Raising Our Voice for Diversity:
Where Food Comes From
On May 21, 2021, Nia delivered a speech at the Annual Shareholder Meeting for Where Food Comes From Inc.
Read the transcript of that speech here.
I am Kristin Hull, Founder and CEO of Nia Impact Capital. I formally move Proposal 3. This shareholder resolution requests that Where Food Comes From take action to enhance board diversity.
Specifically, this proposal suggests 3 actions to the board:
Include a commitment to diversity and inclusion in governance documents;
Make a commitment to include women and people of color in each candidate pool, particularly for board and senior leadership seats; and
Disclose the gender, race, and ethnic composition of the board.
The myriad benefits associated with diverse teams are well documented. They include a fuller understanding of consumer needs and preferences, the ability to recruit and retain top talent, less group think, and fewer blind spots in governance and leadership, and improved risk management.
Diversity of perspectives has also been shown to encourage more creative and innovative workplace environments, increasing ROI.
Where Food Comes From’s core business focuses on accountability, transparency and verification. Investors are looking for similar practices as they relate to diversity, equity and inclusion. We need to see the company’s commitment to equity codified in organizational documents and reflected in the company’s operations.
Where Food Comes From has shared the current diversity of its Board and leadership team. However, it has not yet committed to the key change requested by the resolution: to formally write into its governance documents a commitment to be intentional in its approach to both diversity and inclusion.
In agriculture, race relations, the treatment of employees, and safe and respectful workplace conditions are complex topics. Where Food Comes From is encouraged to build expertise and to lead on these issues. It is encouraged to formalize its commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion so that all employees feel safe and supported.
When a company implements meaningful equity and inclusion programs, it provides comfort to investors that it is taking seriously the need to both reduce risks as well as capture the benefits of such programs. And to all stakeholders:
This type of commitment shows that the company takes discrimination seriously, and that it is willing to do its part in addressing this systemic issue openly.
it demonstrates The willingness to acknowledges its own imperfections honestly,
And diversity reporting provides data which allows investors and other stakeholders to assess and compare the effectiveness of its programs.
We ask that Where Food Comes From begin to proactively address the need for a strategic approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, at the Board level and throughout its operations. Thank you.