Pride Month – Why It Matters…

12. June 2023

What sustainability has in common with the LGBTQ+ community

Pride Month – Why It Matters…

Pride Month just unfolded, and a vibrant transformation is taking place across the corporate landscape. But the display of rainbow-colored logos is more than just a marketing strategy or a fleeting trend.

Many companies are proudly showcasing their commitment to inclusivity by adorning their logos with the rainbow colors. This serves as a visible symbol of unity, promoting acceptance and equality for the LGBTQ+-Community and sending a resounding message of support to individuals around the world. Although companies may be accused of "Pinkwashing“ by changing their logos in Pride Month June, celebrated annually in June, the idea is to indicate a tangible commitment to stand with the LGBTQ+ community not just during this month, but throughout the year. As we delve into this article, we will explore the significance of Pride Month, its link to sustainability, and the role that companies such as Greiner play in supporting the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride Month, celebrated annually in June, commemorates the progress and resilience of the LGBTQ+ community while acknowledging the ongoing struggle for equal rights. As societies continue to evolve, corporations are recognizing the significance of aligning their values with those of their diverse employees and customer base. This symbol of solidarity encourages dialogue, promotes awareness, and fosters an atmosphere of acceptance and respect within workplaces and beyond. This makes it especially important for us at Greiner, because:

"In 15 out of 34 countries where we operate, the LGBTQ+ Community is still facing legal challenges."

Although same-sex sexual activity is legal in most of these countries (even if it only happened recently) – in 15 out of the 34 countries where we operate, same-sex marriage is not legal. Moreover, many countries do not have comprehensive anti-discrimination laws that protect the community. In some countries, the opposite is the case and laws are being passed that prohibit the promotion of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’. And in many places, LGBTQ+ individuals are being cracked down on with raids and arrests, still.

Having seen that the LGBTQ+ community is still poorly protected in many areas of the world, we at Greiner think that companies can play a role in combating this discrimination. We can make a statement by saying that the laws and incidents occurring in some countries do not reflect our values and policies. To make it clearer: “We are an inclusive and diverse company, and when people enter our premises, no matter where, we advocate equal rights and object to any form of discrimination!”

The link between Sustainability and the LGBTQ+ Community

Although the term sustainability has three pillars – ecological, economic, and social – we may sometimes feel that environmental and ‘green’ actions are higher ranked than social aspects of sustainability. And in social sustainability, we often think of health and safety measures, or gender-related topics first. These topics surely have their relevance and gender is an important dimension where still so much needs to be done; however, the term gender should not ‘solely’ be about women. It should be about any gender identity beyond the binary framework. It’s also important to mention that not all letters of the LGBTQ+ community should be thrown into the same pot, as some people may be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, and some because of their gender identity. Furthermore, discrimination and marginalization faced by different minority groups can have negative social and mental health impacts, hinder their overall well-being and ultimately slow down the progress being made toward a sustainable future that values diversity, equity and inclusion.

The struggle to feel accepted and included at work

But we do not need to look at places far away from our headquarters to see the challenges that the LGBTQ+ community is or will be facing. In Austria as well, there is so much that needs to be done to really make people of the community feel included and not ‘different’ from others. It is up to all of us to adapt our behavior and the attitude we bring to work. Simple assumptions about hetero normativity may make a big difference to the well-being of an employee who is part of the LGBTQ+ community. For instance, the question ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ to a gay woman, which was probably not intended to be discriminating, may still make the responder feel uncomfortable.

But awareness of these topics cannot be achieved by solely the employees themselves. We need to create structures and have leaders who align with our values to make sure that the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion are promoted everywhere where we operate. Therefore, we have launched a working group on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), which consists of employees from all Greiner divisions and locations. In the past year, the vision, mission, and guiding principles for DEI were defined  and provide the framework for the development of further steps. We have been focusing on different areas, such as DEI training concepts, setting new targets for measuring DEI, preparing best practice examples for the sites, and continuing to raise awareness.