Report Highlights Efforts to Diversify Company, Conduct Unconscious Bias Training and to Hire People with Disabilities
Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) today released the company’s first global diversity and inclusion (D&I) report, while also announcing recent efforts aimed at addressing healthcare disparity in underserved communities.
The report under the theme "All Together. Different." details the company’s D&I journey over two years, 2018 and 2019, to further embed diversity and inclusion practices across its global operations. This report highlights several programs across the company’s businesses, WBA’s global perspective on D&I and progress on key initiatives.
"A diverse and inclusive organization is a top priority for our business, and we are proud to embrace and support the many cultures, backgrounds and experiences of our customers, patients and employees across the globe," said Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and chief executive officer, WBA. "Diversity and inclusion are core to our purpose of helping people live healthier, happier lives."
WBA New Global D&I Report Highlights Multi-Year Efforts:
WBA’s Leadership Accountability Program
WBA has implemented a leadership accountability program, which holds leaders responsible for undertaking diversity and inclusion efforts focused on increasing representation of People of Color and women within leadership levels. The program includes presenting diverse interview slates for open leadership positions. Targets for fiscal 2021, which started Sept. 1, are a 3 percent increase of women in leadership across WBA, and a 2 percent increase of People of Color in leadership in Retail Pharmacy USA (WBA’s U.S. division, which includes Walgreens).
"We are on a journey to create a ‘One WBA’ mindset that delivers to our employees a strong sense of belonging and full participation in the organization’s success. We view diversity and inclusion as an essential driver of that success; a talented, diverse, and highly engaged workforce is what every purpose-driven organization such as WBA seeks to acquire and retain," said Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, WBA executive vice president and global chief human resources officer.
"WBA is committed to diversity and inclusion and has demonstrated a thoughtful and strategic approach to truly ensure that these values are at the center of everything we do," said Carlos Cubia, WBA vice president and global chief diversity officer. "This commitment comes from the highest levels of our organization."
Recently the WBA board adopted amended corporate governance guidelines to use when searching for new directors. They will actively seek women and individuals from minority groups for potential nominees.
Increasing Diversity across Pharmacy Positions
For the past few years, in an effort to help diversify pharmacy ranks, Walgreens has offered scholarships to diverse candidates at accredited U.S. pharmacy schools. In fiscal 2019, which ended Aug. 31, 2019, the company provided over $1 million to assist over 250 students. The scholarship program has expanded to include job placements at Walgreens pharmacies. Click here to read Semiu Durowoju’s story, one of Walgreens many success stories, on WBA.com.
Unconscious Bias Training across Global Workforce
WBA has implemented a company-wide unconscious bias training program for employees. Trainings have been facilitated at Boots UK, Walgreens and other WBA international operations. A similar program was rolled out nearly two years ago with Walgreens store employees. By the end of fiscal 2019, over 57,000 employees had completed the training. To read a story from two store managers who participated in the training, click here.
Commitment to Hiring People with Disabilities
In July, WBA was recognized for a fourth consecutive year with a top-score of 100 percent on the 2020 Disability Equality Index® (DEI), a joint initiative by Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). The honor recognizes Walgreens training and job readiness programs that prepare potential hires for employment in Walgreens stores and distribution centers. Click here to learn more.
Expanding Diverse Supplier Network
WBA’s supplier diversity efforts are helping a growing number of minority-owned and other diverse businesses serve its stores and operations—and, in the process, grow their businesses and workforce. Walgreens, for example, had bought from more than 2,600 diverse and small businesses, including 900 minority and women-owned businesses in fiscal 2018, which ended August 2018. One of the company’s long-standing suppliers is Rick Ross, candy entrepreneur of Galerie au Chocolat. Learn about his partnership with Walgreens here.
Addressing Healthcare Needs of Diverse Communities:
As a healthcare company, Walgreens has always focused on issues where it can leverage its healthcare expertise and resources to meet the needs of underserved populations. Healthcare disparity, the lack of access to quality and affordable healthcare, has been a priority for many years. Some recent efforts include:
Walgreens partnership with VillageMD, making it the first national pharmacy chain to offer full-service doctor offices co-located at its stores. More than 50 percent of the 500-700 "Village Medical at Walgreens" locations will be in health professional shortage areas and medically underserved areas/populations, as designated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Walgreens’s COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites have expanded into underserved communities nationwide as part of the company’s ongoing work to respond and care for our customers during this unprecedented time.
Notes to Editors:
About Walgreens Boots Alliance
Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) is a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy, touching millions of lives every day through dispensing and distributing medicines, its convenient retail locations, digital platforms and health and beauty products. The company has more than 100 years of trusted health care heritage and innovation in community pharmacy and pharmaceutical wholesaling. Including equity method investments, WBA has a presence in more than 25 countries, employs more than 440,000 people and has more than 18,750 stores.
WBA’s purpose is to help people across the world lead healthier and happier lives. The company is proud of its contributions to healthy communities, a healthy planet, an inclusive workplace and a sustainable marketplace. WBA is a participant of the United Nations Global Compact and adheres to its principles-based approach to responsible business. The company’s businesses have been recognized for their Corporate Social Responsibility. Walgreens was named to FORTUNE* magazine’s 2019 Companies that Change the World list and Boots UK was recognized as Responsible Business of the Year 2019-2020 by Business in the Community. WBA is included in FORTUNE’s 2020 list of the World’s Most Admired Companies. This is the 27th consecutive year that WBA or its predecessor company, Walgreen Co., has been named to the list. More company information is available at www.walgreensbootsalliance.com.
*© 2019, Fortune Media IP Limited. Used under license.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements: All statements in this release and related Walgreens Boots Alliance Diversity & Inclusion Report 2018/2019 that are not historical, including program goals, the expected execution and effect of our Corporate Social Responsibility and D&I strategies and initiatives and the amounts and timing of their expected impact, are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties, known or unknown, including those described in Item 1A (Risk Factors) of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2019, its form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended May 31, 2020 and in other documents that Walgreens Boots Alliance files or furnishes with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date they are made. Walgreens Boots Alliance does not undertake, and expressly disclaims, any duty or obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after the date of this release, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise.
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