Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
HRC partnered with Microsoft and SkyBridge Capital to host a roundtable discussion on LGBT equality on the occasion of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Vice President Joe Biden celebrated the pro-equality efforts of the businesses represented around the table and highlighted the unique influence of the private sector to create a culture of inclusion around the globe.
"Vice President Biden is a tremendous ally in the fight for LGBT equality in the United States, and his participation in today's important gathering was further proof of his steadfast commitment to safeguarding the rights of LGBT people abroad," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "LGBT people should have a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families no matter where they live, and leaders of the world's foremost companies can and should provide equal treatment and protections for their LGBT employees. They are also powerful voices in making the case globally that equality and inclusion in the workplace are both common sense and good business sense. We are honored to have such prominent corporate leaders joining our global business coalition and participating in today's crucial discussion."
"The strengthening of LGBT equality in the workplace makes good sense for companies and for people," said Brad Smith, President of Microsoft Corp. "In 1993, Microsoft became the first Fortune 500 company to provide same-sex domestic partnership benefits. Our commitment to treating all our employees equally has helped our business grow as well as being the right thing to do. This isn’t just important to Microsoft. We believe it is also good for economies operating in a global context. Today represents a continuation of this commitment, and we are proud to stand alongside other companies to support diversity, inclusiveness and equality.”
"Equality is not just a good investment, it is the right investment," said Anthony Scaramucci, Founder of SkyBridge Capital. "HRC is actively engaging top-tier global business leaders and industry influencers in its campaign to change hearts and minds worldwide. As corporate leaders we have the responsibility to support this movement; stand up for inclusion; and and foster an organizational culture that reinforces the basic inalienable, democratic rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Last fall, HRC announced the creation of a groundbreaking global coalition committed to advancing LGBT workplace equality around the world. HRC was proud to co-host the round table with Microsoft and SkyBridge Capital. In addition to Microsoft, other coalition members represented at the roundtable included Accenture, AirBNB, Alcoa, The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical, Google, MasterCard, and UPS, among others.
This coalition of multinationals builds off the positive relationships that HRC has cultivated with major employers for over a decade through the Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which measures LGBT workplace inclusion. For the first time in this year’s 2016 CEI, multinational companies were assessed on how they treat their LGBT employees around the world--not just those in the U.S. The business case for LGBT inclusion has strong momentum, spurred by U.S.-based multinationals across the Fortune 500, a majority of which afford explicit protections on the basis of sexual orientation (93%) and gender identity (75%). The trend toward LGBT-inclusive corporate policies is growing in the Americas, East Asia, Australia, and in Europe.
Leadership by these businesses is crucial --especially because in over 70 countries today, being LGBT or even expressing support for LGBT people is a crime. The voices of businesses leaders are key to advancing equality and justice for LGBT people in every corner of the world.
Roundtable participants included:
- Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
- Chad Griffin, President of HRC
- Brad Smith, President & Chief Legal Officer, Microsoft
- Anthony Scaramucci, Founder, SkyBridge Capital
- David Abney, CEO, UPS
- Michelle Brooke-Marciniak, Co-CEO, Sheex
- Cathy Engelbert, CEO, Deloitte LLP
- Muhtar Kent, Chairman & CEO, The Coca Cola Company
- Sander van ‘t Noordende, Group CEO - Products, Accenture
- Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman, & CEO, Dow Chemical
- Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer, AirBNB
- Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, EY
- Dan Bross, Senior Director, Business & Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft
- Ty Cobb, Director, HRC Global, Human Rights Campaign
- Annie Dickerson, Director, Paul E. Singer Family Office
- David Drummond, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development and Chief Legal Officer, Google
- Susan Hauser, Corporate Vice President, Business & Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft
- Michael Lopez, Director, Global Inclusion & Diversity, Alcoa
- Ed Martinez, President, UPS Foundation
- Ray Nolte, Co-Managing Partner & Chief Investment Officer, SkyBridge Capital
- Shamina Singh, Executive Director, MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth