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Impossible Foods' bold mission starts with prioritizing workplace equality

By Jared Levan, Co-Chair of the Impossible Pride Employee Resource Group

Corporate Equality Index Blog Hero, text reads "100"

At Impossible Foods, we’re on a mission(opens in a new tab) to replace animals as a food technology by 2035, which many [understandably] call an ‘impossible’ task. While this goal is incredibly ambitious, we not only believe that it’s possible, we believe that it is absolutely essential to saving the planet. How do we build a team that’s up to the challenge? By doing everything we can to create a culture where ALL of our employees thrive. 

As Co-Chair of Impossible Pride: the LGBTQ employee resource group (ERG) at Impossible Foods, I see our workplace diversity as the lifeblood that will keep us accountable and ultimately make us more successful in our mission. But welcoming diversity in the workplace is merely the first step -- employers must also support diversity and inclusive practices in meaningful ways. 

Earlier today, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation announced that Impossible Foods earned a 100 percent ranking on their annual assessment of LGBTQ workplace equality (called the “Corporate Equality Index”), which highlighted a record-breaking 767 businesses this year. It makes me proud, as a queer professional and employee resource group leader who has spent almost four years at Impossible Foods, to see our company scale with integrity and prioritize equality. 

The Corporate Equality Index focuses on four main criteria to promote inclusive policies and showcase support for LGBTQ employees:

  • Non-discrimination policies across business entities

  • Equitable benefits for LGBTQ workers and their families

  • Internal education and accountability metrics to promote LGBTQ inclusion competency

  • Public commitment to LGBTQ equality

Historically, it has been very difficult for scaling organizations to measure support for LGBTQ workplace diversity — not because they didn’t care, but because of a lack of infrastructure to quantify and measure progress. To that end, the Human Rights Campaign created the Corporate Equality Index (CEI) in 2002 as a tool for companies to voluntarily measure how they show up and protect queer diversity both inside and outside of the office. On top of that, the index allows for comparison with other companies, which encourages constant improvement for the sake of their employees. The accolade the HRC gives to companies that recognize the power of diversity and champion protecting it is a designation as one of the “Best Places to work for LGBTQ Equality.”

Last year marked an important milestone for Impossible Foods when we reached 500+ employees. This number is significant because it represents a necessary prerequisite for consideration in the CEI. Even before we were eligible to submit to the HRC, Impossible Pride played a part in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace for all of our employees, a philosophy we’ve sought to instill throughout the company. To commemorate National Day of Understanding in 2018, our Founder and CEO, Pat Brown, signed the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge(opens in a new tab), representing Impossible Foods’ first public affirmation focused on issues of race, ethnicity and inclusion.

It should be noted that even when businesses receive this top score, it does not mean that the work is done; CEI, after all, is merely a recommended framework and benchmark for what employers should be doing for their employees. It is my hope that our inclusive policies and practices will continue to evolve as needed to support the ever-growing community within our organization. That is where our resource groups, and the employees they represent, become more crucial than ever.