For more diversity - METRO takes a stand on IDAHOBIT

17 May 2021
By raising the rainbow flag today, METRO is taking a stand against homophobia and for respectful togetherness, underlining once again: Diversity among employees is a core strength of the company.
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Rafael Gasset, COO METRO AG, and Nikita Baranov of METRO Pride are raising the rainbow flag.

  • METRO underlines once again this year: diversity among employees is one of the company's strengths and makes the industry special
  • METRO makes a clear sign by flying the flag: against homophobia and for mutually respectful interaction
  • The appeal: METRO AG is a co-signatory of the German initiative ”A Constitution for everyone!”
  • Well-connected: METRO Pride employee network provides support in 34 countries for questions and problems related to sexual orientation and identity

    On the occasion of the International Day against Homophobia, Bi-, Inter- and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) on May 17 and the upcoming Pride Month in June, METRO places the topic of diversity and inclusion in the spotlight and offers various worldwide activities. Until the end of June, for example, the wholesaler will be flying rainbow flags at its corporate headquarters in Düsseldorf and in front of its more than 100 wholesale stores across Germany. Activities are also planned locally in countries such as in Spain, France, Poland and India, to sensitise employees to the rights of the LGBTIQ+ community and to make diversity tangible in various dimensions, both internally and externally.

”Diverse teams promote innovation, a vital factor for the economic success and performance of an international wholesaler like METRO. We deliver on this ambition: Presently, people from more than 150 nationalities are working for us in 34 countries. This diversity is what makes us and our entire industry so special,” said Rafael Gasset, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Management Board of METRO AG at the flag-raising ceremony on the morning of IDAHOBIT. “At METRO, you don’t have to leave your identity at the door. We pursue the goal of creating an open as well as inclusive work environment and culture worldwide. In this way, individual differences are respected, valued and nurtured to build a diverse workforce, enabling every employee to live up to their full potential and exploit everyone's strengths.” 

Well-connected – stronger together

In addition to this clear signal to the outside world, the company's executives are playing a crucial role – an open and inclusive management style is not only the prerequisite for good diversity management, but of course also key for an open and inclusive culture. For example, the internal employee network METRO Pride, an important contact point for all LGBTIQ+ colleagues as well as for interested parties and supporters, has already been established in 2014. The underlying idea of METRO Pride: Sexual orientation or identity should not impose a limitation – neither in one's private life nor career. At work, every individual deserves the freedom to be who they are – without fear. METRO Pride organises regular events to raise awareness and advocate the topic within METRO and develops targeted training programmes for managers. The network is currently being rolled out internationally and regional groups are being formed to promote the interests of the LGBTIQ+ community also within other cultural contexts  For this years’ IDAHOBIT, campaigns are therefore implemented in other METRO countries with the aim of educating employees and raising their awareness of the topic. ”We support our employees wherever we can. Because we want to promote a culture in which every employee is provided with the best conditions for being fully committed and enabled to perform their job as good as possible,” Rafael Gasset explains the reasons for the company's multifaceted commitment.

METRO has also recently become a co-signatory of the German initiative ‘A Constitution for everyone!’. Their objective is to amend Article 3 in the German Basic Law and to include a prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sexual and gender identity.

In addition, METRO is a member of the PROUT-AT-WORK foundation, which promotes a discrimination-free and open working environment and is committed to mutual understanding and equal opportunities for people of any sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in the workplace. Last spring, together with PROUT-AT-WORK, METRO published a position paper on the amendment of the German Hemotherapy Directive with a large cross-sectoral participation from the business community and further promoted the issue in the political public. The subject is currently with the Health Committee of the German Bundestag. 

METRO addresses different aspects of diversity – such as gender, nationality, sexual orientation and identity, disability, ethnicity, religion, or age – with various initiatives and activities. These range from trainings and workshops on targeted topics, to employee networks, participation in international networks such as LEAD, and local awareness campaigns. METRO's commitment has also been acknowledged positively externally. In January 2021, the wholesaler was named Top Employer in Germany for the 6th time. In addition, the company carries the PROUT EMPLOYER 2021 seal of the PROUT-AT-WORK foundation.