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PARTNER INTERVIEW: UNILEVER

Hi there, nice to meet you! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role in Unilever?

Anne : I’m Anne, a big foodie, love craft beers and ice cream. In my daily work I’m marketing lead ice cream for the Netherlands and together with Frank I’m co-chair of our ProUd network.

Frank: I’m Frank, also a big foodie. My day job is to build The Vegetarian Butcher into a big global brand across the world.

Unilever is a proud partner of Rotterdam Pride. Why is supporting a local pride event important to Unilever?

Anne : Unilever wants to be a beacon of D&I and our vision, we want to do that with pride in the city we are situated in.

Frank: Rotterdam is the city where half of Unilever’s foundation was set, so it is important for us to support local activities on Diversity & Inclusion

Q: Can you tell us a little bit about Unilever’s focus points when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion on the work floor?

Both: ‘We know that inclusion isn’t an automatic outcome of diversity; we need to tackle both. The biases and structural inequalities that contribute to inequality in society can still be barriers in our workplaces. That’s why we’ve adopted a transformational approach that actively addresses issues of discrimination and promotes equity for all.In every workplace, we want to tackle the issues that people face in their day-to-day working lives. Stereotypes, unconscious bias and outdated social norms can be the biggest barriers to inclusion. And just as we’ve worked for several years to unstereotype our advertising, we’ve also tackled unconscious bias in our practices.’

We know that biases are most harmful when they affect key decisions, such as appointments and promotions. We want to be at the cutting edge of using results-driven, scientific approaches to tackling bias. Next to setting clear targets on D&I progress for all leadership and offer various trainings to help become (more) inclusive leaders, our Netherlands leadership team spent time on inclusion to uncover their unconscious biases. They did so by speaking 1 on 1 with colleagues of all backgrounds.

What is the long term ambition for Unilever when it comes to Diversity and Inclusion? We want to help build a fairer, more inclusive society. Our foundation must be an equitable workplace.Our vision for a more equitable world extends far beyond our own factories and offices. We want our entire business to work towards the transformations in society that will tackle social inequality and unfairness, and end the marginalisation of individuals and groups who are under-represented simply because of who they are. But we know that to achieve our ambition, we must make sure our own house is more than ‘in order’ – we have to be leaders in building and maintaining equitable workplaces.

To you personally, what does an ideal work environment look like?

Anne: ‘One where I can learn, have fun and can thrive with diverse teams working together towards achieving goals. Also one where I can bring your whole self to work and don’t have to think twice/ hesitate to tell things about my sexuality.’

Frank: ‘It is the place where I can bring my whole self to work, without having to hold anything back.’

Last but not least, where will we bump into you during Rotterdam Pride?

Anne : ‘The Opening of Pride at the Kunsthal , so excited to catch up and see the Deep in Vogue exhibition.’
Frank: ‘I will be enjoying a long awaited week of holiday, so unfortunately I will miss Pride. But count me in for next year again!’

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