Summary

(Updated June 29, 2020)

Part 1 - Thistle’s DEI Statement & Where We Stand Today

COVID-19 and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have put a spotlight on the insidious racial hierarchy ever present in the U.S., where people of color — particularly Black communities — are treated as expendable. The conditions that result in Black Americans dying of COVID-19 at almost 2.5x the rate of White people, and the conditions that allowed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and at least 1,200 other souls since 2015 to die at the hands of police, are systemic and interwoven into every aspect of society, built on centuries of inequity and injustice.

We know that our industry is part of the problem — and that as part of that industry, we are part of the problem. Race and class inequalities are pervasive in the food system, including production, distribution, and consumption. Food industry workers are often from poor or minority communities, often powerless to negotiate better working conditions while continuing to not only be exposed to COVID-19, but also disproportionately vulnerable to negative outcomes due to inequalities in wealth, health, housing, and healthcare access.

A huge driver of the discrepancy in health outcomes is that many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable food, often located in food deserts where unhealthy fast food is the only available and/or affordable option. As a company whose mission is to improve access to healthy, sustainable food, Thistle has a responsibility to take action toward fighting the systemic racism that leads to these unequal outcomes, to creating the change we want to see in the world around us.

Thistle commits to speaking up and taking action to fight injustice, inequality, and discrimination, but also listening and learning on how to continuously improve on this journey.

Where Do We Stand Today?

We reaffirm our policy of zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind. Our Equal Opportunity Employment Policy and Policy Against Harassment within our Employee Handbook states that discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic is explicitly prohibited at Thistle. We furthermore encourage reporting of all perceived incidents of racism, discrimination or harassment, and promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. Thistle prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports or participates in the investigation of reports of racism, discrimination, or harassment.

In terms of our internal demographics, of our 518 total employees, 67% identify as BIPOC, with 23% identifying as Black/African American, 15% choosing not to disclose (working on this!), and 18% white. On our senior leadership team, 67% (6 of 9) identify as minority / BIPOC, and 56% (5 of 9) are female identifying; however none are Black/African American. Our Board of Directors (BOD) is 25% female and 75% minority or BIPOC; however we again do not have Black/African American representation on the BOD. This means we have a tremendous responsibility to the majority of our workforce to fight racism and drive social change and justice, and to do better in our recruiting and hiring practices — especially when it comes to Black representation.  

We launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative and Committee on May 1 of this year. This committee, which internally we call THRIVE (Transparency, Humility, Representation, Inclusion, Visibility and Equity) will drive awareness and efforts forward in all areas of employment, including inclusive hiring practices and management/leadership, related trainings, equitable internal policies and practices such as a gender-neutral Parental Leave policy, and transparent goals and progress. Importantly, the goal of the committee is to ensure these efforts are integrated into, and not separate from, every component of the applicant and employee experience at Thistle. The committee is made up of 73% BIPOC and 18% Black/African American employees. While this initiative is just beginning, in May we implemented a Diversity questionnaire in our job application process and launched an Inclusion & Belonging survey to all employees which we plan to use to enact change and prioritize efforts. We have another committee meeting in June where we will identify specific goals in areas like recruitment, training, and employee development.

We will be donating to  NAACP LDF, Fair Fight, and Equal Justice Initiative, and matching employee donations to these organizations. We have historically volunteered time at Project Open Hand (and will again post-Covid), and we donate meals to community partners including Berkeley Food Pantry and the East Oakland Collective.

For our front line employees, we are committed to being a responsible employer by offering a living wage and paid sick / vacation leave benefits to all of our employees. We also expanded our paid leave benefit program to provide an additional two weeks of paid leave to all of our non-exempt and hourly workforce regardless of tenure (prior to this becoming mandated by the state of California), as well as hazard / appreciation pay (increased rate of pay for all employees reporting to work during shelter in place).

For all of our employees, we are providing support and resources, promoting internal dialogue, and supporting our team’s call to action in whatever way we can, including taking the (paid) time and space they need to grieve, heal, protest, and, when the time comes, to vote.

We are fortunate to have brought on an incredibly supportive partner in PowerPlant Ventures, a socially-conscious investor who supports DEI initiatives and the work we wish to do to become a better employer and better ally to Black, minority, and LGBTQ+ communities.


Part 2 - Thistle’s Long-Term Commitments

There is so much more that can be done that we are excited to tackle within our own organization and our industry / society at large. Our future commitments will span three major areas: (1) Internal Culture; (2) Access; and (3) Community.

