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HomeUSTractor Supply ditches diversity roles, climate goals after online attacks

Tractor Supply ditches diversity roles, climate goals after online attacks

By Aaron Clark | Bloomberg
Tractor Supply Co., the US retailer focused on rural lifestyle products, is scrapping its climate targets and diversity, equity and inclusion goals after weeks of online attacks.
The Tennessee-based company has been hit with criticism over its policies on social media, including from right-wing activist Robby Starbuck.
“We have heard from customers that we have disappointed them,” Tractor Supply said in a statement posted to its website. “We have taken this feedback to heart.”
The company will eliminate DEI programs and remove related positions, halt sponsorship of activities including Pride festivals and withdraw its carbon emissions goals, according to the statement. Instead, Tractor Supply will focus on issues including animal welfare, veteran causes and water conservation.
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A growing number of US companies are revising diversity targets, or reviewing previous support for LGBTQ-related events as conservative activists step up efforts to oppose corporate engagement in social issues, a backlash that’s been amplified by billionaires including Elon Musk and Bill Ackman.
More than 50 firms, including Best Buy Co., Chipotle Mexican Grill and Johnson & Johnson, have this year removed or de-emphasized DEI when setting executive pay, according to Farient Advisors, a consulting firm.
Tractor Supply, which operates more than 2,200 stores — many in rural communities including the Inland Empire — selling garden products to tools and pet food, needs to maintain consumer confidence as it seeks to lift sales this year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Lindsay Dutch.
The firm’s “loyal and growing customer base is a key strength supporting sales growth and operating margin this year,” Dutch said in an April note.

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