Working for workplace religious diversity, equity & inclusion


Business Roundtable

International Business Roundtable on Protecting People of all Faiths and Beliefs in the Workplace

US President Donald Trump, together with the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, the US Secretaries of Treasury and Commerce, Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Pompeo, and members of persecuted Muslim, Jewish and Christian minorities and attended by Jews, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Yazidis, and many other people of many faiths, announced the formation of a business coalition to protect the religious freedom rights of all faiths in the workplace.

“This initiative will encourage the private sector to protect people of all faiths in the workplace. The private sector has brilliant leadership. That’s why some of the people in this room are among the most successful men and women on earth. They know how things get done. They know how to take care of things. And they’re with us now for the first time to this extent. The first time ever. We’re really honored to have you in the room. Great business leaders. Great people of strength. Too often people in positions of power preach diversity while silencing, shunning or censoring the faithful. True tolerance means respecting the right of all people to express their deeply held religious beliefs.”

In response, the inaugural International Religious Freedom Business Roundtable was held at the Harvard Club in New York City on Sept. 25. Ambassador Brownback co-hosted the roundtable with Dr. Brian Grim, President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, and Mr. Bruce McEver, Founder and Chairman of Berkshire Global Advisors. The event featured a discussion on the relationship between religious freedom and economic prosperity. Ambassador Brownback and Chief Economist Sharon Brown-Hruska sat down with business leaders, government officials and civil society representatives to discuss ways to incentivize countries to ease restrictions on religious freedom in hopes to realize their economic aspirations. See summary.


Business Case for Religious Diversity & Inclusion

“By bringing religious diversity fully into corporate Diversity and Inclusion efforts, companies will be in a better position to more holistically address the needs of all employees.”

Michael Bodson
President and CEO

Two billion more people live in countries with high restrictions on religious freedom than did so just a decade ago, according to the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation’s (RFBF) analysis of a July 2019 Pew Research Center report.

In fact, the spread of religious restrictions and hostilities is ‘outpacing’ population growth 2-to-1. Between 2007 and 2019, the world population increased by about a billion people, which is half the increase in the number of people living with high or very high religious restrictions, as shown in the chart.

The dramatic increase in religious restrictions and hostilities impacts not only peace and stability but also slows global economic growth. Specifically, since the recovery from the 2008 financial crisis, the RFBF study finds that GDP growth rates in populous countries where religious restrictions and hostilities decreased grew at about double the rate as in countries where religious restrictions and hostilities substantially increased, as shown in the chart.

These new findings echo those of a 2014 study by researchers at Georgetown University and Brigham Young University who found that religious freedom is one of only three factors significantly associated with global economic growth, controlling for two-dozen different financial, social, and regulatory influences. They found that 10 of the 12 pillars of global competitiveness measured by the World Economic Forum were stronger in countries where religious freedom is protected by governments and respected by society.

See Brian Grim’s Talk at Texas Instruments Global HQ

On May 6, 2019, Texas Instruments (TI) and RFBF co-sponsored an in-depth discussion at TI HQ of religious diversity and an introduction to resources to help companies design successful policies and practices to maximize the benefits of religious diversity & inclusion in the workplace and global marketplace (see or read Grim’s talk).