Internal Culture
Our commitment is to foster a company culture where diverse perspectives are heard and valued, where opportunities are provided to those who have been historically marginalized, and where everyone feels they have a voice and sense of belonging regardless of background. To that end, some initiatives we will be working on include the following:

Recruit and hire a more diverse workforce: We commit to expanding our recruitment and hiring practices with the goal of reaching a more diverse applicant pool and decreasing unconscious bias present at all stages of the interview process (including ensuring job descriptions are crafted to attract diverse talent, widening our candidate sourcing platforms and networks, removing names from the screening / interview process, and ensuring we hire for values vs culture fit). Once at Thistle, we commit to providing additional opportunities for mentorship, learning, and development.

Support the career progression of diverse employees: We commit to investing in the engagement, retention, and career progression of diverse talent. We will provide opportunities for mentorship and continued learning, with clear expectations of skills required to take the next career step and resources to support that progression, especially into management and leadership roles.

Equal and fair pay: We commit to ensuring equitable and inclusive compensation practices, and to being a provider of jobs paying a fair living wage with benefits including paid sick leave, vacation, parental leave, and healthcare. We commit to conducting annual wage equity audits, and to make the adjustments needed to achieve fair and equitable pay and eliminate any racial or gender wage gaps.

Leadership diversity: We will continue to hold ourselves accountable to increasing diversity in our leadership team and among people managers throughout the organization. We commit to adding to our leadership team and/or paid advisory opportunities representation from the Black community, and to include DEI topics on BOD meeting agendas.

Inclusion & Belonging: To further our commitment to zero-tolerance anti-racism policies, we will be launching racial-equity training and collecting feedback from employees on inclusion and belonging every 6 months. We commit to quarterly Inclusive Leadership workshops, with additional opportunities for education and training aimed at creating the most inclusive company culture that we can. We will additionally be creating and supporting employee resource/affinity groups for women, LGBTQ+, and employees of color.

Civic participation: We commit to paid leave to vote, and we will encourage voting via helping with voter registration at Thistle facilities.

Juneteenth celebration: We added Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year and every year.

Transparency: We commit to making our diversity statistics and our progress towards the goals laid out here and future statements visible to both our employees and the broader community.  

Access
We commit to reaching a broader customer base through making our product more accessible via product development and innovation, brand / marketing efforts, and/or price point:  

Product design: We commit to being more inclusive in our product design, starting by getting more input from our diverse field managers at the innovation and R&D stage to make sure our meals and other products reflect the broadest spectrum of culinary diversity we can possibly offer and appeal to a wide range of individuals and tastes.

Affordability: We know that price point is a huge impediment to access and we reaffirm our commitment to find ways to make our products more affordable, especially for under-resourced communities.

Brand & marketing initiatives: We commit to ensuring our branding and marketing content (including design, voice, and copy) speak to a broader range of customers, includes diverse individuals in marketing photography, and that we elevate BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices and content producers in our marketing efforts. Diversity will be a core metric by which we evaluate external agencies or individuals including branding firms, copywriters, or other content producers.

Partnerships: We commit to working with and amplifying the voice and work of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ chefs, artisans, farmers, and small producers via our marketing channels.

Community
We commit to helping the communities in which we operate and who are the backbone of our industry:

Meal and resource donations: We commit to deepening our ties with our current (and new) community partners who can be a force multiplier for change, increasing the donations of both time (paid employee volunteer service opportunities), dollars, and fresh, healthy meals throughout each year.

Community engagement: In addition to donations, we commit to building more bridges with the communities where we live and work. Some examples of initiatives we’re exploring include partnering with local organizations to foster nutritional education and champion sustainability in our food system / dietary choices, or sponsoring community gardens especially in locations with limited access to fresh produce.

Supply chain: We commit to making diversity and support for DEI initiatives a criteria upon which we evaluate our vendors. As part of the procurement process, we commit to screen for fair labor / social practices, women and minorities in leadership positions / women or minority-owned businesses, equal pay, livable wages, employment opportunities for low income or chronically underemployed populations, commitment to DEI initiatives, B Corps, etc. We will highlight the communities contributing to the product in our marketing and advertising in order to amplify their voices and stories.

Advocacy: We commit to becoming advocates and activists in our industry fighting for change across the various dimensions of social, environmental, and nutritional injustices that exist today. We will use our voices, our time, and our dollars to support these causes, from ensuring a living wage and benefits to nutritional standards to sustainability to food security in our community.

We have a responsibility to effect the change we want to see realized in our company and the world around us. We commit to speaking up, listening, learning, and taking action to fight injustice, inequality, and discrimination. This is just the start - we will continue to add to our commitments, and, importantly, we will be translating these broad goals into concrete objectives with actionable and measurable metrics of success. We will be updating you every step of the way.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jun 29, 2020
 in 
Community
 category.
Summary

(Updated June 29, 2020)

Part 1 - Thistle’s DEI Statement & Where We Stand Today

COVID-19 and the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others have put a spotlight on the insidious racial hierarchy ever present in the U.S., where people of color — particularly Black communities — are treated as expendable. The conditions that result in Black Americans dying of COVID-19 at almost 2.5x the rate of White people, and the conditions that allowed George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and at least 1,200 other souls since 2015 to die at the hands of police, are systemic and interwoven into every aspect of society, built on centuries of inequity and injustice.

