It’s been a busy time for Bridgestone Americas on the corporate responsibility front. And in the state that Bridgestone’s U.S. operations call home, it has also been a busy year in the Tennessee General Assembly, especially when it comes to bills that many LGBTQ advocates have called a “slate of hate.”
Several of the bills, including those that would prevent state and local agencies from taking action against any company’s internal actions; allowed adoption or child placement agencies to deny services to any couple for religious reasons; or define marriage as only between a man and a woman; have either not passed a committee vote or have been tabled by the state’s Senate until next year. There's also another bill focused on bathrooms, which is a reminder of what happened in North Carolina only a few years ago - that bill has been delayed for another year as well.
But those legislative maneuvers have not stopped companies with business interests in the state, or local sports franchises, from speaking out on this legislation. This is an uphill battle, however. House Speaker Glen Casada has gone on the record telling companies to simply “take care of their stockholders and not get so much involved in politics.”
In today’s political and social climate, however, that train has long left the station.
One company that has spoken out against the various bills making their way across the Tennessee State Capitol is Bridgestone Americas, headquartered in Downtown Nashville. Last month during the state legislative session Bridgestone joined other companies such as Dell, Salesforce and Postmates to speak out against the legislation and show support for Tennessee’s LGTBQ community:
“Our company is determined to nurture a culture that represents the unique values, opinions, ideals, and needs of our employees, customers, communities, and suppliers. Bridgestone teammates work hard to create an environment where every person matters, and we expect others to do the same.”
According to a Bridgestone Americas spokesperson, the auto and truck parts manufacturer – most famous for its tires, of course – has done more than speak out against legislation and has emerged as an advocate for Tennessee’s LBGTQ community.
To start, the company says it’s working on building an inclusive culture internally. For the LGBTQ community, the company has a group of employees who started a resource group, BPROUD, that seeks to connect with LGBTQ coworkers and allies across Bridgestone.
BPROUD has also worked within the company on the corporate sponsorship front. For example, Bridgestone has sponsored the Nashville Human Rights Campaign (HRC) gala for 11 years and has been a sponsor of the Nashville Pride Festival for six years, including this year.
The company also scored a 90 on the most recent HRC Equality Index – an improvement over its previous annual scores, and according to the company, will help push the company on its diversity and inclusion journey.
In addition, Bridgestone worked with the HRC in supporting the federal Equality Act, which was passed last month by the U.S. House of Representatives.
For Bridgestone, being an ally of the LGBTQ community is about championing all individuals and perspectives in an organization – and taking this stand is also about ensuring that the company can continue to recruit and retain talent. “We know potential candidates have a lot of options when looking for a job in Nashville, and we want to ensure we’re at the top of the list as a workplace where every person matters,” Bridgestone’s spokesperson said in an emailed statement to TriplePundit.
Image credit: Nashville Pride/Facebook
Leon Kaye has written for 3p since 2010 and become executive editor in 2018. His previous work includes writing for the Guardian as well as other online and print publications. In addition, he's worked in sales executive roles within technology and financial research companies, as well as for a public relations firm, for which he consulted with one of the globe’s leading sustainability initiatives. Currently living in Central California, he’s traveled to 70-plus countries and has lived and worked in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay.
Leon’s an alum of Fresno State, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California's Marshall Business School. He enjoys traveling abroad as well as exploring California’s Central Coast and the Sierra Nevadas.