Creating equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of background or identity, with more professional opportunities across the board.
Supporting communities as a whole by addressing systemic inequities and creating a sense of belonging which helps people to focus on developing other spheres of their lives.
Promoting the inherent value in social equity and gender equality by working on DEI initiatives internally and pushing closer toward these global collective goals.
diversity, equity, & inclusion
The intentional move to expand into a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) practice is an indication of the education our organization continues to go through. We're explicitly naming 'equity' to hold ourselves accountable to what we're working toward, rather than what we’ve already done.
We invite participation from everyone in our communities to cultivate a sense of belonging for all – from our suppliers, to our associates at all levels of our organization, to our customers and the communities we serve.
The ‘ABCD’s of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion
Accountability, Belonging, Challenging the Status Quo, and Doing the Right Thing are our pillars of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion. Bringing these pillars to life requires courage and psychological safety, which are common themes in inclusive leadership.
Belonging is a two-way street: a desire to belong is not enough; others also need to welcome you. This is a choice we all make, so we’ve created educational resources and hosted workshops to help our associates step up with empathy. When we feel a sense of belonging and have pride in ourselves and our work, we can meaningfully grow ourselves and our business.
UNFI’s Belonging & Innovation Groups (BIGs) are associate-led resource groups that work with executive sponsors to provide an open and safe environment to help cultivate this culture of sharing, learning, and ultimately, innovation. Our groups include BUILT (Black UNFI Leaders of Today), DREAM (Disability Resources, Equity, Allyship and Mentoring), VIP (Veterans Initiative Program), WIN (Women’s Integrated Network), Adelante (Hispanic/Latinx), and PRIDE (LGBTQ+).
We can’t create a genuinely inclusive work environment without first having a foundation of diversity – from diversity of identity to diversity of thought.
To build a diverse, high-performing, and agile workforce, we’re taking many proactive and innovative steps, including bringing an equity lens to policy development and recruitment – for example, the implementation of our Diverse Slate Policy – implementing new incentives to increase retention of diverse talent, like daily pay, enhanced health benefits, and select time programs that account for the specific needs of each and every associate, and creating spaces for our associates to learn from one another, support each other, and affirm colleagues’ identities, all of which more deeply integrates our DEI strategy into our culture.
We are also proud to publish high-level data to be transparent about where we’ve made progress and where we’re still working to include historically underrepresented voices in our company’s growth. This is especially true for our management roles and our Board of Directors because we know leadership diversity creates a waterfall effect throughout the company.
UNFI’s Diversity Council reflects a broad spectrum of diversity, supporting associate and enterprise-wide efforts toward (including, but not limited to) race, ethnicity, sex, gender identity, religion, disability status, sexual orientation, veteran status, and professional backgrounds. Working alongside UNFI executives, the Council drives Diversity & Inclusion goals and objectives by lending its perspective, experience, and resources to various initiatives across UNFI and in our communities.
In addition to sourcing from suppliers with certified social and environmental practices, we will use our buying power to support a more diverse set of suppliers.
Because of the many systemic inequities in the modern food system, we can’t expect our pool of suppliers to suddenly diversify overnight. We clarified our supplier diversity action plan to reflect our evolving commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and better integrate our mission into sourcing activities, spending levels, customer services, sales tactics, and more. Doing so can provide opportunities for historically underrepresented business owners and their communities and contribute to economic inclusion along our supply chain.
This is how we will ACT on our mission to build a more inclusive supply chain:
Apply…supplier diversity into our everyday business practice
Commit…to building connections with our customers and ease navigation through the UNFI network
Transform…the procurement process through greater transparency and accountability
Supplier Diversity Mission
To value and promote diverse-owned businesses and, by utilizing their perspectives and capabilities, build a more inclusive, vibrant, and competitive supply chain. We strive to strengthen communities, increase market share, and create wealth for historically underrepresented business owners.
We continue to work with our associates to create pathways toward equity, including new policies, training resources, and associate resource groups.
UNFI’s associate resource groups, which we call our Belonging and Innovation Groups (BIGs), have seen a promising swell in associate – and leadership – involvement and initiative. These are one of many ways that our associates are getting engaged and telling us about where we should invest further.
An Equity Lens on Policies
In 2022, we added or updated policies specifically related to our efforts to cultivate a culture of belonging, including: Access To Shared Facilities (U.S. & Canada), Workplace Gender Transition Policy (U.S. & Canada), Diverse Slate Policy (U.S. only). We also continue to collaborate with other departments to bring more of an equity lens to UNFI’s policy development.
Real Talk Speaker Series
We’ve solidified our partnership with Too Good to Go and, since the pilot in our Atlantic region, the app is now available in select cities coast to coast via UNFI’s Professional Services team, helping independent grocers take actionable steps to recoup lost revenue, increase profit margins, combat climate change, and address food insecurity.