Mark Lawton, founder and chairman of Coca-Cola Canada’s LGBTQA Business Resource Group (BRG), smiles as he fixes his microphone. He’s doing an on-camera interview for Pride Month and discussing how Coca-Cola is activating and celebrating across Canada.
Mark explains that Coca-Cola sees Pride Month as more than just a “buzzword” – it’s embedded in the company’s values and is always evolving.
“We’re not just talking about our employees and looking inward,” he shares. “We’re also reaching out to the community and trying to understand how we can improve the lives of people who identify as LGBTQA.”
And there’s a lot on the go across the entire Coca-Cola Canada system.
For instance, Coca-Cola Canada is working closely with Pride at Work Canada, an organization that helps employers build inclusive workspaces that celebrates all gender expression, identity and sexual orientation.
“The policies that Coca-Cola Canada currently has are fantastic,” Mark explains. “But Pride at Work is going to come in and see if there’s anything we can do to really future proof those policies and make them even stronger.”
The BRG also attends and supports different LGBTQA network events, such as the CGLCC (Canada’s LGBTQA Chamber of Commerce) Global Summit.
With regards to engaging the LGBTQA communities outside of Coca-Cola’s walls, the BRG is working with IN Magazine – an LGBTQA lifestyle publication in Toronto – as a media consultant. Together the company and IN will work with Coca-Cola brands and create plans to authentically engage with the LGBTQA communities throughout the year.
Diet Coke, Peace Tea, Coca-Cola are among the main brands with plans to be active in this space.
“It’s amazing to celebrate pride during the month of June, but it’s also important that we keep the conversation alive every single day."
- Mark Lawton, Founder and Chairman, Coca-Cola Canada LGBTQA Business Resource Group
Coca-Cola Canada’s bottling partner, Coca-Cola Canada Bottling (CCCB), is also taking big strides in the LGBTQA space.
For the first time in Coca-Cola Canada’s history, CCCB facilities have started to raise rainbow flags across their production facilities.
“Pride is more than a month, it’s a reminder to celebrate our diversity and recognize the importance of inclusion for our organization,” Kathy Murphy Vice President of Public Affairs and Communications at CCCB. “It’s great to see our employees getting involved coast to coast and our facilities proudly flying the rainbow flag.”
Mark is incredibly proud of how the LGBTQA BRG at Coca-Cola Canada has flourished in its first year of existence. He explains that the group is constantly gaining new members and is engaged from coast to coast.
“Right from the start I’ve had all the support and backing from the company,” he shares. “It’s really important to have this group represented and everyone has fully embraced it.”
“It feels like pushing on an open door.”