The Declaration of Amsterdam is a call to action for employers, unions and governments to implement concrete changes to ensure progress on LGBT matters. It was created by Workplace Pride, an international, nonproﬁt foundation based in Amsterdam that strives for greater acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people in the workplace and in society.
On Friday, Elsevier signed the declaration at Shell headquarters in Den Haag during Workplace Pride's annual conference. Keynote speakers included Frans Timmermans, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, and Lord Browne, former CEO of BP.
"Signing this Declaration represents Elsevier's commitment to diversity in all its forms," said Dr. Michiel Kolman, Senior VP of Global Academic Relations at Elsevier, and one of the founding members of the Elsevier Pride network that launched last year. "It's a commitment that says people should be free to be themselves at work."
The Workplace Pride Foundation works to ensure that LGBT people are fully visible, accepted and valued at work and in society, leading the way for others.
With the Declaration of Amsterdam, it aims to create inclusive corporate cultures where LGBT employees feel valued and can realize their full potential. The idea is that employers will commit to working environments for LGBT people that go beyond minimum legal requirements of equality and showcase active leadership from heterosexual allies and LGBT role models who visibly support LGBT-inclusive workplaces.
To do so, it identifies eight action points that all organizations signing the agreement will commit to, ranging from providing a safe, equal opportunity workplace, through to embedding the Declaration's concepts in organizational principles and including them in Annual and Corporate Responsibility Reports.
In addition, Workplace Pride, in close co-operation with all parties involved, will develop a benchmark for these action points, which will better enable employers to chart progress in improvements to their own LGBT workplace policies.
"When you look at the list of action points, at Elsevier we already have most in place," Dr. Kolman said. "One element that is new for us is the point to measure our commitment to diversity – metrics can be very convincing, and by asking employees how they feel, we can better understand the effect these initiatives are having."
[pullquote align="right"]"Metrics can be very convincing, and by asking employees how they feel, we can better understand the effect these initiatives are having."[/pullquote]
By signing the declaration, Elsevier joins an exclusive group of multinational companies that had already committed to the initiative, including Shell, KLM, ABN-AMRO, Philips, IBM and American Express. Although the declaration was initiated in the Netherlands, one of the calls to action is that companies should ensure their workplace in inclusive in all countries in which they operate.
"You can see by the other companies that have joined that this is not just a local initiative," Dr. Kolman said. "That said, we do operate in countries where attitudes to homosexuality vary, including some where it is very difficult and in some places even illegal, so there will always be that practical consideration. But what this makes clear is that Elsevier LGBT employees will always have a safe, inclusive environment at work."
Ten action points in the Declaration of Amsterdam
1. Employers must provide a safe, comfortable, equal opportunity workplace and promote authenticity for LGBT employees.
2. Employers should work closely with and benefit from the knowledge of other parties (employee networks and NGOs) dealing with LGBT workplace issues to achieve improvements.
3. Employers should identify and support leaders and decision-makers (LGBT and straight) that actively strive to create LGBT-inclusive working environments.
4. LGBT employees should actively strive to be visible at work and collaborate with their employers on diversity and inclusion, leading the way for all employees.
5. LGBT employees should guide their employers on measures to support the declaration's goals and implementing best practices.
6. Employers and LGBT employees should create and support structures in the organization that ensure progress.
7. Employers should embed the Declaration's concepts in organizational principles, and include them explicitly in external communication such as Annual and Corporate Responsibility Reports.
8. Employers and employees should develop and establish measurements that identify the level and progress of LGBT inclusiveness within the organization and benchmark this externally.
9. Employers should dedicate a minimum of 1 euro per employee in the organization to support LGBT programs and Employee Resource Groups.
10. Organizations should visibly support the improvement of working environments for their LGBT employees in all the countries where they are active.
Source: The Declaration of Amsterdam
Elsevier Connect Contributors
The Elsevier Research Selection for Journalists is produced and distributed by the Elsevier Newsroom, which serves as an intermediary between the scientific community and general public. Press Officer Sacha Boucherie works closely with Elsevier's journal publishers, editors and authors at one end and with science journalists and reporters at the other end with the aim of spotlighting and promoting interesting, topical research articles. She is based in Elsevier's Amsterdam headquarters and holds a master's degree in social psychology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.
Ian Evans is Communications Business Partner at Elsevier, based in Oxford. He joined Elsevier two years ago from a small trade publisher specializing in popular science and literary fiction. Prior to this he worked for several years on a leading trade magazine for the electrical retail industry, reporting on new technologies and market trends in consumer electronics. He holds a degree in English literature from the University of Wales, Cardiff, and spends his spare time reading, writing, and playing drums.