This originally appeared on Forbes on Jan 16, 2023.
Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts remain top of the agenda for many companies in 2023. The 2022 FIFA World Cup showcased on a grand scale that DEI positions have to be much more than performative gestures, lest sponsoring brands experience backlash and accusations of hypocrisy. Whether it's getting tougher on bullying and harassment policies, or clearly spelling out what is and isn't okay in codes of conduct, there's a need for companies to be harder on the behaviors and attitudes that actively undermine DEI efforts.
Reflecting on the recent World Cup, one sponsor that received a lot of attention was Budweiser. Qatar's decision to ban the sale of alcohol in and around the tournament stadiums just days before the event was surprising to both the brand and fans. But that spotlight also potentially puts additional attention on Budweiser's DEI policies. Which begs the question: Is the alcoholic beverage industry inherently less inclusive than other industries?