Developed in collaboration with EY and launched in 2017, the LEAD Network Gender Diversity Scorecard is conducted every two years. It provides unique data on the consumer goods and retail sector’s progress towards gender equality. It aims to accelerate the journey towards gender parity by helping companies benchmark their performance against their peers.

On 6th October 2021, at the Annual Conference, the results of the Gender Diversity Scorecard 2021 were announced. We proudly can state that gender equality in the European consumer goods and retail sector has comes a step closer, with The Coca-Cola Company and ICA Gruppen leading the way.

The consumer goods and retail sector in Europe continues its journey towards gender equality, with 35% of executive positions now held by women. This is slightly up on the figure of 34% recorded in 2019, and significantly higher than the 25% seen in 2017. Although the pace of progress has slowed somewhat, the results are nevertheless encouraging, given the pandemic’s disproportionate effect on women’s careers.

In 2021 Sweden’s ICA Gruppen was the best performing retail company for the third time in a row, with 51% women in leadership roles, slightly up on its 2019 result (50%).

Per Strömberg, CEO of ICA Gruppen says:  “We are grateful and humble to receive this award, highlighting the importance of inclusion and diversity for a successful business. You need the best people. By acknowledging our shortcomings, facing our biases and being open to new perspectives – we increase our chances of attracting and retaining the greatest talent.” 

The UK ’s John Lewis Partnership (owner of Waitrose supermarkets i.a.) occupied the second spot with 49% – a major improvement on the 29% it reported in 2019.

On the manufacturing side, The Coca-Cola Company ranked top in 2021. Its figure of 55% female executives was a significant rise on the 23% in 2019.

Lana Popovic, President of Operations, Coca-Cola Europe says: “We are very honoured about this recognition. Diversity, equity and inclusion are at the heart of our values and our growth strategy. They play an important part in our company’s success. I’m personally very proud of the talents I saw progressing in our company during the last year, especially since the pandemic has proven to be particularly hard on women everywhere. We deeply believe that we can achieve better results when we continue fostering a diverse and inclusive culture and lead in a gender-balanced way. While this a proud moment for Coca-Cola Europe, we also recognize that we are not fully there yet in terms of being 50% led by women across all senior management levels. Not least, because the task is to sustain long-term what we strive to achieve in the near future. This award encourages us to continue to lead and advocate for a better shared future. 

Other strong manufacturing performers were Nestlé and Lila Group, which had results of 52% and 50% respectively.

 Despite these encouraging results, the sector still has a way to go. Half of the $1 billion-revenue companies participating in the Gender Diversity Scorecard had fewer than 50 women in leading positions. And these companies reported only 3% women in the C-suite.

The survey also shows that the majority of female leaders continue to serve in areas that are traditionally female-friendly, such as marketing and HR. However, there are positive signs that women are beginning to break through in functional areas like supply chain, operations and finance.

Help us drive our D&I mission by creating a more gender equal sector and join the next edition of LEAD Network Gender Diversity Scorecard.
For more information contact us at info@theleadnetwork.net.