We know that our industry is part of the problem — and that as part of that industry, we are part of the problem. Race and class inequalities are pervasive in the food system, including production, distribution, and consumption. Food industry workers are often from poor or minority communities, often powerless to negotiate better working conditions while continuing to not only be exposed to COVID-19, but also disproportionately vulnerable to negative outcomes due to inequalities in wealth, health, housing, and healthcare access.

A huge driver of the discrepancy in health outcomes is that many low-income neighborhoods and communities of color have been systematically deprived of access to fresh, healthy, and sustainable food, often located in food deserts where unhealthy fast food is the only available and/or affordable option. As a company whose mission is to improve access to healthy, sustainable food, Thistle has a responsibility to take action toward fighting the systemic racism that leads to these unequal outcomes, to creating the change we want to see in the world around us.

Thistle commits to speaking up and taking action to fight injustice, inequality, and discrimination, but also listening and learning on how to continuously improve on this journey.

Where Do We Stand Today?

We reaffirm our policy of zero tolerance for racism or discrimination of any kind. Our Equal Opportunity Employment Policy and Policy Against Harassment within our Employee Handbook states that discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetic information, or any other characteristic is explicitly prohibited at Thistle. We furthermore encourage reporting of all perceived incidents of racism, discrimination or harassment, and promptly and thoroughly investigate such reports. Thistle prohibits retaliation against any individual who reports or participates in the investigation of reports of racism, discrimination, or harassment.

In terms of our internal demographics, of our 518 total employees, 67% identify as BIPOC, with 23% identifying as Black/African American, 15% choosing not to disclose (working on this!), and 18% white. On our senior leadership team, 67% (6 of 9) identify as minority / BIPOC, and 56% (5 of 9) are female identifying; however none are Black/African American. Our Board of Directors (BOD) is 25% female and 75% minority or BIPOC; however we again do not have Black/African American representation on the BOD. This means we have a tremendous responsibility to the majority of our workforce to fight racism and drive social change and justice, and to do better in our recruiting and hiring practices — especially when it comes to Black representation.  

We launched a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Initiative and Committee on May 1 of this year. This committee, which internally we call THRIVE (Transparency, Humility, Representation, Inclusion, Visibility and Equity) will drive awareness and efforts forward in all areas of employment, including inclusive hiring practices and management/leadership, related trainings, equitable internal policies and practices such as a gender-neutral Parental Leave policy, and transparent goals and progress. Importantly, the goal of the committee is to ensure these efforts are integrated into, and not separate from, every component of the applicant and employee experience at Thistle. The committee is made up of 73% BIPOC and 18% Black/African American employees. While this initiative is just beginning, in May we implemented a Diversity questionnaire in our job application process and launched an Inclusion & Belonging survey to all employees which we plan to use to enact change and prioritize efforts. We have another committee meeting in June where we will identify specific goals in areas like recruitment, training, and employee development.

We will be donating to  NAACP LDF, Fair Fight, and Equal Justice Initiative, and matching employee donations to these organizations. We have historically volunteered time at Project Open Hand (and will again post-Covid), and we donate meals to community partners including Berkeley Food Pantry and the East Oakland Collective.

For our front line employees, we are committed to being a responsible employer by offering a living wage and paid sick / vacation leave benefits to all of our employees. We also expanded our paid leave benefit program to provide an additional two weeks of paid leave to all of our non-exempt and hourly workforce regardless of tenure (prior to this becoming mandated by the state of California), as well as hazard / appreciation pay (increased rate of pay for all employees reporting to work during shelter in place).

For all of our employees, we are providing support and resources, promoting internal dialogue, and supporting our team’s call to action in whatever way we can, including taking the (paid) time and space they need to grieve, heal, protest, and, when the time comes, to vote.

We are fortunate to have brought on an incredibly supportive partner in PowerPlant Ventures, a socially-conscious investor who supports DEI initiatives and the work we wish to do to become a better employer and better ally to Black, minority, and LGBTQ+ communities.


Part 2 - Thistle’s Long-Term Commitments

There is so much more that can be done that we are excited to tackle within our own organization and our industry / society at large. Our future commitments will span three major areas: (1) Internal Culture; (2) Access; and (3) Community.

