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Yum's annual sustainability report outlines progress on goals for people, food and the environment.

Yum Brands accelerates target for bringing more women into senior leadership

Annual sustainability report outlines progress on goals for people, food and the environment

The number of women in senior leadership globally reached 47% at Yum Brands Inc. in 2020, prompting the quick-service operator to accelerate goals for gender parity, saying it can be reached by 2025, rather than the target of 2030 set earlier.

The reset comes in the Louisville, Ky.-based company’s 2020 Global Citizenship & Sustainability Report, which outlines how the chain’s more than 50,000 restaurants are moving toward goals impacting people, food and the planet — or its “Recipe for Good.”

The wide-ranging report gives some insight into the company’s progress among its four brands, including KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut and The Habit Burger Grill, and their efforts to build diversity, reduce inequality, reduce waste and cut back on carbon emissions.

“2020 marked a turning point for communities and businesses around the world, as the pandemic deepened existing societal issues and inequalities,” said David Gibbs, Yum Brands CEO, in a statement. “Across our global system, we plan to be a meaningful part of the solution to the world’s most pressing issues — inequality and the lack of opportunity that goes with it along with climate change and the impact to our lives and the planet.”

Here are some examples of ways Yum Brands says it is making progress.

Diversity and inclusion

  • Yum has committed to investing $100 million in “Unlocking Opportunity” grants over five years to fight inequality inside and outside the business, including about $6 million in Louisville, Ky., where the company is based.
    • In Louisville, for example, the Unlocking Opportunity program includes a business incubator for Black entrepreneurs. In Canada, the program will support 65 immigrant or people of color to do online mini-MBAs and offer financial rewards for completion. In the United Kingdom, Pizza Hut is offering capital, training and connections to help Black, female and young entrepreneurs start their own businesses.
  • Goals include increasing diverse representation in management, among franchisees and suppliers. For example, Yum joined the Publicis Media Once & For All Coalition to build a more diverse ecosystem of media suppliers, content creators and production partners, with a focus on Black and Hispanic platforms.
  • Yum is a member of the OneTen coalition, a group of businesses working to create mobility and advancement opportunities for Black employees. Yum has also committed to the Hispanic Promise, a national pledge to hire, promote, retain and celebrate Hispanics in the workplace.
  • The company now believes it can reach gender parity in leadership globally within the next four years. Women represent about 55% of YUM’s restaurant-level workforce, the report said. Five of 12 directors on the company’s board are women, and three are people of color.


  • Earlier this year, Yum announced a partnership with Beyond Meat that would bring plant-based items to the menus of each brand.
  • Since 2016, the company has conducted more than 467,500 food-safety audits.
  • The brands are working to reduce sodium on the menu. Pizza Hut is using low-sodium cheese in about 40% of markets.


  • Yum is working to remove all polystyrene packaging from restaurants globally by 2022. In addition, the company has the goal of converting all of KFC packaging and some of Taco Bell’s to recoverable or reusable alternatives by 2025.
  • Susan Miles, KFC’s director of global sustainability, said the company is on track. KFC is following trends in markets like France and India, where markets are shifting to plastic alternatives, like bamboo. Later this year, Taco Bell will unveil a pilot program for recycling hot sauce packets.
  • Earlier this year, Yum announced the target of reducing emissions by 46% by 2030, compared with a 2019 baseline, and to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The company said it is working with franchisees, suppliers and producers to meet those goals. 

By the end of 2021, for example, the chain will convert 1,000 restaurants to renewable energy. Last year, the U.S. corporate office made the switch.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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