Seven leading consulting firms among LGBT+ coalition Open For Business

26 February 2018

As society strives to become more inclusive of LGBT+ individuals, the business community has been taking the lead in the promotion of diversity. 24 global companies are now part of the Open for Business network, which promotes LGBT+ inclusion in corporate life, with seven leading consulting firms among them.

LGBT+ employees who are ‘in the closet’ are 70% more likely to leave a company within the first three years, while 85% of those responding to a survey by the OUTstanding network said non-inclusive workplaces have a negative impact on employees and can damage productivity. Further to this, a 2012 Human Rights Campaign study found that a staggering 62% of Generation Y LGBT+ graduates said that despite having been out at university, they returned to the closet when they started their first job. The promotion of diversity and inclusion therefore remains a key priority of 21st century businesses, from both business-orientated and ethical standpoints.

Seven leading consulting firms among LGBT+ coalition Open For Business

In order to address this need for change, the Open For Business group was established. The coalition of global companies’ key aim is to advance the global inclusion of LGBT+ community, by promoting a positive economic and business case for equality of opportunity for everyone, all across the world. The group is also looking to make the case that inclusive, diverse societies are better for business and better for economic growth. The group, which has charitable status in the US, features seven leading members of the consulting industry among the ranks of its more than 20 backers.

Accenture, one of the consultancies, has been championing diversity in its operations via the ‘Inclusion starts with I’ campaign. The firm recently said of Open For Business, “Accenture is proud to be part of this coalition and a sponsor of the report. Inclusion and diversity are fundamental to our culture and core values – it’s what makes our company stronger.”

BCG has been a member of the coalition since 2016. A Partner of the firm, Elliot Vaughn, of BCG’s London office, recently launched an LGBT+ focused charity aimed at globally distributing funds to the least LGBT+ friendly locales around the world, which BCG has since become a major corporate sponsor of.  

While Deloitte is absent from the roll-call of industry big-beasts behind the initiative, the three other Big Four members; KPMG, PwC and EY are all members of the coalition. The trio of firms has also previously been listed by Stonewall as top LGBT+ employers.

Open for Business coalition, Accenture, BCG, EY, IBM, KPMG, McKinsey, PwC

Speaking last year on the potential of the project to help businesses benefit from diversity, EY CEO Mark Weinberger said, “The friction and tension that comes from different perspectives coming together, being heard and valued, leads to really fresh ideas, and great new ways of getting things done.”

Alongside EY, IBM and McKinsey & Company are also founding partners of Open for Business, having joined American Express, AT&T, Brunswick, Google, LinkedIn, Linklaters, MasterCard, Royal Bank of Scotland, Standard Chartered, Thomson Reuters and Virgin Group.

At the time of its launch, Claudia Brind-Woody, Vice President & Managing Director for Global Intellectual Property Licensing at IBM, said of the coalition, “We can have a dialogue about corporate and business development in a country, including with corporations that have strong nondiscriminatory policies. That’s why our corporate brands coming together as Open For Business is so important: we have a collective courage as corporates to have open dialogues that can become stepping stones – and will help us open the aperture on tolerance.”

Elsewhere in the professional services world, another coalition was formed in order to tackle homophobia and transphobia in the building sector. 50% of LGBT+ employees in the construction industry say they face homophobic or transphobic abuse. This spurred construction consultancies Arup, Arcadis and Mott MacDonald to join the #BuildingEquality network, calling on industry leaders to develop the tools and practices to transform the business culture to reflect diversity and inclusion.


More news on