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Bulgarian Diversity Charter Marked EU Diversity Month 2022

Two events promoted the values and benefits of diversity and inclusion in the corporate world, and society! The Bulgarian Diversity Charter, launched in 2020 as a joint initiative of the Centre for the Study of Democracy and the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum, was pleased to join festivities across Europe marking EU Diversity Month in 2022.

date:  11/08/2022

In April the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum held the high-profile prize giving ceremony of the 2021 Annual Responsible Business Awards, a landmark BBLF project that has been held since 2003 and is Bulgaria’s most prominent national corporate social responsibility and sustainability competition. This year's edition saw the introduction of a new category titled Diversity at Work, part of BBLF’s efforts to encourage and recognize diverse teams and inclusive workplaces. The new category was the highlight of the Awards’ promotional campaign in December 2021 – February 2022. A total of 9 companies entered their D&I programmes competing for the title of our diversity category pioneers: IBM Bulgaria, Paysafe, HPE Bulgaria, Transpress, BGAssist, Nestle Bulgaria, Cargill Bulgaria, BAT Bulgaria, Musala Soft. An independent judging panel consisting of experts and Bulgarian Diversity Charter advisory board members selected the winner, HPE Bulgaria, and two finalists, IBM Bulgaria and BGAssist. The prizes were handed out by Sofia Deputy Mayor Doncho Barbalov in the presence of the Prime Minister, a Vice Prime Minister, three government ministers, public sector officials, business executives, civil sector representatives, the media. The event was a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the Charter, the importance of D&I and the EU Diversity Month.

In May 2022 we held a webinar on best corporate practice in diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. The event dubbed Diversity at Work was a meaningful tool to share ideas and experience in the context of the new Diversity at Work category mentioned above. With the event, the Bulgarian Diversity Charter joined the numerous celebrations all over Europe that marked EU Diversity Month 2022. BBLF Chair Levon Hampartzoumian pointed out the Bulgarian Diversity Charter signatories and larger community are part of a bigger, EU-wide movement of diversity supporters. Dimitar Markov, CSD Law Programme Director and event moderator, stressed the best way to promote diversity in the workplace to businesses is by showcasing best practice and results of it. The webinar’s official guests included the Chairperson of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination (CPAD), private sector and NGO sector officials. Guest speakers from the private sector were senior managers with the companies that had been recognised for their inspiring and effective D&I management policies in the Annual Responsible Business Awards: HPE Bulgaria, IBM Bulgaria, and BGAssist. They shared their commitment and experience of their successful D&I programmes, and took questions about some practical details from business peers. The webinar was attended by over 50 companies and organisations: the Charter’s existing and potential signatories, like-minded individuals from the private, public and NGO sectors.

In result of the two events, we have seen an upsurge of interest in the Bulgarian Diversity Charter, the EU Platform of Diversity Charters and the EU Diversity Month’s events and activities. Nine more companies joined the local Charter and we believe this is a direct result of the events in this period.