Back in September, the chairman of Barilla Pasta, Guido Barilla, criticized same-sex adoption, asserting that the Italian company would never feature gay couples in their ads, and if gay people don’t like it, they can eat someone else’s pasta. Barilla followed that up with a non-apology, admitting at least that he has “a lot to learn about the lively debate concerning the evolution of the family.” It seems the company is now following through on its learning, announcing this week that it is taking several big steps to be more inclusive.
Among the changes is the creation of a Diversity & Inclusion Board that will include external experts and advocates who help Barilla improve the company’s culture with regard to “sexual orientation, gender balance, disability rights, and multicultural and intergenerational issues.” Among those who have joined that board is veteran LGBT activist David Mixner, who said he was impressed by the chairman’s willingness “to listen and learn from LGBT community leaders.”
Barilla has also appointed its first Chief Diversity Officer and announced that it will participate in the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which assesses companies’ protections and benefits for LGBT employees. In addition, the company will launch a global video contest in 2014, encouraging individuals to portray diversity, inclusion, and equality through the “multifaceted nature of pasta.”