Coca-Cola was presented with the Diversity Brand Award for the most inclusive company in Italy at the Diversity Brand Summit. Founded by Diversity, a nonprofit association committed to the promotion of diversity policies, and the Focus Management consultancy, the Italian event was the first in Europe to connect diversity and business. Supported by the European Commission, the Municipality of Milan and the Canadian Embassy in Italy, the awards attracted a field of leading companies.

The award committee, which included academics from the Bocconi University of Milan, applauded Coca-Cola for demonstrating “a constant commitment in the field of diversity and inclusion” and for being “a company that has a clear social responsibility.”

Coca-Cola was judged against strict criteria, including actions to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, in advertising, community projects and national events. The judges take into account all seven internationally recognized categories of diversity: religion, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability and socio-economic status. In order to win, Coca-Cola had to demonstrate a truly 360-degree approach across all of these areas.

Organizers developed a Diversity Brand Index to calculate the effect of diversity and inclusion on consumers’ buying choices. This shows that people’s willingness to recommend a brand increases when it is perceived as diverse and inclusive. The index calculates that this can boost a company’s revenues by 16.5 percent.

Coke's business in Italy has excelled in demonstrating acommitment to diversity and inclusion through high-profile actions that resonate with consumers across the country. These include, among others:

  • Sponsorship of the Special Olympics. Helping raise awareness around the social inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities through a range of different initiatives.
  • Support for the PIER programme (Protection, Integration and Education for Refugees). Partnering with Caritas to offer the opportunity for families and individuals to open up their homes and share their lives with migrants, refugees and people seeking asylum for six to nine months.
  • Supporting the farming community in Sicily. Providing training, education and other support to help people from all backgrounds and communities thrive in this essential local economy.

Many of these programmes to promote diversity and inclusion are supported by the company's global charitable arm, The Coca-Cola Foundation. Judges also cited Coke's inclusive marketing. 

“It is a result that makes us very proud. Diversity and inclusion goes to the very heart of our business," said Cristina Broch, Public Affairs and Communication Director, Coca-Cola Italy. "We are aware that the success of our business is closely linked to the diversity of our employees, partners and the communities in which we operate. However, even though we have been able to drive a great awareness through our programmes in Italy, we know that there is still a lot to be done. For this reason, we consider this recognition as an incentive to do even more and to it even better than we have so far.”