In order to create the necessary systemic change, we are focusing on the areas where we have the greatest influence: our workplace, our value chain, our brands and in society.
Within our workplace, we are stretching our gender-balance target to focus on our senior management levels, where we are implementing specific programmes to help accelerate women’s careers. In addition, we are investing in reskilling and upskilling all women in our organisation to create a more resilient future workforce.
Safety is a key enabler of women’s empowerment. Violence against women and girls has increased by 20% since Covid-19 hit, leading to UN Women calling it a ‘shadow pandemic’. We recognise the hidden nature of domestic violence and, in a business-first, on International Women’s Day this year we publicly shared our policy on global domestic violence and abuse to create more awareness and help inspire other employers to create their own.
Our responsibility stretches beyond our own operations and we are committed to ensuring the safety of the millions of women in our value chain. As an example, with IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative – and Tesco, we are investing €2 million in a new Women’s Safety Accelerator Fund to create a safe and empowering workplace. Based on UN Women’s Global Women’s Safety Framework in Rural Spaces, this fund will reach at least 200,000 women tea workers in Assam, India by 2023.
In our supply chain, this year we pledged to increase our annual expenditure with diverse suppliers to at least €2 billion by 2025 as part of a set of wide-ranging commitments to help build a more equitable and inclusive society. We will support women and other under-represented groups to get access to critical resources, such as finance, networking opportunities and skills. And we will drive up wages for everyone, working with our direct suppliers by mandating payment of a living wage.