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Nearly 1,700 Companies Withdraw from North Carolina Events in Response to HB2 Standing for Inclusion, B Corps Relocate Series of October Events

Through the power of unity, advocacy and storytelling, Yulu had a small hand in the fight to repeal the HB2 “bathroom bill” in North Carolina in April 2016. The bill limits anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ community and forces transgender individuals to use bathrooms that do not correspond with their gender identities. The conversation that took shape after was a strong affirmation for us that doing good is good business, and not being on this wagon poses severe penalties.

THE CHALLENGE

When North Carolina introduced House Bill 2, which would force transgender citizens to use the bathroom listed on their birth certificate as well as remove the rights of all citizens to file anti-discrimination lawsuits with the State based on race; religion; color; nationality; age; sex; or handicap, the business community responded by moving conferences and events out of the state.

We received an email from B Lab asking its membership (1,700 global B Corps) whether the organization should also relocate its annual Champions Retreat to another state in protest. Yulu saw an opportunity for B Lab to influence change among businesses by speaking openly with the press on why the organization came to the decision to relocate.

STRATEGY AND EXECUTION

Yulu helped B Lab craft an official statement on why its membership elected to remove the Champions retreat out of North Carolina. Yulu incorporated the feedback of the more than 300 email respondents into its statement, which included self-identified members of the LGBTQ community.

The organization’s rationale: HB2 was contrary to B Lab’s core values of inclusion and creating a shared and durable prosperity for all. It also compromised the safety and comfort of parts of members who would have to travel to a state where they might feel unwelcome or threatened. Finally, B Lab had a responsibility to demonstrate that the government’s actions had consequences, while engaging with its North Carolinian membership on the best ways to effect change from within.

RESULTS & IMPACT

B Lab voiced its opinion on the importance of trans rights alongside several high-profile companies, artists and progressive states who either stood up around the same time or followed suit.

In response to B Lab’s statement, Fortune, Buzzfeed, Mashable, The Atlantic and Associated Press picked up the story, among many others. HB2 was repealed in March 2017, after the state took an economic hit due to businesses and revenue-generating conferences taking their business elsewhere. The list of lost opportunities included being a host city to the NCAA basketball championships, concerts by Bruce Springsteen and Bryan Adams, and an opportunity to house the new PayPal headquarters, among others.

There’s still work to do, though, as the replacement bill passed in the spring of 2017 leaves bathroom regulation in the hands of the state and prevents local governments from passing their own non-discrimination ordinances. B Lab continues to work with its members in North Carolina toward a solution, and groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and Equality NC are steadfast in their fight for greater LGBTQ equality in the state.

North Carolina continues to feel the fallout of the controversial bill, which is projected to cost billions in lost revenue over the next ten years if the government doesn’t bow to pressure.

TESTIMONIAL

“Yulu demonstrated the critical thinking, energy and adaptability necessary to keep B Corporation’s story relevant with the highly controversial and important political conversation around North Carolina’s “bathroom bill.” With limited resources, little advance notice, and during a time where the news and story was changing by the day, Yulu took our story and targeted top international outlets, exercising smart judgment in short order again and again. They are an intelligent team of storytellers who understand how to use PR as a force for good.”
Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab Co-Founder