Rural retailer Tractor Supply eliminates DEI roles, Pride support and carbon emissions goals

Shoppers are seen at the parking lot of a Tractor Supply Co. store near Bloomsburg. 

Paul Weaver | SOPA Images | Lightrocket | Getty Images

Tractor Supply, a retail chain that sells home improvement equipment, livestock and agricultural supplies for farmers and pet owners, is eliminating diversity, equity and inclusion roles; withdrawing carbon emission goals; and walking back support for the LGBTQ community as part of sweeping changes to environmental, social and governance initiatives, the company announced this week.

The retailer said in a Thursday release that it will no longer submit data to the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBTQ advocacy group. The company will also stop sponsoring Pride festivals and voting campaigns, the release said. The company previously earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s 2022 Best Places to Work Corporate Equality Index.

The announcement comes in the final days of Pride Month.

Tractor Supply is also retiring initiatives aimed at reducing environmental impact and improving employee diversity. The company had set goals to achieve net zero carbon emissions in operations by 2040 and to reduce its water usage by 2025. Its DEI targets included boosting the number of employees of color at the manager level and above by 50% by 2026.

Tractor Supply said it’s making the changes to better represent the values of the communities and customers it serves. The retailer caters to largely rural communities, with 50,000 employees across 2,250 stores in 49 states, according to company data.

“Rural communities are the backbone of our nation and what make America great,” Tractor Supply said in the news release. “We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them. We have taken this feedback to heart.”

Tractor Supply said it has invested millions of dollars in veteran causes, state fairs, animal shelters, rodeos and farmers markets and that it invests in the future of rural America by being the largest supporter of FFA, a nonprofit that promotes agricultural education for middle and high schoolers.

The retailer was previously included on Newsweek’s list of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Diversity in 2023 and was named to Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index for 2022 and 2023.

The publicly traded company has a market valuation of about $29 billion. CNBC contacted Tractor Supply for more details about the changes, and the company declined to comment beyond the release.

The changes come amid a growing wave of anti-DEI sentiment in the wake of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2023 to strike down affirmative action in colleges. Experts at the time predicted the ruling could have implications for corporate hiring or recruiting.

Companies, including Starbucks, Disney and Target, have faced legal challenges over DEI initiatives for LGBTQ customers and employees. In February 2023, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer dropped race-based eligibility requirements for a fellowship program designed for college students of Black, Latino and Native American descent, the Associated Press reported.

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