CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Meeting with supporters and partners on Tuesday evening, leaders with the local LGBT chamber of commerce said they will aim to increase corporate LGBT inclusion and equality with a new business ranking index rolling out this month.
The Charlotte Business Guild initially announced their new effort — the Charlotte Area Business Equality Index (CABEI) — last week. On Tuesday evening, the group released its ranking criteria at meeting at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation.
The new rankings, similar to the national Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, will measure small, medium and large local businesses on their corporate support for LGBT community groups, LGBT-inclusive policy inclusion, workplace training and same-sex partner benefits offerings, among other criteria. Businesses will be grouped among those with 20 or less employees, 21-100 employees and 101 employees or more.
Chad Sevearance, president of the Charlotte Business Guild, said larger, Charlotte-area companies that currently participate in the national Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index will receive credit in the local business index. Nearly a dozen Charlotte-area businesses — including Bank of America, Chiquita and Duke Energy — have participated in the national ranking system.
The index, said Severance, is not meant to punish companies. Rather, the ranking criteria will be used as a benchmarking tool to educate and empower companies to improve. That educational component, he said, is important in moving companies closer to inclusion.
The first index survey results are expected to be released in October.