Many organizations have long recognized the strategic relevance of diversity. But what does diversity mean in concrete terms? According to the definition, the term "diversity" stands for a variety of people and refers to characteristics such as gender, age, sexual identity, religion, ethnic and social origin, physical and mental condition. There is an Equal Treatment Act in the German constitution, but people are still discriminated against in everyday life, at work, and in other situations. This prevents people from fully developing their potential and contributing to society or a company. Diversity means valuing and promoting people in their diversity. "Inclusion" means the inclusion of all people - regardless of their diverse characteristics. Companies benefit from diverse employees, for example, because diverse teams work more effectively. Through diversity and inclusion, societies are enriched and can continue to develop.
Many companies have anchored diversity & inclusion in their corporate culture and mission statement. Visible signs can be the signing of the "Charta der Viellfalt" or the organization of a Diversity Day. The appointment of an Equal Opportunity Officer is widespread in Germany and, depending on the state Equal Opportunity Act, even mandatory. This is intended to strengthen the equality of women in the workplace and prevent sexual discrimination. In addition, many companies also appoint Equal Opportunity Officers to promote equality for employees with disabilities. Through professional diversity management, organizations develop strategies and courses of action toward becoming a diversity-friendly company in order to put the equality of people in their environment into practice. In this way, discrimination can be reduced and valuable potential can be promoted.
At CBS International Business School, people from different backgrounds with diverse needs and characteristics come together. The slogan Creating tomorrow is the focus of the CBS vision: We want to create a better tomorrow, to positively change the future. This mission includes the equal treatment of all individuals and their inclusion in the CBS family. As an international company where people from more than 75 nations work, study and develop, we want to set an example for the positive transformation of society. This applies to all CBS campuses and the cities in which we live. At the same time, it is our concern to educate CBS students in such a way that they are committed to a cosmopolitan, inclusive society in the long term. To this end, we create a learning environment in which everyone feels welcome and can contribute their strengths. Across campus, there are two Equal Opportunity Officers who strategically oversee the issues of Diversity & Inclusion. The rights and duties of the university are listed in the official equal opportunity concept and are publicly available for all to see. In addition, we have a Code of Conduct in which our zero-tolerance approach towards any form of harassment, discrimination, or victimization in our dealings with other students, members of staff, and external organizations is clearly stated. It is through these measures that we create a fair and safe environment for all members of the CBS family.
Above all, the CBS Founders Campus in Cologne has always stood for diversity with regard to LGBTI+. By signing the Diversity Charter in 2020, we have set a visible sign against discrimination of individual groups of people and towards the inclusion of all employees and students. To strengthen LGBTI+ rights and provide visibility to members of this community, we proclaimed Pride Month on our social media channels in summer 2020 and offered a panel for students and employees to share their experiences in the fall. We are still in the early stages of this journey and welcome input from students, employees, and corporate partners. In addition to the Equal Opportunity Officers at the Cologne and Mainz campuses, there are several ombudspersons to whom students or employees can turn in the event of discrimination of any kind. In 2020, we founded the CBS Diversity & Inclusion Committee to organize cross-campus diversity events and to continuously develop the topic.
The CBS Diversity & Inclusion Committee organizes cross-campus events on the topics of equality, LGBTI+, racism, or other diversity issues. In addition, it pools expertise from many areas of the university to facilitate an inclusive and safe environment for all members of the CBS family. Currently, the team consists of deans, professors, administrative staff, and students from various departments. Anyone who studies or works at CBS is welcome to get involved and contribute his or her ideas. The committee's first successes have been events on Black Lives Matters, which allowed students to share their experiences of racism, and a panel to discuss LGBT+ rights in the workplace. In addition, the committee is creating concept papers to continually promote equality, diversity, and inclusion at CBS.