The World Economic Forum’s annual gathering high in the Alps in the remote village of Davos, Switzerland, resumes January 16–20, 2023, for the first time since the advent of the COVID pandemic.
For the first time in the event’s history, the 2,500 heads of state, CEOs, and civic and social leaders from around the globe will be greeted with “Pride on the Promenade,” a united show of support for LGBTQ people through a rainbow light-up of multiple venues and signs across the Promenade, the main street of shops and cafes in Davos, during the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting.
Launched by the Partnership for Global LGBTIQ+ Equality (PGLE) on January 16, the initiative celebrates the progress of LGBTQ human rights and serves as a call to action for necessary advances in global LGBTQ acceptance and equality. PGLE is a project of BSR, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the World Economic Forum.
The rainbow light-up was marked by a reception hosted by Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer at Accenture and executive co-chair of PGLE. Speakers at the reception included Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, and Jay Brown, the Human Rights Campaign’s Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training.
During Accenture’s reception, LGBTQ advocates called attention to current issues facing the global LGBTQ community including the continued criminalization of LGBTQ people in nearly 70 countries, rising rates of global anti-LGBTQ violence and discrimination, and the urgent need for global business to join LGBTQ organizations in advancing visibility and equality for transgender and intersex communities. Accenture converted its “Greater Than” logo to rainbow and shared rainbow themes across its interior screens.
“‘Pride on the Promenade’ is a strong and visible message of solidarity and affirmation to LGBTQ people everywhere,” said Shook. “Business leaders today recognize the importance of equality for all, and that creating inclusive workplaces and opportunities for LGBTQ individuals is not only essential to access and create top talent, but to fully unlock people’s potential which accelerates change within our companies, and collectively in our communities.”
“This historic show of solidarity with LGBTQ people at a convening like Davos is an opportunity not only for our community around the world, but for the global leaders in politics and business who attend the Annual Meeting,” said Ellis. “Creating safe, equitable, and inclusive societies is not just the right thing to do; as the evidence shows, it’s what’s best for business and economies across the globe.”
“This visible commitment to LGBTQ people at Davos is a powerful reminder to world leaders that inclusion is an essential element of doing good business globally,” said Brown. “In addition to being a core part of a company’s commitment to basic human rights principles, business leaders who work to advance LGBTQ equality in the workplace and in communities where they operate are future-proofing their company’s success. As more and more workers and customers identify as LGBTQ and allied, expectations will continue to rise for companies to play an active role in advancing equality.”
“The increase in representation and visibility of the LGBTQ community among the business world, and at landmark global events such as the World Economic Forum, is remarkable,” said Aron Cramer, President and CEO of BSR, the parent organization of PGLE. “It’s a vibrant symbol of the growing consensus among companies that the creation of inclusive, respectful, and safe work environments is good for business, and good for society. The events addressing LGBTQ inclusivity at Davos provide us with an important opportunity, and a prominent platform, to reflect on the progress we’ve made while also acknowledging that true success demands we reach people in all corners of the globe, and particularly those most vulnerable.”
Accenture, AWS, Axios, Circle.com, Cisco, Deloitte, EY, Google, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, Workday, and Zoom participated in ‘Pride on the Promenade’ tonight by displaying rainbows and LGBTIQ+ messages on screens and signage in exterior and interior hosted spaces located on and around the Promenade in Davos. Venues hosted by CNBC, The Female Quotient and Hub Culture also participated.
About the Partnership for Global LGBTIQ+ Equality (PGLE): Launched during the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in 2019, the Partnership for Global LGBTIQ+ Equality (PGLE) is a coalition of organizations committed to leveraging their individual and collective advocacy to accelerate LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion globally and drive positive change, through raising awareness and advancing implementation of the UN Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people. The Partnership for Global LGBTIQ+ Equality (PGLE) is a coalition of organizations committed to leveraging their individual and collective advocacy to accelerate LGBTIQ+ equality and inclusion globally and drive positive change. PGLE is an initiative of BSR, UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the World Economic Forum, and is comprised of the following companies and civil society organizations: Companies: Accenture, BCG, Cisco, The Coca-Cola Company, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, Deutsche Bank, Edelman, EY, Johnson & Johnson, Kerry, Mastercard, McKinsey, Medtronic, Microsoft, Nestle, Novartis, P&G, PepsiCo, PWC, Randstad, Salesforce, Scotiabank, WPP; Civil Society: GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, ILGA World, Outright International, Stonewall