PROUT EMPLOYER METRO
“My goal is that in ten years we no longer have to talk about diversity and inclusion because both of these things have simply become part of life – in all areas of society.”
Laura Halfas worked for various trading and consulting companies in the areas of purchasing, distribution and IT before she joined METRO in 2008. She started in the Supply Chain Management IT area and then moved to Customer Marketing IT. Seven years later, Laura Halfas, who has a bachelor’s degree in trade and commerce, became the team leader of eCommerce, Marketing Operations & Traceability. At the end of 2017, she ultimately took over the position of Head of Corporate Responsibility. She focuses on diversity and inclusion as well as corporate citizenship.
Ms Halfas, METRO AG is clearly a very active PROUT EMPLOYER. In what specific ways does METRO champion more equal opportunities for LGBT*IQ people?
Laura Halfas: METRO was one of the first wholesalers to sign the UN Free and Equal Standards of Conduct for Business, which ensure that all employees are “free and equal”. We also have METRO Pride, a very strong internal network. This year, the Diversity & Inclusion Days took place for the first time at our campus in Dusseldorf to spark our employees’ interest in the topic of diversity. And METRO was again represented at Sticks & Stones in 2019, the largest LGBT+ careers fair in Europe.
Which initiatives are you personally particularly proud of?
Laura Halfas: We at METRO initiated a position paper on the issue of blood donation because the guidelines are discriminatory. For example, homosexual men are generally assumed to engage in risky behaviour irrespective of their actual sexual behaviour and their life situation. It would be great if, together with PROUT AT WORK, we could achieve a position paper that was adopted by German businesses. That’s why I would again like to take the opportunity to invite businesses to participate in this initiative.
“Working for equal rights is what drives me. At first, I only focused on gender equality, but then I realised that there are many areas in which there is no equality.”
As Head of Corporate Responsibility, it is your duty to ensure that METRO AG fulfils its corporate responsibility for the environment and society. In your view, what responsibility do businesses have when it comes to equal opportunities for LGBTIQ people?
Laura Halfas: We are a people business and we work with people throughout our entire value chain. As a global company with more than 150,000 employees in 36 countries, it’s our duty to ensure that all people are treated equally and not discriminated against – be they METRO employees, service partners, suppliers or customers.
In what specific areas are you hoping for support from PROUT AT WORK?
Laura Halfas: I and a lot of my colleagues appreciate the networking and dialogue with PROUT AT WORK. The foundation has considerable experience and know-how. For example, it constantly provides us with new impetus to drive forward cultural change within METRO and make our jobs even more open and less susceptible to discrimination. What’s more, our activities are becoming visible outside the company. And as I said, our motto when it comes to the position paper on blood donation is: together we can do it!
You immediately agreed to an interview with us – thank you again! To what extent are equal opportunities for LGBTIQ people an issue that is close to your heart?
Laura Halfas: Working for equal rights is what drives me. At first, I only focused on gender equality, but then I realised that there are many areas in which there is no equality. My goal is that in ten years we no longer have to talk about diversity and inclusion because both of these things have simply become part of life – in all areas of society. However, there are still many areas in which LGBT+ issues need to be addressed. People are still being discriminated against. I want to change this. Everyone should have the opportunity to be who they are.