Suffolk County Council has become the first UK council to launch a formal Vegan Staff Network. The network is formed by employees, providing a supportive environment for vegan staff.
The Vegan Staff Network also allows members the opportunity to weigh in on corporate agendas and have their say on issues that will impact its members.
The network was formed after two employees wanted to bring veganism into the professional environment, with the council being one of the county’s largest employers.
Sadie Cable, co-chair of the network, said: “Veganism is about so much more than just a diet; it is a lifestyle and, to some, a belief system. Most people who identify as vegan usually do so because of a whole range of things that align with protecting animals, saving our planet and living a healthy lifestyle.”
She added: “The network is a way to bring veganism into the corporate spotlight and improve things for its members. We want staff to feel proud of what they believe in and to have a platform to educate others and to feel like their beliefs won’t be compromised.”
The vegan network has work with the restaurant in the main campus building on daily vegan options and hopes to work on more projects within the workplace during 2019.
As part of the process to get the network officially recognised, as with other staff networks, it has to meet the criteria of ‘protected characteristics’ under the Equalities Act 2010. This is expected to have a positive ripple effect with the acknowledgment of veganism as a ‘protected characteristic’.
Suffolk County Council hope to encourage more councils and businesses to start their own vegan staff networks in the workplace.
In 2014, Suffolk County Council were listed as a Stonewall Top 100 employer, and continued to be named on the list for further three years. The development of the vegan network shows their commitment to their staff and inclusivity.