#RainbowCapitalism is real, with more than a handful of companies (only) surfacing to align their brand with Pride in June, hoping to capitalize on the pink dollar (or peso, depending on your location).
But some companies hope to not just surface during Pride by actually implementing pro-LGBTQIA policies particularly to directly benefit people working for them. And it is here that Mondelez Philippines Inc. – the company that has been providing Filipinos munchies like Tang, Cheez Whiz, Toblerone, Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolates and Oreo – wants to be particularly known.
Of course, yes, the 58-year-old company released some rainbow-inspired ad mats in June. But Aileen Aumentado, people lead of Mondelez Philippines Inc. said to Outrage Magazine that aside from Pride marketing, the company is “working on making our workplace an open and inclusive one for members of the LGBTQIA community. This means understanding what their needs are in the workplace, and at the same time building a culture where everyone, regardless of gender, race or background is welcomed and valued for their abilities and talents.”
The company has approximately 450 employees in its head office and manufacturing facility located in Parañaque City. And for these employees, “we have expanded our Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO) benefits since 2017. This entitles health coverage not only for married couples, but also those for domestic partners of all genders.”
Benefits include annual check-ups, and inpatient, outpatient, emergency, dental, maternity care and expanded disease coverage.
Most recently, the company also started to cover the cost of consultations and treatment for mental health conditions, as well as a wider range of illnesses.
And then there’s the allowed time off work that has been expanded based on the roles played in any household, not based on the employee’s gender. Specifically, “Leaves for primary and secondary caregivers are regardless of gender, and regardless of birth method. This means leaves are also given for instances of surrogacy or adoption. Single parents are also afforded additional 15 days of paid leaves to ensure they can be present at home and attend to their responsibilities,” Aumentado said.
The critique that many companies only surface during Pride month thereby co-opting LGBTQIA Pride for profit is valid, and Aumentado is aware of this.
But “we believe in creating a diverse and open workplace – this is in line with our value of doing what’s right. We believe we are stronger through our diverse, inclusive and connected community; and in treating everyone with integrity and fairness, and creating a culture that fosters a true sense of belonging,” she said.
All the same, “we know there is much to do.”
And so the company has partnered with LGBTQIA organizations – e.g. the Philippine Financial and Inter-Industry Pride – for it to “know how we can strengthen our actions on diversity and inclusion.”
And so now, Mondelez Philippines Inc. is “the first market in Southeast Asia to do this,” aside from also being the first to celebrate Pride Month “in a big way”, and being “the first to establish our own Diversity Council in the region.”
Aumentado said that “hopefully our actions will help inspire other companies to do the same.”
In the end, for Aumentado, “offices function as the second home of employees.” And so “it’s important to ensure that everyone feels respected and valued in the workplace in order to create a stronger workforce and community. Let us all aim to cultivate an inclusive, bias free and equitable workplace in which all colleagues can be themselves and achieve their full potential.”