturing facility in Parañaque City, has been implementing practices to cultivate a culture of growth in their workplace as part of its key strategies.

Mondelez has a portfolio of well-loved food products.

According to Aileen Aumentado, People Lead of Mondelez Philippines, building a more diverse, inclusive and equitable world, socially and economically; creating safe spaces in the workplace; and respecting personal, cultural and professional practices are part of the building blocks of the company.

“We have three commitments, the three C’s…We have our commitments to our colleagues by making sure that the diversity of our colleagues are represented at all levels, representative of our communities, the customers and the consumers that we serve,” she explained.

“The second C is culture. So, part of embedding diversity and inclusion in Mondelez is how do we come up with inclusive, bias-free and equitable workplace, in which all colleagues can be themselves and achieve their full potential by being able to bring their whole self to work.

“And the last C is about community. So, part of our success as a business is not just the success of Mondelez, but also the success of all the communities that we have an impact on. So for us, it’s all about driving economic inclusion to the underrepresented communities and ensuring that we report our progress along the way.”

These ideals are being concretized by actions and the crafting of policies such as, Aumentado revealed, ensuring underrepresented candidate interview slates for all open roles; expanding investment in early careers program; recognizing, celebrating and advocating for inclusive cultures and communities; enabling all business units to have partnerships supporting locally-relevant underrepresented communities; and promoting diverse and inclusive culture through reporting, storytelling and volunteering.

Their diversity and inclusion policies and programs include keeping a balanced candidate slate for mid and early careers, and removing unconscious bias, which “a lot of this is influenced by how our leaders are able to create that safe space for people in the teams,” Aumentado said.

Also, domestic partners of all genders are entitled to health benefits. “Traditionally, the benefits for health insurance have been limited only to dependents or legally married couples but, in our case, we do recognize that we exercise our choices, which include on domestic partners of all genders,” Aumentado said.

Through a virtual program, Mondelez Philippines became a member of the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride. / photographs courtesy of mondelez

Mondelez Philippines also grants primary caregiver and single-parent leaves regardless of birth story; practice remote and flexible working arrangements even before the coronavirus pandemic thus supporting work-life balance; HMO coverage for more illnesses including mental ones; and equal pay for all genders.

Mondelez’s stand for diversity and LGBTQ+ equality is also communicated to the wider world in their brand campaigns and ads such as the ones for Oreo.

New partnership
While these practices and policies are in place, Aumentado said that they strive to be better. Thus, the company formally became a member of the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride (PFIP) on 15 June in time for LGBTQ+ Pride Month.

PFIP is an organization that is a collaborative, voluntary and non-profit community of practice composed of representatives from LGBT+ Employee Resource Groups, Human Resource, and Diversity teams of the corporate industry. PFIP aims to foster an industry that is safe and inclusive for members of the LGBT+ community.

Mondelez’s induction was shown in a virtual program attended by journalists. Hosted by Miss Trans Global 2020 Mela Franco Habijan, it featured testimonials by LGBTQ+ employees Karl Sandoval, People Lead of Supply Chain, and Cait Punzalan, communications manager; an educational bingo game; and performances by drag queens MC Blck and Brigiding.

Toblerone, a beloved brand of Mondelez.

“We’re happy to welcome Mondelez Philippines as a member of the PFIP. We laud their commitment to providing a safe and inclusive workplace for all talents, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics,” said Chris Eugenio, Operations Strategist and Empowerment Champion and member of the Board of Trustee of PFIP. “Through our partnership with Mondelez Philippines, we hope to promote the three basic LGBT+ rights in the workplace: The right to a chosen name and preferred pronouns to affirm one’s gender identity, the right to dress according to one’s gender expression, and the right to access inclusive facilities and amenities including restrooms. For companies who are looking to evolve their workplace culture, we recommend starting with these inclusive practices.”

“The partnership with PFIP is exciting for us because it can help guide us to become even more inclusive and create relevant, impactful change to our workplace,” Ashish enthused.

This development is a huge step in a long journey, and there is still much to be done to address the concerns of members of the LGBT+ community in the workplace.

“While we have come a long way, much more can be and needs to be done to make our workplace more inclusive and free from bias. While diversity is a start, its benefits are contingent on our ability to create a truly inclusive workplace,” Ashish said.

To learn more about Mondelez Philippines’ diversity and inclusion commitments, visit www.mondelezinternational.com/About-Us/Diversity-and-Inclusion.

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