The Global Situation

DIVERGING PATHS

In many parts of the world, recent years have seen a growing culture of respect for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (LGB&T) individuals, and their ability to fully participate in society is protected by law. In other parts of the world, there is rising antagonism towards LGB&T people, who are suffering discrimination at the hands of politicians and lawmakers.

% Surveyed that believe they live in a good place for gays and lesbians

Source: Gallup Wold Poll 2013

A CONCERN FOR BUSINESS

The growth of anti-LGB&T sentiment in some parts of the world is a concern for the global businesses community – and the Open For Business report explores why. Experience has taught that open, inclusive, diverse societies are better for business, and the response of many global companies to anti-LGB&T laws is a clear indication of the concern caused.

“Part of social progress is understanding that a person is not defined only by one’s sexuality, race or gender.”
Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

“The focus has been to ensure employees have a safe and harassment-free work place irrespective of their sexual orientation.”
Nandita Gurjar, Head of HR, Infosys

“The cost of inequality is a price businesses cannot afford to pay.”
Arne Sorenson, CEO, Marriot International

AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson appeared on CNBC to discuss anti-gay policies in Russia: “It was very important for us to come out and take a stand on it,” he said.

Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz told an investor “sell your shares” after he complained about the company’s support for LGB&T equality.

 

A UNIVERSAL PATH

The advance of LGB&T rights in some countries, and its simultaneous retreat in many other places throws up difficult dilemmas for the global business community, which places values of inclusion and diversity at its core. Many business leaders would share the sentiments of Anastasia Smirnova, a Russian LGB&T activist, who told us: “I hope we don’t end up with multiple scenarios, but that there is one universal path, so we can all be on the right side of history”.