The world’s first Diversity Chamber of Commerce has been established in Romania in order to promote the principles of diversity and inclusion in the country’s business community. The Chamber will serve as a forum where multinationals can interact with Romanian businesses run by individuals from minority groups, that have traditionally been marginalized economically — and in particular, women, the LGBTQ+ community, Roma, people with disabilities and others.
The project is the only one of its kind in the world, organized on the model of a typical chamber of commerce. Through a whole range of activities, from mentoring and coaching, to training, networking and certification, the Chamber will support the Romanian economy by helping make it easier for minority businesses to connect, compete and grow. The Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce was founded by Dentons, ING Bank, Mega Image and Raiffeisen Bank and the NGO “Orasul Meu, Culorile Mele” and was inspired by the Diversity Charter. Other members include Accenture, Accept, GKN Fokker Engineering, Roma Entrepreneurship Development Initiative (REDI) and Visa, with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as an honorary member. The Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce is audited by PwC. Both the Royal Netherlands Embassy in Bucharest and the Netherlands-Romanian Chamber of Commerce supported the formation of Chamber.
For most international businesses, membership in the Diversity Chamber of Commerce is a natural extension of their focus on corporate social responsibility and an acknowledgement that diversity and inclusion are not only morally right but also good for business. According to international studies, diverse companies are 35% more likely to see better returns than their industry medians. We encourage companies with similar ideals to join us in this revolutionary initiative.
Perry Zizzi, Managing Partner of Dentons in Romania and President of the Chamber
Serge Offers, Chief Financial Officer of ING Bank, and Adrian Nicolescu, Vice President for Brand Market, Communication and Sustainability at Mega Image, were elected as Vice President and Treasurer of the Chamber, respectively.
While most of Western Europe is already championing diversity and inclusion, Romania is one of Eastern Europe’s most active advocates on this matter. More than 70% of respondents to the study “Diversity and Inclusion in Romanian Organizations” conducted by the Romanian Diversity Charter in partnership with MKOR Consulting believe that diversity and inclusion management has a direct impact on increasing motivation and satisfaction at work. Moreover, an inclusive environment that focuses on everyone’s needs is reflected in the improvement of quality of life and mental and physical health of employees (51% of respondents).
60% of large companies have diversity and inclusion strategies and 33% allocate annual budgets for them. On the other hand, 47% of SMEs and 44% of micro-enterprises have an ad hoc approach and only 6% of SMEs allocate diversity and inclusion budgets. Most public institutions participating in the study have an ad hoc approach to diversity and inclusion practices (86%).
86% of organizations addressing diversity and inclusion focus on gender diversity. The companies that focus the most on gender equality issues are large companies and SMEs. 63% of organizations address the inclusion of people with disabilities and 54% include ethnic or religious groups. These are generally public institutions.
International Day for People with Disabilities
Several companies, embassies and organizations in Romania including the Swedish Embassy in Romania, AFI Europe Romania, Light into Europe Association, Dell, Dentons, GlobalWorth, ING Bank, Kaufland, Prime Kapital, Raiffeisen Bank, Motivation Foundation, Sky Tower and Special Olympics Romania joined the Romanian Diversity Chamber of Commerce initiative and celebrated the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3rd) by illuminating buildings in purple, thus sending a message of solidarity with the disabled community. According to official statistics, there are approximately 800,000 people with disabilities in Romania.