Kroger to nearly triple its spend with diverse suppliers as part of new initiative

Marianne Wilson
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Kroger announces new diversity, equity and inclusion plan, focusing on 10 immediate actions to advance and promote greater change in the workplace and in the communities the company serves.

The Kroger Co. is launching a wide-ranging diversity and inclusion plan to promote change in the workplace and the communities the grocer serves.

The supermarket giant’s new “Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Plan” includes both immediate and longer-term steps. It has five focus areas: create more inclusive culture; develop diverse talent; advance diverse partnerships; advance equitable communities; and deeply listen and report progress.

“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,” said Rodney McMullin, chairman and CEO, Kroger. 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."

In line with its focus of advancing diverse partnerships, Kroger plans to increase its spend with diverse suppliers from $3.4 billion (in 2019) to $10 billion by 2030.

"Kroger is committed to growing partnerships with diverse businesses, suppliers, owners and founders," said Angel Colón, Kroger's senior director of corporate and supplier diversity. "We currently work with more than 1,000 minority suppliers, ranging from food and beverages to health and beauty and product distributors to service providers. In 2019, we invested $3.4 billion in minority suppliers, reflecting an increase of 12% compared to the previous year. We're eager to continue building our portfolio of diverse suppliers to reach a $10 billion spend by 2030.”

The other immediate actions Kroger is taking within the remaining focus areas of the plan, include:

  • Establishing a DE&I Advisory Council, featuring employees from across the company’s banners and headed by Monica Garnes, retail division president;
  • 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;
  • Establishing a two-way mentorship and advocacy program between high-potential diverse talent and senior leaders.
  • 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 providing voter registration and ballot applications in stores;
  • Engaging external stakeholders to seek perspective and co-create more just and equitable communities; and
  • Providing employees 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, Kroger's senior VP and chief people officer. "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.”

For more information on Kroger's new Framework for Action: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion plan click here.