I give Kraft Foods an A+

All of you regular readers know that I have issues with Kraft foods. The basis of my position is that they often dumb down food, place sales over even the slightest margin of quality, and label foods with descriptors that they are clearly not.

Oh… and they are owned by a tobacco corporation.

In the interest of fairness, I do feel it necessary to point out when Kraft actually does something of quality. I give you an e-mail sent by Executive Vice President Marc Firestone in response to recent criticisms from evangelical Christians on Krafts sponsoring the the 2006 Gay Games.

From: Marc Firestone, Executive Vice President, Corporate Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Kraft Foods Inc.

Subject: Kraft’s Contribution to 2006 Gay Games

The true test of any commitment is how you respond when challenged. Kraft is experiencing this to a degree right now, as a result of our decision to be one of several contributors to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. The games will bring together thousands of athletes in a competition that will take place in our corporate hometown.

In recent days, the company has received many e-mails, the majority of them generated through the America Family Association, which objects to our sponsorship. We also have received calls and e-mails – - not as many, but equally passionate – - thanking us for supporting this event. A member of Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s team said, “We applaud the businesses that are sponsors of the Gay Games, including Kraft Foods.”

You may have questions or might have had questions from friends and family about our contribution to this event. While Kraft certainly doesn’t go looking for controversy, we have long been dedicated to support the concept and the reality of diversity. It’s the right thing to do and it’s good for our business and our work environment.

Diversity makes us a stronger company and connects us with the diversity that exists among the consumers who buy our products.

Diversity is more than a word many people like to say. At Kraft we truly respect all kinds of differences. And diversity is not a selective concept. By definition, it’s nothing if not inclusive. We respect diversity of ethnicity, gender, experience, background, personal style and yes, sexual orientation and gender identity. Recognizing, respecting and valuing these differences helps us be a more successful business and a workplace where all employees can realize their full potential.

For more than a decade, we have had employee councils that promote our awareness of diversity. The newest of our nine diversity councils is the Rainbow Council, which strives to provide a forum for support and networking among gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender employees; raise awareness within Kraft and promote involvement in the community. Each council has an executive sponsor and I have been the Rainbow Council’s sponsor since last year.

Through all of our councils, we support various initiatives that demonstrate how strongly we believe in diversity, through involvement in the community. Our sponsorship of the 2006 Gay Games is one of almost 1,700 cash and in-kind grants we make annually.

It can be difficult when we are criticized. It’s easy to say you support a concept or a principle when nobody objects. The real test of commitment is how one reacts when there are those who disagree. I hope you share my view that our company has taken the right stand on diversity, including its contribution to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

Not food related per se, and they still make crappy cheese. But hey.. I have to give them points for doing the right thing.

Tip of the cap to Gwyn and AZNomad on DailyKos


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