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.
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 TriplePundit since 2010, and became its Executive Editor in 2018. He is also the Director of Social Media and Engagement for 3BL Media. His previous work can be found at The Guardian, Sustainable Brands and CleanTechnica. Kaye is based in Fresno, CA, from where he happily explores California’s stellar Central Coast and the national parks in the Sierra Nevadas. He's lived in South Korea, the United Arab Emirates and Uruguay, and has traveled to over 70 countries. He's an alum of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the University of Southern California.