At pladis, we want to build happy and inclusive workplaces that are as diverse as the global communities we support, live and work in. This is front and centre of our business strategy, having brought together star brands with incredible heritage to create pladis. We can only win if we win as one pladis, and inclusion, diversity and equity (IDE) are critical to making this happen.

In 2022, our focus has been to ensure we develop inclusive leadership capability, strengthen our Women in Leadership Network and demand broader and gender balanced recruitment shortlists. We have worked to progress these ambitions, all while furthering our understanding of the challenges faced by our female colleagues and taking action to address barriers.

This year, we have started to roll out an inclusive leadership programme for the 80 leaders that together form our global senior leadership team. Through this, we aim to ensure our leaders have a common understanding of inclusion, their expected behaviours in creating an inclusive environment and how the role of inclusion and diversity, is not just a HR initiative, but a pladis one, imperative to our business performance, and requires all our colleagues to take responsibility and accountability for their actions.

The work that our Women in Leadership Network (a global network of senior female leaders) and our other Employee Resource Groups, including the UK and Ireland’s BeingShe network and WIRED (Women in Research, Engineering and Development), are doing demonstrates how we can achieve a step-change across pladis. They have been instrumental in providing psychological safe spaces for our female colleagues to discuss the challenges they face, and opportunities and actions that they can take individually and collectively to create change.

In line with the UN Women’s Empowerment principles, we remain committed to delivering gender balance at all levels of our business. Not only are we addressing this through our employee value proposition and recruitment practices, but also through the development and mentoring opportunities we provide.

Our Inspire sessions showcase stories and provide opportunities for all colleagues to ask questions of extraordinary people who can inspire our thinking. In 2022, our speakers included Indra Nooyi, former PepsiCo CEO and Chairperson – a mentor I worked with for 18 years, and one of the world’s most respected businesswomen; and Dame Kelly Holmes, double Olympic Gold Medallist and mental health advocate who is also a member of our external Inclusion, Diversity and Equity advisory board. By stimulating conversations on a global scale,we’ve challenged people to think differently about inclusion, and encourage us all to adopt more inclusive practices that make pladis an even better place to work.

We, as an organisation, have a clear responsibility to ensure we support, empower and engage with women across the business globally. Of course, without these efforts we will never achieve inclusion, and they are not in isolation, as we also look to progress the Race and All Abilities workstreams of our Inclusion, Diversity and Equity strategy so that we can be inclusive of all people.

We are on a journey – a journey that has no end. There will always be more that we can do to improve as best practice in inclusion, diversity and equity continues to evolve. Nevertheless, I am committed to ensuring that we deliver on every step we take, as we work to create an inclusive work environment regardless of where someone works within our global pladis family.