England-based BT Group and IBM topped
the International Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce's (IGLCC) list
of international gay-friendly corporations.
The group's first annual International
Business Equality Index 2009 revealed BT Group as the best
international company for gay men and lesbians.
The report was limited to corporations
with offices in at least 3 countries and a minimum of ten thousand
Corporations were invited to complete
an online survey which covered three main areas: internal policies,
policies of suppliers and community involvement.
“The final index score for each
corporation is the total of the weighted percentages achieved in each
section, with a maximum achievable index score of 100,” the report
BT Group, the London headquartered
British telecom that operates in more than 43 countries, received the
highest score at 78 percent. The company has 111,858 employees
worldwide and posted revenues of $34.1 billion in 2008.
“On behalf of BT, I am absolutely
delighted with this recognition,” BT CEO Ian Livingston said in a
statement. “Diversity must be, and is, at the heart of our
business and having the policies and the practices in place to
support the LGBT community is essential to our success.”
“BT has been providing same-sex
partner benefits to employees since the early 1980s and will continue
to look at ways in which we can ensure that our people can be 'who
they are' at work without fear of discrimination or prejudice,”
Anne Heal, senior champion for sexual orientation at BT, added.
IBM came in a close second with a 76.3
percent score. The Armonk, New York-based technology company
operates in 227 countries, employs 398,455 people worldwide and
posted revenues of $104 billion last year.
The company is the primary sponsor of
the 2009 World Outgames, the
nine-day gay and lesbian sports and culture festival that opened in
Copenhagen, Denmark Saturday.
The Dow Chemical Company, headquartered
in Midland, Michigan, rounded out the top 3 with a 70.6 percent
score. The chemical company operates in 58 countries, employs 46,000
people worldwide, and posted revenues of $58.2 billion last year.
While the survey reveals the top
international companies committed to LGBT rights, it also suggests
gay and lesbian workers remain marginalized in the international
Authors say nearly half of the
companies surveyed do not employ an LGBT diversity manager, openly
gay men and lesbians are difficult to find among the ranks of
management, and few companies support the LGBT community financially.
In a statement, Pascal Lepine, the
secretary general of IGLCC, praised the companies that participated in
the survey, then added: “But we must be realistic and say that,
even if today we see promise, there is much more work to be done.
Far too often we see and hear of gay and lesbian professionals
throughout the world that do not have access to basic employee rights
and benefits just because of their sexual orientation.”