Virgin Flies the Flag for LGBT Inclusivity


Virgin LGBT rainbow flag

“The Virgin brand and the Virgin family wouldn’t be what they are without our commitments to LGBT+ rights,” says founder and chairman Richard Branson, who’s proud that Virgin has been a champion of inclusivity throughout its growth as a company.

Virgin joined Open for Business, a global coalition of 24 brands supporting LGBT+ rights and concerned about the escalating spread of anti-LGBT+ legislation worldwide.

In this Open for Business video below, Branson and other CEOs discuss the impact of collective business action on global LGBT inclusion:

Recent research from OFB that was released at the World Economic Forum at Davos supports other research showing that LGBT+ inclusion leads to higher levels of innovation, a stronger skills base and higher quality of life, which in turn contribute to better economic performance and higher per-capita GDP.

Furthermore, a detailed analysis of business performance, economic performance and individual metrics, “shows that LGBT+ inclusive countries are more likely to have institutions, policies and infrastructure that allow them to grow; and that LGBT+ inclusive companies are more likely to show better financial performance.”

The report includes an Open for Business Cities Ratings with 121 global cities classified as open, progressive and economically competitive—or not. New York, London, Berlin and San Francisco come out on top, while Hong Kong, Bangalore and Mexico City show promise but have work to do.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa said at Davos that his country was “open for business” after almost four decades of oppressive rule by former leader Robert Mugabe.

But in the LGBT+ arena, same-sex marriage is banned in Zimbabwe and it’s not likely that will change any time soon. Mnangagwa said, “Those people who want it are the people who should canvass for it, but it’s not my duty to campaign for this. In our constitution it is banned—and it is my duty to obey my constitution,” he commented, according to CNN.

“The businesses in OFB support the initiative because we know it is the right thing to do,” Branson notes. “But we also know that LGBT+ inclusion makes sound business sense. As employers, we want to be able to draw from the widest possible talent pool, one that isn’t limited by hateful or discriminatory legislation. As a global lifestyle brand, we want to reach the widest possible customer base that aligns with our values. Exclusion does exactly the opposite.”