Author: M. G.
In the world of my dreams, multinationals listen to their customers' opinion and understand when they're wrong. In this ideal world big brands know the responsibilities they have towards society and the entire world, so that when it's needed they change the messages they send to people. This is a very naïve way of thinking and it does not work at all when it comes to the real world.
The real world is pretty different. Yesterday we were talking about how Coca-Cola is ignoring for months the request by the international LGBT community to speak up against the Russian anti-gay laws. Today we talk about Barilla's new directions in order to "establish a more active, global leadership position on diversity, inclusion and social responsibility".
I know I can't afford to be naïve, even if I would love to, so I wonder about what is happening in Parma now and if it's all real. A global leadership position on diversity is not just something big, it's huge!
Barilla established a new ‘Diversity & Inclusion Board' and it includes David Mixner, a prominent global leader and activist in the LGBT community, who also had a role in the defeating of Proposition 64 - a ballot initiative proposed in 1985 by Lyndon LaRouche that would require quarantining people with AIDS. The board also includes Alex Zanardi, a former racing driver who lost his legs during a car accident and afterwards became a Paralympic gold medallist. Furthermore, Barilla is going to participate in the Corporate Equality Index, a US based Human Rights Campaign that rates large companies' policies and practices towards LGBT employees. Finally, Barilla announced that next year they'll launch an online competition about diversity inclusion and equality.
This is so impressive, especially if you think of what Guido Barilla was saying just one month ago. These are big names, big organizations, big money and apparently a lot of motivation. Time is going to tell us how Barilla is going to spread within the Italian societies' inclusion and equality values, but I can already say that a competition about "the multifaceted nature of pasta" is really not enough. Still, I already started hoping and maybe a bit of my fantasy world is becoming real today.
I am convinced I am not the only one expecting big things from these kinds of statements and it would be such a disappointment if these big announcements were just words from a scared multinational. However, this is a very good start, congratulations to Barilla!