Diageo signs UN Women's Empowerment Principles

19 March, 2013

Diageo has signed the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles at a ceremony in Singapore.

Chief executive Paul Walsh (pictured) signed the Principles on behalf of Diageo as part of the company’s Plan W, a US$10 million strategy to “empower two million women in 17 countries in Asia Pacific by 2017”.

Walsh said: “The signing of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles is a significant milestone for Plan W. I am very keen for Diageo to improve opportunities and provide choices for the thousands of women we employ around the world, as well as act as a catalyst for change in our industry and the communities in which we operate. The Principles will help us continue to drive improvements in this crucial area.”

The UNWEP is a partnership between UN Women and UN Global Compact. It provides a set of considerations to help the private sector to promote gender equality. It covers three main areas: advocacy and leadership, workplace practices and transparency and disclosure.

Gilbert Ghostine, Asia Pacific president, Diageo said: “I believe that embedding diversity into the workplace builds stronger teams to run a stronger business. I am confident that our commitment to empower women at Diageo, as well as the work we are doing across the region through Plan W, will help us to achieve just this.”

In addition to Plan W, Diageo has set a target for 30% of its leadership to be women by 2015 (26% in 2012). Currently 4/11 of its non-executive board members are women, the highest in the FTSE 100, according to Diageo. Additional targets include 50% of graduates to be women as well as shortlists for leadership positions to include internal female candidates.

The UNWEP will provide Diageo with an external framework to help the company improve its businesses around the world. The framework inludes advice on diversity, employee engagement, talent retention and recruitment as well as overall business performance.

Diageo first announced its commitment to female employees in December 2012.

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