Company earns a top score in the 2021 Disability Equality Index
Award follows earlier recognition as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality
United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI) (the “Company” or “UNFI”) today announced it has earned a top score of 100 in the 2021 Disability Equality Index® (DEI) and is being recognized as a DEI Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion. UNFI is the only North American grocery wholesaler to achieve this score and recognition in 2022.
The DEI was launched in 2015 by Disability:IN and The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and is acknowledged today as the most robust disability inclusion assessment tool in business. Now in its eighth year, the DEI exists to help businesses make a positive impact on the unemployment and underemployment of people with disabilities.
This is the second workplace accolade UNFI has received in 2022. In January, the Company announced that it had been designated as one of the Best Places to Work for LGBTQ+ Equality, earning a score of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Corporate Equality Index, the nation’s foremost benchmarking survey and report measuring corporate policies and practices related to LGBTQ+ workplace equality.
“UNFI celebrates all of our associates living with disabilities and those who are caregivers,” said Guillaume Bagal, vice president of diversity and inclusion at UNFI. “We are proud to be recognized as a DEI Top Scorer and Best Place to Work for the progress we’ve made in disability inclusion. We will continue to strive to create space for disability education and awareness, promote accessibility, physical and psychological safety, advancement opportunities, and help eliminate stigma and misperception.”
UNFI is working to advance inclusion in the workplace by fostering a culture of inclusion and empathy through open dialogue, effective associate training, and by honoring holidays and special events that speak to the identities of the Company’s associates. In the past year, UNFI took a variety of steps to advance this mission including:
- Launched the DREAM belonging and innovation group (BIG); a UNFI associate resource group for the disabled community and caregivers. DREAM (Disability Resources, Equity, Allyship, and Mentoring) advocates for UNFI associates, caregivers, and allies in all aspects of business, aiming to promote an environment where all may flourish without barriers;
- Collaborated with the UNFI supplier diversity team to increase spend with disabled-owned businesses;
- Created Real Talk, a series of virtual discussions focusing on the intersection of diversity, equity and inclusion with career, wellness, and leadership development; and
- Recently developed UCount, an initiative to encourage associates to share more about themselves, including their disability status.
“Disability inclusion is a rapidly expanding aspect of corporate culture, and it’s gratifying to partner with 415 companies on the 2022 Disability Equality Index,” said Jill Houghton, President and CEO of Disability:IN. “These top-scoring companies not only excel in disability inclusion, many are also adopting emerging trends and pioneering measures that can move the disability agenda from accommodation to inclusion and ultimately, genuine belonging."
Globally, individuals with disabilities represent over one billion people. Disability is a natural part of the human experience, and it crosses lines of age, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion.
"There is no single best way to practice disability inclusion,” said Maria Town, President and CEO of AAPD. “However, the companies taking the DEI share the desire to create a workplace that fosters the concept of bringing your whole self to the office. We look forward to working with all of the participants to help identify meaningful ways to build upon their current practices as we continue on the disability inclusion journey together."
By taking the DEI, companies demonstrate stakeholder commitment to disability inclusion and equality, as well as broader social issues. The 2022 DEI measured: Culture & Leadership; Enterprise-Wide Access; Employment Practices (Benefits, Recruitment, Employment, Education, Retention & Advancement, Accommodations); Community Engagement; Supplier Diversity; and Non-U.S. Operations.
About United Natural Foods
UNFI is North America's premier grocery wholesaler delivering the widest variety of fresh, branded, and owned brand products to more than 30,000 locations throughout North America, including natural product superstores, independent retailers, conventional supermarket chains, ecommerce providers, and food service customers. UNFI also provides a broad range of value-added services and segmented marketing expertise, including proprietary technology, data, market insights, and shelf management to help customers and suppliers build their businesses and brands. As the largest full-service grocery partner in North America, UNFI is committed to building a food system that is better for all and is uniquely positioned to deliver great food, more choices, and fresh thinking to customers. To learn more about how UNFI is Fueling the Future of Food, visit www.unfi.com.
About the Disability Equality Index®
The Disability Equality Index (DEI) is a comprehensive benchmarking tool that helps companies build a roadmap of measurable, tangible actions that they can take to achieve disability inclusion and equality. Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero (0) to 100, with those earning 80 and above recognized as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.”
The DEI is a joint initiative of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest disability rights organization, and Disability:IN, the global business disability inclusion network, to collectively advance the inclusion of people with disabilities. The organizations are complementary and bring unique strengths that make the project relevant and credible to corporations and the disability community. The tool was developed by the DEI Advisory Committee, a diverse group of business leaders, policy experts, and disability advocates. Learn more at: www.DisabilityEqualityIndex.org.
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power for people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 60+ million Americans with disabilities. Learn more at: www.aapd.com.
Disability:IN is a global organization driving disability inclusion and equality in business. More than 400 corporations’ partner with Disability:IN to create long-term business and social impact through the world’s most comprehensive disability inclusion benchmarking and reporting tool, the Disability Equality Index (DEI); best-in-class conferences and programs; expert counsel and engagement; and public policy leadership. Join us at disabilityin.org/AreYouIN #AreYouIN.