Davos Lights up in Rainbow for the Global LGBTQ Community

January 19, 2023

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland is underway and LGBTQ visibility is high. Last night, the heads of state, CEOs, and civic and social leaders from around the globe were greeted with the Partnership for Global LGBTIQ+ Equality's “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. 

The initiative organized by PGLE, Accenture, and GLAAD 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 UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the World Economic Forum.

Accenture, AWS, Axios, Circle.com, Cisco, CNBC, Deloitte, EY, Female Quotient, Google, Hub Culture, IBM, Meta, Microsoft, Salesforce, SAP, Workday, and Zoom participated in ‘Pride on the Promenade’ by displaying rainbows and LGBTQ messages on screens and signage in exterior and interior hosted spaces located on and around the Promenade in Davos. 

Above, from left: Ellyn Shook (Accenture & PGLE), Joseph Solis (WEF Global Shaper), Jay Brown (HRC), Sarah Kate Ellis (GLAAD), High Commissioner Volker Türk (UN).

Accenture converted its “Greater Than” logo to rainbow and shared rainbow themes across its interior screens. 

Accenture also marked the rainbow light-up with a reception hosted by Ellyn Shook, Chief Leadership and Human Resources Officer at Accenture. Shook also serves as an executive co-chair of PGLE. Speakers at the reception included Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, as well as LGBTIQ+ advocates Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD President and CEO, and Jay Brown, Senior Vice President of Programs, Research and Training, Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

During the reception, GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis spoke: "LGBTQ people know that visibility matters. Our visibility has led to legal equality and social acceptance. The world leaders and business leaders here in Davos tonight see that the world’s largest and most influential companies here are proud allies. Let that send a message to the countries and companies who are not posting rainbows tonight. But tonight’s rainbows must continue with action year-round. While the rainbows come down on the Promenade, the action from corporates cannot."

GLAAD is in Davos again this year to raise visibility for LGBTQ people, and educate the business leaders and world leaders about LGBTQ issues. This year, GLAAD shared new data created in partnership with the Edelman Trust Institute which reveals strong support for businesses that publicly align themselves with and speak out on behalf of the LGBTQ community. According to the study, 53% of Americans expect CEOs to inform and shape conversations and policy debates about LGBTQ rights.

Also 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.

“‘Pride on the Promenade’ is a strong and visible message of solidarity and affirmation to LGBTQ people everywhere,” said Ellyn Shook of Accenture. “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 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 Jay Brown of HRC. “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 United Nations is calling on companies worldwide to help make LGBTIQ+ equality a reality,” said Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. “The UN Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people provide a clear roadmap for meaningful business action to respect and support the human rights of LGBTIQ+ people in workplaces, supply chains & communities where they operate, in partnership with civil society.”

Circle.com's venue

“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.” 

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.

Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty, with Sarah Kate Ellis

Hub Culture

PGLE 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, and WPP; Civil Society: GLAAD, Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, ILGA World, Outright International, and Stonewall.