Internal Culture
Our commitment is to foster a company culture where diverse perspectives are heard and valued, where opportunities are provided to those who have been historically marginalized, and where everyone feels they have a voice and sense of belonging regardless of background. To that end, some initiatives we will be working on include the following:

Recruit and hire a more diverse workforce: We commit to expanding our recruitment and hiring practices with the goal of reaching a more diverse applicant pool and decreasing unconscious bias present at all stages of the interview process (including ensuring job descriptions are crafted to attract diverse talent, widening our candidate sourcing platforms and networks, removing names from the screening / interview process, and ensuring we hire for values vs culture fit). Once at Thistle, we commit to providing additional opportunities for mentorship, learning, and development.

Support the career progression of diverse employees: We commit to investing in the engagement, retention, and career progression of diverse talent. We will provide opportunities for mentorship and continued learning, with clear expectations of skills required to take the next career step and resources to support that progression, especially into management and leadership roles.

Equal and fair pay: We commit to ensuring equitable and inclusive compensation practices, and to being a provider of jobs paying a fair living wage with benefits including paid sick leave, vacation, parental leave, and healthcare. We commit to conducting annual wage equity audits, and to make the adjustments needed to achieve fair and equitable pay and eliminate any racial or gender wage gaps.

Leadership diversity: We will continue to hold ourselves accountable to increasing diversity in our leadership team and among people managers throughout the organization. We commit to adding to our leadership team and/or paid advisory opportunities representation from the Black community, and to include DEI topics on BOD meeting agendas.

Inclusion & Belonging: To further our commitment to zero-tolerance anti-racism policies, we will be launching racial-equity training and collecting feedback from employees on inclusion and belonging every 6 months. We commit to quarterly Inclusive Leadership workshops, with additional opportunities for education and training aimed at creating the most inclusive company culture that we can. We will additionally be creating and supporting employee resource/affinity groups for women, LGBTQ+, and employees of color.

Civic participation: We commit to paid leave to vote, and we will encourage voting via helping with voter registration at Thistle facilities.

Juneteenth celebration: We added Juneteenth as a paid holiday this year and every year.

Transparency: We commit to making our diversity statistics and our progress towards the goals laid out here and future statements visible to both our employees and the broader community.  

Access
We commit to reaching a broader customer base through making our product more accessible via product development and innovation, brand / marketing efforts, and/or price point:  

Product design: We commit to being more inclusive in our product design, starting by getting more input from our diverse field managers at the innovation and R&D stage to make sure our meals and other products reflect the broadest spectrum of culinary diversity we can possibly offer and appeal to a wide range of individuals and tastes.

Affordability: We know that price point is a huge impediment to access and we reaffirm our commitment to find ways to make our products more affordable, especially for under-resourced communities.

Brand & marketing initiatives: We commit to ensuring our branding and marketing content (including design, voice, and copy) speak to a broader range of customers, includes diverse individuals in marketing photography, and that we elevate BIPOC and LGBTQ+ voices and content producers in our marketing efforts. Diversity will be a core metric by which we evaluate external agencies or individuals including branding firms, copywriters, or other content producers.

Partnerships: We commit to working with and amplifying the voice and work of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ chefs, artisans, farmers, and small producers via our marketing channels.

Community
We commit to helping the communities in which we operate and who are the backbone of our industry:

Meal and resource donations: We commit to deepening our ties with our current (and new) community partners who can be a force multiplier for change, increasing the donations of both time (paid employee volunteer service opportunities), dollars, and fresh, healthy meals throughout each year.

Community engagement: In addition to donations, we commit to building more bridges with the communities where we live and work. Some examples of initiatives we’re exploring include partnering with local organizations to foster nutritional education and champion sustainability in our food system / dietary choices, or sponsoring community gardens especially in locations with limited access to fresh produce.

Supply chain: We commit to making diversity and support for DEI initiatives a criteria upon which we evaluate our vendors. As part of the procurement process, we commit to screen for fair labor / social practices, women and minorities in leadership positions / women or minority-owned businesses, equal pay, livable wages, employment opportunities for low income or chronically underemployed populations, commitment to DEI initiatives, B Corps, etc. We will highlight the communities contributing to the product in our marketing and advertising in order to amplify their voices and stories.

Advocacy: We commit to becoming advocates and activists in our industry fighting for change across the various dimensions of social, environmental, and nutritional injustices that exist today. We will use our voices, our time, and our dollars to support these causes, from ensuring a living wage and benefits to nutritional standards to sustainability to food security in our community.

We have a responsibility to effect the change we want to see realized in our company and the world around us. We commit to speaking up, listening, learning, and taking action to fight injustice, inequality, and discrimination. This is just the start - we will continue to add to our commitments, and, importantly, we will be translating these broad goals into concrete objectives with actionable and measurable metrics of success. We will be updating you every step of the way.

Get meals delivered to your door
We believe eating delicious is crucial to a healthy diet. Each week, our team of chefs design a new menu for what's in season, fresh and flavorful.
TRY THISTLE
Posted 
Jun 29, 2020
 in 
Community
 category.