CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. has unveiled a new corporate plan designed to accelerate and promote greater change in the workplace and communities the retailer serves. Called the “Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion” plan, it features both immediate and longer-term steps.

“As America's grocer, Kroger is driven to bring Americans together as an employer, grocery provider and community partner, representing Our Purpose to Feed the Human Spirit,” said Rodney McMullen, chairman and chief executive officer. “Over the last several months, we've listened closely to our half a million associates and countless communities across the nation. It's never been clearer that our collective energy is necessary to achieve true and lasting equality.

“We have taken a very thoughtful and purposeful approach to develop what we believe are the right actions to substantially and positively impact our culture and our country, creating real change now and into the future. We are approaching this effort with humility, knowing we can't do it alone and don't and won't have all the answers. Our new Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan reflects our desire to redefine, deepen and advance our commitment, mobilizing our people, passion, scale and resources.”

Kroger said its new plan features five focus areas: Create more inclusive culture, develop diverse talent, advance diverse partnerships, advance equitable communities, and deeply listen and report progress.

Within the five focus areas, the retailer has identified 10 immediate actions it is taking as part of the implementation of the plan. These actions include:

  • Creation of a DE&I Advisory Council to advance the company’s long-term DE&I commitments, reporting to senior leadership.
  • Providing unconscious bias training to every leader in 2020 and DE&I training for every associate by May 2021.
  • Improving diverse talent recruiting by partnering with historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic association colleges and universities, and community colleges.
  • Establishment of a two-way mentorship and advocacy program between high-potential diverse talent and senior leaders.
  • Increasing spend with diverse suppliers from $3.4 billion to $10 billion by 2030.
  • Ensuring the retailer’s media partners align with Our Values and that the retailer reach diverse customers through marketing spend, partners and strategy.
  • Deploying funds to support impactful approaches to advance racial equity with community partners.
  • Encouraging associates to vote and provide voter registration and ballot applications in stores.
  • Engaging external stakeholders to seek perspective and co-create more just and equitable communities.
  • Providing associates with platforms to continue sharing their stories and feedback with the retailer’s leaders.

“Kroger welcomes associates from every race, culture and ability, and we remain deeply focused on creating a more equitable workplace where every associate is empowered and supported and feels valued and a sense of belonging,” said Tim Massa, senior vice president and chief people officer at Kroger. “And while diversity and inclusion have been longstanding Kroger values, this year has certainly served as an awakening. As an organization driven by purpose, we know we not only must continue to listen to our associates, but we must act. When we see our associates, customers and neighbors affected by systemic racism, discrimination and injustice, we are called to speak out and act in accordance with Our Values: Honesty & Integrity, Diversity & Inclusion, and Safety & Respect.”

Kroger’s announcement comes less than two weeks after Purchase, NY-based PepsiCo, Inc. said it is launching a $172 million set of initiatives over five years in a three-pronged approach to lift up Hispanic Americans. The three prongs are focusing on increasing Hispanic middle management representation at PepsiCo, building a network of Hispanic-owned companies and providing access to higher education for Hispanics across America. 

To learn more about Kroger's Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan click here.