Equal rights are good not only for business, but for humanity. In Europe, a number of companies are making their positions clear; for those countries who aren’t willing to protect their LGBT citizens instead of prosecuting them, they may find fewer corporations willing to do business with them.
Deutsche Bank already has a history of speaking to government officials and telling them that laws that are bad for any group of people are also bad for business; now, together with global professional services firm EY (formerly Ernest & Young) and its clients, many of which are among the world’s most successful companies, they’re looking at going a step further.
A managing partner at EY, Andy Baldwin, told Gay Star News, “I think some of my clients have been quite shocked by what has happened in Russia [regarding LGBT rights].
“We are probably not there yet but I think in some of these markets we may reach a tipping point where corporates will say we are not prepared to do business in this market.”
On November 19, the second Out on the Street: Europe summit was held, with a focus on global LGBT issues. At the summit, senior executives from top rival banks gathered to discuss what community allies can do, the connections between workplace organizations for LGBT people and for women, and encouraging diversity of leadership.
Gay Star News reported that according toOut on the Street, “This cross-industry panel will discuss best practices for globalising LGBT-supportive policies, even in countries and areas that are less hospitable to LGBT equality overall.”
Events at the summit included a panel on the issues that international firms might face supporting LGBT equality in countries with different laws and values, moderated by Out on the Street founder Todd Sears, and a panel hosted by LGBT leaders, lawyers, and company executives to learn about the different attitudes regarding gay rights commonly found throughout Europe, and ask what companies there should be doing to improve matters.