The evidence base

The call for evidence

Civil society organizations around the world voice the need for evidence on the business and economic case for LGBT + inclusion

“We need businesses to push hard with these arguments. This is not a political question, it is a business question. We need to go beyond a human rights argument and beyond a human rights argument and beyond words like ‘inclusion’ and talk about the costs to businesses – and provide the evidence. In Singapore, we need the global companies more than they need us – they are in a strong position to make an argument.”

Jean Chong – Sayoni, Singapore

“We need to make the business case for activism – how businesses can be part of leading social change. We need to start with quiet and gradual change in companies’ internal policies, and this will will activate the social dimension: people to people contact… in this way we will engage more people in the movement for equality.”

Anastasia Smirnova, LGBT+ activist, Russia

“We must impress upon the political class that (the re-criminalisation of homosexuality) has economic costs and business costs – we need empirical evidence, we need investment in research that can be robustly presented.”

Pallav Patankar, Humsafer Trust, India

“There is a huge role for business and corporations to play. We need to open up spaces of acceptance – and the model of the US and UK businesses has been a good one. It is the right time to start to put these arguments on the table.”

Ifeanyi Orazulike, International Centre for Advocacy on the right to Health, Nigerial

“Companies need to be visible on this issue. They shouldn’t be afraid of ‘coming out’ as a support of LGB&T+ issues – they can play an important role.”

Jej Perfeckcyjnosc, LGBT+ Business Forum Foundation, Poland.

Strengthening the economic case

The Open For Business report brings together a broad base of research undertaken from different perspectives and with different geographical foci, and identifies themes that are globally relevant. It is intended to set out the evidence that will empower those arguing against LGBT+ discrimination, wherever it exists in the world.

This report is intended to set out the evidence that will empower those making the case against LGBT+ discrimination, wherever it exists in the world.

The following 27 Propositions synthesize a broad and fragmented evidence base into a clear and comprehensive economic case for LGBT+ inclusion:

A. Economic performance

The evidence shows that open, inclusive and diverse societies are better for economic growth, and that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity can damage long-term economic prospects.

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Proposition 1: Competitiveness

LGBT+ inclusive economies are more competitive.

Proposition 2: Entrepreneurship

LGBT+ inclusion results in higher levels of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation.

Proposition 3: Corruption

LGBT+ discrimination often goes hand-in-hand with corrupt practices and a lack of openness.

Proposition 4: Direct Investment

LGBT+ inclusion is associated with higher levels of direct investment.

Proposition 5: Global Markets

LGBT+ discrimination may inhibit local companies from connecting to global markets.

Proposition 6: Brain Drain

LGBT+ discrimination results in a “brain drain” – the emigration of talented and skilled individuals.

Proposition 7: Public Health

LGBT+ discrimination leads to negative economic consequences as a result of poor health outcomes.

Proposition 8: National Reputation

LGBT+ discrimination impacts perceptions on a world stage, which drive tourism, talent attraction and export markets for consumer goods.

Proposition 9: National Productivity

LGBT+ discrimination leads to lower levels of national productivity.

Proposition 10: Urban Economic Development

LGBT+ inclusion signals a diverse and creative environment, which creates the right conditions for urban economic development.

Proposition 11: National Economic Development

LGBT+ inclusive economies have higher levels of economic development.

B. Business performance

Stronger financial performance flows from the increased ability of LGBT+ inclusive companies to attract and retain talent, to innovate, and to build customer loyalty and brand strength.

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Proposition 12: Attracting Talent

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive are better able to compete for talented employees.

Proposition 13: Retaining Talent

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive have higher rates of retention of talented employees.

Proposition 14: Innovation

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive have higher levels of innovation and creativity.

Proposition 15: Collaboration

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive create an atmosphere of trust and communication, which is essential to effective teamwork.

Proposition 16: Customer Orientation

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive are better able to anticipate the needs of all customers, and to access a broader client base.

Proposition 17: LGBT+ Consumers

Companies that are LGBT+ inclusive are better placed to benefit from the large, growing, global spending power of LGBT+ consumers.

Proposition 18: Brand Strength

Companies that are more diverse and inclusive have greater brand appeal and loyalty with consumers who want socially responsible brands.

Proposition 19: Financial Performance

Companies that are LGBT+ inclusive have better share price performance, higher return on equity, higher market valuations and stronger cash flows.

C. Individual performance

Individuals working in open, diverse and inclusive environments tend to perform better. A culture of inclusion and diversity can boost individual performance – for everyone, not just LGBT+ individuals.

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Proposition 20: Authenticity

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments are able to be themselves, instead of concealing important aspects of themselves.

Proposition 21: Motivation

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments have higher levels of motivation.

Proposition 22: Affinity

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments have greater affinity with values and culture of the workplace.

Proposition 23: Satisfaction

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments have higher levels of satisfaction.

Proposition 24: Health

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments are free from discrimination – a cause of poor mental health and physical violence.

Proposition 25: Speaking Up

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments are more likely to speak up with suggestions to improve performance.

Proposition 26: The Extra Mile

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments are more likely to go beyond duties and make a contribution to the life and culture of the company.

Proposition 27: Individual Productivity

Individuals working in open, diverse, inclusive environments have greater productivity – more efficient work with higher quality outputs.