Adult Education
Adult Education: In Morocco our ongoing support for the Zakoura Education Foundation helps women to complete the Foundation’s adult literacy programme.

As a global organisation, diversity is high up on our agenda. We want a culture that provides equal opportunities for everyone and that ensures people are always treated with dignity and respect. We’re aiming to diversify our talent pool and promote gender balance as a priority. We’ve still got work to do to improve gender balance, especially at management levels, so we’ve signed up to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles to strengthen our commitment. We see improving all aspects of diversity, across Nestlé, as an asset, helping us harness the local insight and imagination of our people, and building our competitive advantage and responsiveness to customers’ and society’s needs.

At a glance

  • We’re improving gender balance by focusing on developing talent, growing local knowledge and ensuring men and women at management levels progress at the same rate;
  • We’ve signed up to the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles, and we’ve broadened our effort to include promoting women’s empowerment in our supply chain; and
  • We were named Company of the Year at the European Diversity Awards 2013.

What we’re doing

  • We recognise that gender equality, women’s rights, education for women and girls worldwide, and women’s empowerment are critical to Creating Shared Value for our business and for society. We believe that different ways of thinking complement each other and lead to better decisions. In other words, gender balance simply makes business sense. It is therefore essential that we help to increase women’s participation in, and contribution to, the value chain in a sustainable way.

    In an attempt to overcome some of the challenges women face, such as limited financial resources, knowledge gaps and access to credit and lending, we have developed several initiatives that promote training and professional development for women, in line with the UN’s Millennium Development Goals.

    In 2013, we signed up to the Women’s Empowerment Principles, a set of seven steps that businesses can take to advance gender equality and empower women to participate fully in economic life in three key areas – workplace, marketplace and community – as outlined below.

    However, we remain opposed to setting artificial quotas, preferring to put strategic steps in place to encourage a natural gender balance, promoting the best person for the role.

  • Gender Balance Initiative

    We see gender balance and diversity as a cultural and business asset, rather than a necessity driven by talent gaps, demographic change or regulation, and we’ve made a public commitment to enhance gender balance across our company. Diverse teams are more creative, inclusive and competitive, and better reflect the markets we serve. They’re also critical to us because we are a growing business, and we need the best talent.

    We have been investing in our Gender Balance Initiative since 2008, with a focus on awareness and education, flexible working, mentoring and mobility solutions.

    As well as ensuring gender equality across the company in general, we’ve made important progress towards greater representation of women on our management teams. By 2018, we will create the enabling conditions in our work environment to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders (market management members and key roles at the Headquarters) so that we can achieve our goal to be a gender-balanced company. In 2013, 31% of our managers were women, 19% of whom were in senior leadership roles.

    However, more remains to be done, and removing all gender-related barriers to women reaching management positions will continue to be a long-term priority.

    We are taking steps to ensure that there is a minimum of one woman or man in every succession plan for key roles, ensuring development plans are in place for high potential women and tracking our progress in this area.

    Parental support initiatives

    We offer maternity and paternity leave according to the relevant legislation in the countries where we operate.

    In Japan and Italy, we now offer two weeks’ paid paternity leave for new fathers, while Nestlé Hungary has been named in the Top 10 diverse and family-friendly organisations for its efforts to improve employee engagement. Maternity leave in Hungary is three years. To ensure communication and transparency with employees on maternity leave, ongoing dialogue with mothers helps to understand their expectations on returning to work. Mothers and their children are also invited into Nestlé Hungary headquarters throughout the year for business updates and to maintain contact with their line manager.

    We also offer additional support to parents, including crèches at approximately 10 head office locations and breastfeeding rooms at 150 sites around the world.

    Return-to-work and retention rates after childbirth are recognised indicators of work–life satisfaction, and gender balance. In 2013, the return-to-work rate of employees who took parental leave was 88% for women (2012: 89%; 2011: 70%) and 89% for men (2012: 92%; 2011: 79%).

    Promoting equality in Spain

    In July, Nestlé Spain set up an Equality Commission made up of an equality representative from every work centre in the company. The commission is developing a single Equality Plan which will cover all workplaces and will incorporate both corporate-level and local actions. It will meet twice a year to identify and facilitate action that promotes equal opportunities for everyone.

  • By offering help such as business training, technical assistance and credit schemes to women in emerging and developing countries, we can help more women run their own businesses. Our current programmes, including Nestlé Até Você in Brazil, Club Bario in the Caribbean and the Nescafé Street Barista campaign in Thailand, have reached more than 600 000 women.

  • We also work with our suppliers to improve gender balance along our value chain. We support female farmers through technical support, financing and capacity building assistance, helping them gain greater access to markets and make an increased contribution to agricultural productivity. We’ve already impacted an estimated 130 000 women through initiatives such as the Nestlé Cocoa Plan in Côte d’Ivoire, the Nescafé Plan in Kenya and Vietnam, the Grains Improvement Quality Project in Ghana and Nigeria, and the Women Dairy Development Programme in India and Morocco.

Next steps

Gender balance continues to be a high priority for us. We will also broaden our focus to include all major diversity groups beyond gender, ie physical ability, social background and generations. Activities for 2014 will include:

  • Education and awareness, training trainers on how to run gender balance and unconscious bias awareness programmes in our countries of operation, focusing on line managers; and
  • Continuing with the corporate mentoring scheme, matching identified high performing talent with senior leaders in the organisation, and rolling out a global mentoring culture within the Group, so that everyone who would benefit from a mentor can access one at different times in their career. 412 matches were made in 2012, and 470 were planned in 2013.

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    Find out more in our Creating Shared Value full report