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2019 Diversity & Inclusion: Cargill

Cargill’s in-house legal department has created a multitiered program to increase diversity and inclusion both within the division and in the ranks of vendors.

“Diversity and inclusion are important to Cargill as an organization,” said senior lawyer Molly Thornton. “We’re committed to creating an environment where diverse experiences and perspectives are welcome and employees feel comfortable and empowered.”

The company’s legal department, which has more than 350 employees, created subcommittees in North America that strive to encourage and measure diversity in four areas: recruitment, retention, awareness and engagement, and suppliers.

The supplier subcommittee even confirms whether law firm partners are giving their minority staff members opportunities to work on Cargill’s business, Thornton said. Partner law firms must provide gender and diversity information about each attorney timekeeper, which is tracked in Cargill’s billing system, she said. Additionally, supplier law firms need to have at least one diverse relationship partner to manage the Cargill account, and promote a diverse pipeline of attorneys.

“We encourage firms to have diversity at the forefront of their own efforts because it’s important to us as a client,” she said.

Cargill has been recognized for gender equity and diversity efforts, including a 100% rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index for 15 years in a row.

“We’re committed to it,” Thornton said. “It’s good for business and it’s the right thing to do. We have to acknowledge we made some good strides, but the truth is we must do more.”

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