PrPr.2“The inaugural summit in 2016 made a powerful business case for LGBT inclusion and diversity,” says Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief of The Economist. “This year, we aim to expand on that theme by exploring how companies can be catalysts for change—and why we need them to be.”

Chaired by The Economist editors, Pride and Prejudice 2017 will link conversations between the three locations through live video sessions. Participants will include chief executives, politicians and activists, such as:

  • Mark Anderson, managing director, Virgin Holidays
  • Xavier Bettel, prime minister, Luxembourg
  • Karen Blackett, chairwoman, MediaCom
  • Harry Briggs, partner, BGF Ventures
  • Ronan Cassidy, chief human resources & corporate officer, Royal Dutch Shell
  • Michael Cole-Fontayn, chairman, EMEA, BNY Mellon
  • Robyn Exton, founder, HER
  • John Mills, founder, JML
  • Ivan Scalfarotto, under-secretary of state, Italy
  • Deborah Sherry chief commercial officer, GE Digital, Europe
  • Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS
  • Serpil Timuray, chief commercial and strategy officer, Vodafone
  • Steve Wardlaw, chairman, Emerald Life, Europe
  • Riccardo Zacconi, chief executive officer, King
  • Zanny Minton Beddoes, editor-in-chief, The Economist (London event chair)

PrPrIn each city, policymakers and industry leaders will tackle the thorny questions pertinent to that region, but with common questions in mind. E.g., How will the rise of illiberal populism in the west impact the outlook for LGBT rights? How are new generations changing the meaning of diversity and forcing companies to rethink their inclusion policies? What can advocates for LGBT inclusion learn from other groups that have been marginalised? What can we learn from case studies of businesses operating in parts of the world where cultures or laws are hostile toward LGBT people?

In 2016, the business sector made some important strides in the fight against discrimination against LGBT people around the world. Eighty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies now have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation, and for the first time ever, the issue made it to the agenda of the World Economic Forum in Davos. Millennials, who have great expectations for diversity and are pushing companies to embrace inclusion much more than previous generations did, are also contributing to a seismic shift in priorities.

Yet setbacks have shed light on how much still needs to change. LGBT communities continue to be targeted by authorities, with high-profile incidents taking place in Indonesia, Uganda, Turkey and Egypt. In the U.S., the Orlando nightclub shooting highlighted how far the country still has to come to close the equality gap, despite the Supreme Court’s decision to legalise same-sex marriage just one year before.

Pride and Prejudice is sponsored by Global Advocate, IBM; Global Supporters Alix Partners and AXA; Regional Advocates, Biogen and Goldman Sachs; Regional Supporters, ADP, Fidelity Investments, Nomura, TD Bank, T. Rowe Price and RBS; Regional Ally, ABN AMRO. Havas is the Public Relations Partner. UNDP is the regional host sponsor in Hong Kong.

To engage with Pride and Prejudice on social media, use #EconPride in your conversations and follow @EconomistEvents.