Robert B. Ford on Abbott’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Report

Originally published at Robert B. Ford is Abbott’s President and CEO. Abbott ranked No. 4 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.


Abbott’s purpose as a company is to help people live their best and fullest lives. We pursue this through the healthcare technologies that we innovate because we believe that health is the foundation of human dignity and potential. And the power of that purpose compels us to pursue the same goal in all that we do as a company.

With that purpose and operations in more than 160 countries, diversity is not only a moral virtue — it’s a business necessity. Simply put, diversity fuels creativity. Creativity drives innovation. Innovation produces our life-changing technologies. None of this can flourish without a climate of equity and inclusion.

We at Abbott salute the efforts of so many — today and throughout our history — to drive positive change in this critical dimension of our society. And we mean to be an active force in that change. Abbott has a strong record on this score. We’ve long been recognized as a leader in workplace diversity. But our aspirations are greater. We know we can do better still — that building an inclusive culture requires us to. And we’re intensifying our efforts accordingly.

Abbott’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report lays out our plans, strategies, and actions to make Abbott the actively inclusive community that we want — and need — it to be. These plans will help all of our colleagues reach their full potential; and by addressing health inequities, we will help the people we serve live their fullest lives. While there’s a lot of data here, this report is not about the numbers — it’s about the actions they represent and the lives that they impact. That said, the success of our plans, strategies, and actions will be demonstrated by an increase in the number of women and underrepresented groups that move into our management ranks; and those numbers will continue to grow.

Our ultimate goal is an organization in which inclusiveness is a natural state, not an initiative. We are working to infuse it so deeply into our culture, that it is the natural way things get done at Abbott. This will take work. And we will persevere in it. In 2020, we created a dedicated, high-level position focused specifically on accelerating action around diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout our global organization; and Abbott people have responded with enthusiasm and embraced this effort. That’s essential — because it takes all of us to build and maintain the just and inclusive culture in which we want to live and work.

This is important to us as a company, and it’s important to me personally. I believe that every individual can make a difference and that we have an obligation to do so. There are 109,000 of us at Abbott, around the world; and we know the kind of difference we can make in people’s lives — we see it in the products we create, so we know how much determined people can accomplish together. And we’re committed to bringing that same power to the vitally important work of expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion within our company and to all we can influence.

To learn more about diversity and inclusion at Abbott, click here.

To read Abbott’s 2020 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion report, click here.

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