via the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce
For the first time, the theme of LGBTI inclusion took the mainstage at the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual conference in Davos, to launch its LGBTI programmatic work, the “Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality”. With this launch, the WEF joins other leading economic development institutions to advance the economic empowerment and inclusive growth strategies for LGBTI people – an emerging pathway that could potentially offer numerous new institutional levers of change. For the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), and its global network of 14 LGBTI Chambers of Commerce around the world, we’re thrilled to see this launch and also stand ready with our trusted expertise that will drive this new economic agenda.
The “Partnership for Global LGBTI Equality” is a WEF-housed program that currently convenes Accenture, Deutsche Bank, EY, Mastercard, Microsoft, Omnicom Group, and Salesforce. At its core, the partnership will seek to operationalize the UN’s Standards of Conduct for Business Tackling Discrimination Against LGBTI People by providing tools and resources to the companies who have already shown support. The discussion brought together senior representatives including the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet. She discussed the imperative for corporations to stand up for LGBTI people in situations of vulnerability, and that the LGBTI community should always be consulted in this process. Other panelists, particularly executives from Accenture and Deutsche Bank, spoke to the business case for engaging LGBTI people and why it makes economic sense, particularly as it relates to their internal diversity and inclusion agendas. The theme among all of the speakers was that they can do more and that the private sector is “not there yet”.
NGLCC is at the tip of the spear of this global economic ecosystem, built around the partnership of the private sector, governments, the international community, LGBTI Chambers of Commerce, and LGBTI business owners. Acknowledging the UN Standards mandate for corporations to act in the public sphere for the LGBTI community, we offer a list of emerging trends that we recommend the WEF and corporations to consider. This includes the following four patterns:
Re-conceptualize and promote the resilience and strength of the LGBTI community
Promote transgender people who are opening doorways for the overall LGBTI community – particularly in the Global South
Utilize economic empowerment to influence culture and thus combat backlashes
Strengthen and expand collaborations between multinational corporations and LGBTI business owners