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Drinks industry embraces diversity & inclusion

Drinks industry embraces diversity & inclusion

The Drinks Association has officially announced the name for its industry diversity and inclusion council: Embrace Difference.

An evolution of prior industry Councils - Women in Drinks and Diversity & Inclusion at Drinks - the Embrace Difference Council looks to support organisations and have a positive impact across industry through the fostering of diverse and inclusive practices.

Led by a SteerCo, the Council's new operating structure features three workstreams – Create Difference (Gender), See Difference (Diverse Workforce) and Leverage Difference (Inclusive Workplace) - which focus on delivering tangible outcomes that members can take back to benefit their organisations.

The Chair of Embrace Difference, Simon Durrant (above), noted: "As we look to continue the great work of the previous Councils, we wanted a name which encapsulates our end goal. We know that an industry welcoming diversity and inclusive of individual difference contributes to creating a vibrant, progressive and successful culture and that this in turn leads to improved business results. 'Embrace Difference' immediately captures the essence of this and conveys it perfectly to the wider industry."

The Drinks Association CEO Georgia Lennon added that the Council's mandate was not simply about gender equity, but also involved embracing employees of different ethnic backgrounds, ages and sexual orientations.

"These are issues that need to be addressed consciously and consistently at all levels and from all members of the drinks industry," she said. "The responsibility for improving equality and diversity falls to us all if we are to bring about significant cultural corporate change."

Making a measurable difference to the drinks industry

During the Drinks Association's International Women's Day event, Durrant told guests that the council's purpose was clear: to establish the drinks industry as a destination of choice by facilitating awareness, challenging perceptions and building practices that attract, develop and retain industry talent.

"I take the responsibility for Chairing the Council very seriously," Durrant said. "I have two young children - a girl and a boy - and I would love them to consider the drinks industry as a safe place where they can be themselves, build rewarding careers, and benefit from the trust and camaraderie that exists, knowing they will be treated fairly and equally."

He said the steering committee's promise was to educate, inspire and support member organisations to foster the development of inclusive and diverse practices within their business wherever they may be on their individual journey. 

"Our vision is to create a measurable difference to the way that the drinks industry embraces diversity and inclusion over the next five years," he said.

"The journey is just beginning. We look forward to sharing more with you in due course and to engaging with each of you on this exciting new chapter. Consider yourselves officially invited to the party to create our future!"