Google, Microsoft and AT&T are among the dozen companies backing an initiative to advance LGBT workplace equality around the world.

Former President Bill Clinton announced the new initiative during the closing plenary of the 2015 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) annual meeting in New York.

According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, the inaugural members collectively employ nearly 1.4 million people across more than 190 counties.

“We are proud to bring together some of the world's largest companies to advance LGBT equality around the globe,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “These corporate leaders, which employ 1.4 million employees worldwide, understand that equality, inclusion and engagement are pivotal to business success.”

“Today, they are sending a resounding message that LGBT people are valued, they are equal, and they deserve a fair chance to earn a living and provide for their families no matter where they live,” he added.

“If countries and cities want to have economic development, they have to rise to a level of tolerance that enables them to have the kind of diverse dialogue that creates innovation,” Claudia Brind-Woody, managing director for Global Intellectual Property Licensing at IBM, said in a statement.

Founding members of HRC's Global Corporate Coalition also include CA Technologies, The Coca-Cola Company, Destination Weddings Travel Group, IBM, Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, Procter & Gamble, Replacements, Ltd., and Symantec Corp.